Holy 4000 page book Batman!
Holy 4000 page book Batman!
I read five words.
Ha, his name is Woody (sorry I'm still thinking about that "Pen is Mighty" thread).
I can't imagine wanting to get into journalism nowadays. Come to think of it, I wouldn't want to get into any "sexy" field that sounds cool. That's usually where the jobs are that make people miserable.
1. I almost quit because people said I dontknow what IM talking about
2. Dont be interested in sports, be interested in writing
3. Throw your opinion around based on writing not on knowledge of the game
This is crap. Woody Paige sucks.
I would much rather have halted writing from someone with passion for the event they watched than eloquent praise from someone who could give 2 shits.
Why am I not surprised that a guy who works for a shitty style-over-substance network would say that a passion for sports is not a prerequisite for covering sports?
Great email by Woody-watching his on tv persona i would never have imaged him giving this type of advice. Seems very well spoken and knowledgeable.
Seems he forgot this crucial part of his own (and Strunk & White's) advice. Otherwise, as someone who writes for a living, I'd say this is pretty great advice to aspiring sportswriters.
I don't know anything about professional sportswriting, but I would want to get a second opinion after reading that lengthy response from Mr. Paige. What's the point of being a sportswriter if you aren't a fan of at least one of the teams? It's an academic exercise at that point. It seems counterintuitive to me.
Not sure of the venue, but I've seen stories about both Rosenberg and Snyder indicating that they try to disocciate themselves from the subject being covered. (I know, fine job they did while hacking away at Rich Rodriguez.)
I remember reading Rosenberg whining about having to fly to Pittsburgh during the Cup Finals the Wings won, having lost Game 5 at the Joe, and having to fly that night/next day to PA. And Snyder saying essentially the same, while being compared by the Daily to our own MGoBrian...do I have that recollection correct? Didn't Snyder kind of make a point that he had to be dispassionate, not share the enthusiasm or joy of fandom?
(Which then puts the glee at the DB presser where Rodriguez was whacked at direct odds to the whole "journalistic integrity" crap - no clapping in the press box, etc.)
Don't know that the sports journalism career is really journalism, or bombastic op/ed crapulence...seems like ages since there's been excellent writing in the local papers. Most of the print media is now AP/Reuters cut and paste!
i'm fairly certain knowing how to write and knowing what you're writing about are not mutually exclusive, contrary to mr. paige's suggestion
Much of it can be applied to whatever field one desires as their profession.
Although I give anyone credit who would voluntarily respond to a simple inquiry.
I like the advice about how to be successful, work harder, be passionate, creative. I don't know how you can do those things as a sportswriter if you don't care about sports. Having knowledge of what yo u are covering can only help in my opinion. Woddy seems to think it only hurts. This is just odd.
Wow, based on how I just wrote that I'm screwed if I want to be in journalism. Yikes.
...that you should not have knowledge about sports. In fact a good writer must have a knowledge about the subject on which he is writing. He is saying that having a passion for sports, in particular for a team is detremental to ones ability to write about the subject. He will let his passion get in the way of the facts and change his perception about what happened.
As a writer, it is more important to have a passion about the theatre of the game and what occured rather than the outcome. Knowing that a particular play was a critcial point in the game on which you are writing is very important and that is where the knowledge of the game comes in. Caring about which team or player was on the benefical end of said play is what will affect the writing in a detremental manner.
I think that one reason is that everyone starts off at the Bumblefucktown Gazette covering Little League baseball. In other words, you break into the business covering something you couldn't care less about, so you have to enjoy the work.
I don't particularly like Paige but he's right in saying sports writers shouldn't be specifically sports writers. Editors are initerested in people who can write about a wide breadth of topics, not just sports. A lot of journalists were history or political science majors, and I'm guessing there are many sports writers who took the same path in college.
As someone who briefly worked for a small-town newspaper like the ones Woody described as a good place to start, I think that all his advice could not be more correct.
I deeply enjoy sports, but when you're covering sports in a small town, you have to rely on quality writing to attract readers, especially when you're covering low profile events such as high school tennis or wrestling (even uneven high school football games). Sure, passion would help, but you don't learn passion. You learn how to write, and to progress in your career as a sports writer, being a skilled writer means so much more than being passionate.
Furthermore, my opinions on anything related to college football were tainted because of my loyalty to Michigan football. I wasn't the main sports writer at my paper, so I rarely got an opportunity to write an opinion column (we had a very small newsroom so I was frequently covering sports but rarely opining on anything in print). Having a strong loyalty to a team comes through in your writing, which serves to undermine your credibility and alienate readers.
This is a great e-mail for anyone looking to be a sports journalist because it describes the reality of the profession well. The job is only for the people willing to put in the tough hours at the small papers while being detached enough that you understand appreciate/sports but don't have any deep loyalties that will slant your perspectives.
Thanks for posting this, it was a great read.
I never worked in journalism, but I've always loved writing. Writing well is absolutely critical to success in many professions, inlcuding journalism. I'm currently an IT auditor, and it's the ability to write that sets people apart. There are plenty of people who understand technology who can't write a coherent report, and they'll never make good auditors because of this.
Writing is very important if you want to be in managment as well. I've seen plenty of people write crappy emails complaining about how they can't "get ahead", yet when you read the email, you see why. They don't take the time - or have the knowledge - to write intelligently. And as a manager, you'll write a lot, and be judged based on that writing.
Back to Woody. It's interesting that he does not care about sports because he is on shows like Around the Horn where he has such strong opinions on sports. Which demonstrates that most of it is an act. Drew Sharp is an act. I remember reading once that somone claimed to have met Michael Savage and he said that most of his show is an act. There is a market out there for opinions, so people give it to them. But many times it's really not even that person's opinion, it's just a show to attract attention. It's smart when you think about it. And it makes you wonder why we should listen, or get angry listening to commentators of all sorts.
Now that's totally different from objective journalism, and yes, journalists should try not to have strong opinions (like be a fan of a team) in the field they are covering. One of the criticisms of jounalists in general in the younger generation is they don't care about objectivity any more. But I'm more inclinded to go with what Brian says: bias is unimportant because everyone is biased; it's being accurate that matters.
End self-important pompus post.
Paige knows that blogs are eating into his profession and he has to hate them. He can dismiss them all he wants, but he can't change the fact that business and writing are done differently nowadays. He also can't change the fact that blogs are taking over the business.
I agree with him on the fundamentals of writing, though. There are a lot of alternate ways for writers to make money right now, but not knowing the language is not one of them.
Blogs distort fact from fiction. Blogs try to pass opinion off as facts. The power of blogs cannot be understated, but they do not hold themselves to the same journalisitc standards as newspapers. Blogs are opinion pieces with writers who have a definitive bias on an issue. The problem is that many blogs are treated as true factual journalism. This is most apparent in politics today. Nearly every day one side will take something written in a blog as fact. A great example is the Obama $2Billion trip to India with 40 warships. A conservative blog picked up a story off another blog in India, which was then quoted and treated as fact by Fox News and a number of US Congressmen.
In my opinion, blogs are hurting journalism as newpapers and media outlets are now feeling the need to combine opinion and facts. Rather than reporting on the facts and allowing the reader to draw his own opinion.
Oh, blogs are the reason the Freep feels the need to combine opinion and facts. Got it.
Woody is cool. I'd pay good money to have him and Bob Knight in a room talking about the training necessary to become part of the print media. Knight being famous for scoffing at the notion that there is any skill in what they do. Something to the effect of: "I learned how to write in the first grade."
Would be a fun spectacle. Maybe Knight would break out his game face too.
If ever there was a time for tl;dr, I'm guessing this is it.
I think it's awesome that he took the time to write that response and there is probably a lot of merit to most of what he says. HOWEVA, I think Mgoblog's creator would disagree with the argument that you shouldn't become a sports writer because you love sports.
I think its a changing of the guard. The new school that Bill Simmons brought on is all about sportswriters also being fans. Brian fits into that mold.
Woody is a from a different time and generation, where you couldn't become attached to any one team otherwise you were considered a homer and not a serious journalist. Obviously that will color his world view.
Angelique Chengelis is a good example. Do you think you would take her as seriously if she professed her love of Michigan? Do you take Rosenberg as seriously now that you think that he had a bias against Rodriguez?
Being able to remember some of the crap he wrote during the heights of the Wings/Avs rivalry I have a hard time taking Paige seriously. I mean he's probably not an Avs fan, but he certainly wrote like he was one, and a dim witted Avs fan at that. His lack of interest in sports though makes some of the things he wrote make more sense, still craptastic journalism though.
Don't become a writer to cover sports. Be a writer and then cover sports.
1. He didnt have to write the kid back.
2. No Doubt he worked hard to get to where he is.
3. No Doubt he works hard now.
Not my fav on TV, but he entertains... Impressed with his advice.