Thursday, November 01, 2007

An ex-sportswriter on sportswriting (and it isn't pretty)

Richard Ford once worked as a sportswriter, but he is best known as the 1996 author of Indendence Day, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Best Fiction, and sequel to the 1986 novel, The Sportswriter.

Ford used his regular place in the New York Times quarterly sports magazine, Play, to share his thoughts on the present state of sportswriting (published Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007). He conceives of a three-dimension consumption of sport: the game as played, the game as described, and the game as pondered. His assessment of the second dimension - the sports media, that once paid his bills - is not pretty:
Much sportswriting (a job I used to have), much that’s on ESPN, lots that’s on Sporting News Radio and The Best Damn Sports whatever and in The New York Times — in other words, a great deal of my Dimension Two — is trying to sharpen the focus on a bunch of focusless stuff that not only doesn’t matter a toot, and could never be proven true or false and therefore isn’t really journalism, but that also doesn’t have anything to do with the game as it’s played.

Unfortunately, he is all too accurate in his assessment of the state of sportswriting today. Be certain to give it a good read as he is amazingly able to reference Janet Gretzky, Manny being Manny, and Tank Johnson in the same sentence.

He asks the question and bears repeating, "Did any of us ask for this?"


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