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What's the biggest misconception people you know have about sports journalism?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Norman Stansfield, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. North61

    North61 Member

    UGH. I just got chided for going on overtime for a tough week. Editor makes me wait to talk to him, bitches at me, then 10 minutes later I tell him I have to go or I'm going to be late.

    He says: Have fun!

    And I was late for the game.
  2. insideman

    insideman Member

    Two things; Somebody mentioned that he always has fun at his job, or something to that affect. I used to have fun when I covered high schools and colleges and wrote about people who actually wanted to be written about, but once you move to the pros, you're deadling with asshole athletes who want nothing to do with you, managers (and the athletes and even the clubhouse attendants) who treat you like crap, long, long days and nights, early wakeups, crowded planes, cab rides to hotels, etc. I'm sure deskies also have their daily headaches. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade this job for anything, but I just hate it when someone tells me to have fun.
    2. I can never fathom how, when I'm out socializing on the night a game is being played in another city, people ask me, "Are you writing about this game?"
  3. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    I don't mind it too much when people want to talk about the teams that I cover, but it bothers me when that's the ONLY thing they think I can talk about.

    The other misconception that members of the public, and especially members of my extended family, have is that getting a job a the Big Metro Daily is easy, especially since I already worked there as a part-timer. "Why don't you get a job at the Big Metro Daily?" or "Ever think about working at Sports Illustrated?"
  4. Keystone

    Keystone Member

    That's especially so with the Super Bowl episode. I know when our NFL guy went down a couple years ago, he not only brought his wife along, he burned his press credentials to make a point. ;D
  5. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    We have variations of this thread pop up from time to time, and I never understand why journalists get so miffed because people have misconceptions about our job. I don't know what it's like to work in a bank, or to work in a pharmacy, or sell insurance, or work on Wall Street.

    Bottom line: Most people think what we do is pretty cool and interesting. If they want to ask me about it, I'm usually happy to talk to them about it.

    Just as long as it's not on deadline. :)
  6. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    A couple of points:

    1. It's not that we're bothered that people are interested in our jobs or have questions or even jump to wrong conclusions about them. That comes with the territory. The problem comes with the insistent and sometimes insolent way people can present them -- how come you won't get me free tickets to the game? why can't you write about what a neat cheerleader your cousin is? shouldn't you be on our side when you do your stories? That shit gets old fast.

    2. I enjoy my job, warts and all. I wish I could do it better, I wish I could do it at a bigger paper, I wish I could get more money for it. But I enjoy it. And yes, at times it can be, well, kinda fun. But when people (and in particular co-workers or supervisors) tell me to "have fun", often they're doing so with a subtle contempt or condensending tone, as though I were a six-year-old dropped off at Chuck E Cheese. Listen, I know my job isn't as serious as covering the cops or government beat, but I conduct myself with decorum and treat what I do with the respect it deserves. If you told a professional athlete to "have fun" before his or her game/meet/whatever, they'd probably look at you funny or tell you to go fornicate yourself with a gross of lightbulbs. Sure, there's entertaining elements to our profession, and there's ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with enjoying your job. And I'm not talking about people who say it with genuine happiness or care. But the rest of it can eat me.
  7. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    What bothers me the most is not really a misconception.

    We're in a rather unique position of having our day-to-day work available to be dissected by thousands of people. If we misspell a headline, somebody 79 miles away we've never come close to meeting is going to call up and feel free to rip our ass. Chances are that person does his job anonymously, and only has to answer to familiar people, face-to-face.

    Most folks who have that "cross to bear" make considerably more money for that kind of responsibility.

    Now, if those people out there think that we make that kind of money, well, then it IS a misconception.
  8. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

  9. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    Might've been mentioned and I missed it, but what I absolutely loathe is the way some people act whenever you mention what time you got up that morning. I normally work late. Most of the time, I'm working from the house and don't set foot in the office for weeks at a time. But I still work late. It's when I do my best work. Plus, getting up early just throws me off for when I actually do HAVE to work late, which is a pretty regular occurrence in this business.

    But mention to someone that you got up at 10 a.m. or later and check the responses. It's like you're the world's biggest slack ass. Forget that I was hammering out a column or a feature at 2:30 this morning. I wasn't up at 7 a.m., so I'm lazy.

    Really pisses me off when someone calls and either I don't get it or I answer in a sleepy haze. "Ohhhhhhh, I'm sorrrrrryyyy, did I wake you up here at 10 o'clock?"

    My normal reply: "Yeah, you did. And since you've got an attitude about it, you can expect a return call tonight around 1 a.m." And I've started carrying through on that threat.
  10. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Had a guy I keep running into at my local drinkery.
    Now, I cover the local college -- nothing big, but this guy just loves the fact that I'll talk just about any football with him. After me and him had run into each other about 10 times, he drops a bomb on me about who one of his prominent family members is. I check it out later when I'm bored, and the guy is on the up and up. A few weeks later for whatever reason asks me for my cell number. I give it to him.
    Big mistake.
    Next day, while I'm getting ready to do some interviews after practice, cell starts blowing up. It's him, and he wants to talk about Texas State (the I-AA school) football. I cover a I-AA -- 19 HOURS AWAY -- so I must know everything about it.

    Oh, and as the sleeping late thing -- fuck 1 a.m. I can't tell you how often I've been working on a big feature at 3, 4 or 5 in the morning. I think I went through about one big defensive moment with all the people who would every really do that with me before word got around not to fucking comment on my sleeping habits.
  11. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    That would be a much more readable interview than what is rote.
  12. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    If you are not allowed to keep the Marriott points.... as many writers are... I totally agree with you.
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