Thursday, February 09, 2006
The Growl Of The Empty Stomach
I would like to submit Mark Tupper, sports editor of the Decatur (Ill.) Herald & Review as an example. Tupper has been covering the Illinois men's basketball and football teams for nearly two decades, but he doesn't have the stodgy, turgid, curmudgeon style that longtimers are often prone toward. He understands what fans care about, and he writes in a conversational, intelligent and lively style. No one knows more about Illinois basketball, and he's a joy to read.Zeroing in further, he allows as how the problem is simply one of space:
Well, he is on his blog, anyway. His game stories aren't boring, exactly, but they fall prey to the same verse-chorus-verse, inverted pyramid, statement-playerquote-statement-playerquote formula that has made anyone with a modem switch to blogs.
This is not to say that beat reporters are lazy; far from it. It's just that the world of newspapers, when compared to blogs, does not give them the freedom (or, more accurately, the space), to delve into what actually mattered in the game, accounting for context, complexity and ultimate impact.And therein lies my failure, at least, one of them, and probably the key one, at that. I make vast and unabashed apologies for the woeful state of my writing skills -- an original sentence or metaphor from my keyboard is as unlikely as Dubya delivering the State of the Union in drag. If it's meaning you want, head over to Chronicles or Dodger Thoughts; my aim here is to clear the buildup in certain of my internal organs, and if anyone stops by and finds themselves amused, outraged, or -- gasp -- even edified, well, so much the better.
I think he's pretty much right. Reporters write game stories that tell you what happened in the game. It's their job. But if you watched the game, their stories aren't all that exciting. They don't really provide any insight. But a good blog post about a game generally might cover what "really" happened. Where were the momentum swings, and such.
Tupper is a good example. I'm an Illini, so I read his blog all the time, but I hardly ever read his articles. I think it's fun to compare his recaps to my own and see if we both "saw" the same sorts of things during the game.
Jon -- thanks. Nonetheless, I'd flatter myself if I could be half the writer you are.