Perception Is Not Always Reality in the Case of Sports Media
Added by Matt Kardos on August 13, 2012.
An old English adage, coined in the 1800’s that reads, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” is a pretty precise description of the way a journalist approaches every story they work on. As a credentialed member of the media at the ripe young age of 23, I can honestly say my view of the media since breaking into this business is completely different than what I had envisioned it being as a youngster.
Journalism is a business that is cut-throat and certainly not for the weak at heart. To thrive you have to own an imagination and thought process that allows you to think outside the box, all while possessing a thick skin. It is very much a business that serves as a double-edged sword. It can cause the readers to fall in love with you, or completely hate you, all based on your stance or opinion. As a writer, you have to be prepared to take whatever the critics have to throw at you, and, most of the time, it can break you down if you allow it to.
The media has an unquestioned ability to vastly alter a reader’s view point on a particular story, for better or worse. Our words in print have the ability to capture your thoughts and allow an entire population to develop their own opinion or social stance towards whatever we may be relaying to our audience. Is it right? Probably not, but, it is indeed reality. Some writers have a hidden agenda or ultimate goal in doing so, while others are just looking to generate a reading audience.
Growing up as a child, I have always known that this was the profession I wanted to pursue for myself. I can certainly say that the career path that I have since wandered down to get there has been an absolute learning tool in my ultimate destination. When you are a child and a die-hard sports fan, you would give your left arm to be able to stand next to athletes and get their autograph on a baseball. That was me. I was very much an autograph stalker, waiting before and after ball games for my favorite player’s signatures. It was my life.
Almost a decade removed from standing in the parking lots of Shea Stadium with a baseball and a Sharpie marker in my hand extended for autographs, I now stand on a far more lucrative platform as a writer with a tape recorder in that very same hand, hoping to get those very same players to say something outlandish or beyond the ordinary so I can run with a story that will have a tremendous amount of spice to attract attention.
Though the media catches a bad wrap in the court of public opinion a majority of the time, we don’t particularly relish that perception. When we rise before the sun and burn the midnight oil on a nightly basis to generate a story, it is all for you, the reader. One thing I tell people close to me on a daily basis is that, “a writer is nothing without a reader.” There are thousands of writers in this country and we all have the God-given ability cover the same story. The unique part of this business comes in the fact that you can get a different viewpoint or portrayal from each and every one of them. Speaking for myself, I don’t ever take on a story with any agenda other than bringing the most unique perspective I can develop for my audience. I don’t want to present the same old story with the same old quotes as every other writer. My goal is to captivate and move you, even within the most basic of stories. I set out to try and bring you a powerful view point that is unique to my own writing style and skill set.
For me, the biggest key in developing a story is to be detail oriented. A fan or reader most of the times is not at the game you’re covering and certainly not in the locker room when you’re conducting an interview, so every little detail that you can bring to light is an added fixture to the blank canvas that is your story.
My purpose for writing is pure passion. I don’t do this job to kill time, I do it because I love the art of writing, I love the art of reading and I love the art of showcasing my talents to better inform the world and its current state, in my case, it happens to be sports. When you sit in front of your computer with your morning cup of coffee and log onto DoubleGSports.com to check the latest headlines and read my daily articles and features, I hope that I can say I have captivated and inspired your thoughts just a little bit; inspired you to think and feel beyond the ordinary to develop your own unequivocal opinion. And that, my friends, is what journalism is like from my point of view.