Doug Smith of the Toronto Star has a thoughtful response to a Blazersedge interview with Jason Quick of The Oregonian, which touched on some of the challenges facing the modern NBA beat writer. Smith has been a sportswriter for 30 years and has served as president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.
But Jason's stories also raise a couple of questions about how close you need to get to the people you write about, just how much you should care and how you deal with the disingenuous nature of the business that is so hard to figure out.
Sure, I've been lied to, I know this now and part of being good at this gig is figuring out why people are telling you what they are telling you. Everyone, it seems, has an angle and cutting through the crap to get to the reality is a challenging part. Fun, but challenging and necessary, too.
I think of it like this: You work hard at getting to know the people you're writing almost daily about, you work to find out what makes them tick, how they got to where they are, what tugs there are in their lives and you make your judgments based on that. Are they good people? Or bad people? Does what they say come from the heart and the mind or is it just boilerplate tripe that offers no insight and is given simply out of a sense of obligation or something. And when you hear that tripe, you try to ignore it because to present it as fact when you know it's not is cheating the readers, and that's who you're ultimately working for.
It's a tough gig, you cannot get too close because you will fall victim to presenting subjects as something they are not. Being able to work around that, and present real true depictions of athletes, coaches and front office personnel is a difficult part of the job. And one we battle with every day.
Blazers forward Nicolas Batum also offered a response to comments made by Quick.
PS This is just a random photo of an NBA media pack.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter