Monday, March 09, 2009

The Wright Stuff

Sorry about my lack of posting last week. Things at work are catching up with me, including a commitment to co-author a book on sport communication. Related to that, I did get a chance to talk last week with Wright Thompson, a senior writer for and ESPN The Magazine who graciously agreed to appear in the book. His thoughts on the current state of the sportswriting industry are very interesting, especially the impact of new technologies--

"I read all the e-mails and they go straight to my Blackberry. It helps me relate with readers and I have gotten some good story ideas, but I don't let people second guess my story process and I don't try to guess what America wants to read. (The blog) hasn't changed the way I write, but some journalists feel they need to change their tone for the blog. They feel like they need to be funny, pithy or entertaining. If they can write funny and entertaining they should write funny and entertaining all the time."

I guess it's fair to say Wright is "old school" in that he places a very high value on the fundamentals of writing, storytelling and reporting, and I agree. I think we make a mistake in higher education trying to "teach the technology" by placing so much emphasis on the tools. All that stuff could be obsolete in 5 years anyway. For example, we're spending a lot of time teaching students digital editing, but a lot of them start their careers in some small market editing tape-to-tape. (And not just in small markets. A former student told me that WAGA in Atlanta just switched to digital editing within the last year).

More later ...


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