As a sports writer, I’m given the opportunity to learn the inside scoop on Ferris State sports, but at what cost?
For two years now, I’ve been following Bulldogs’ sports almost religiously because I’m empowered with the task of relaying news back to the fan. At what point, though, do I become a borderline stalker who bothers players and coaches for information? I’ve made a conscious effort to step back and ask myself, what I am really getting into?
I love sports. This is why I wanted to become a sports writer. It could also have to do with the fact I’m not cut out for the collegiate level or because my freshman fifteen has lingered for a few years.
Now that I have turned my hobby of writing into a hopefully bright future as a journalist, I’ve started to see why this is a unique profession. As I scour YouTube, I discover videos of head coaches throwing water bottles at sideline reporters and the ever-terrifying press conference breakdown.
Through this I can see why many people absolutely hate journalists. We bug our interviewee to the point of a mental collapse and keep digging to get the dirt on whatever it is we are covering, regardless of the consequences.
For the longest time I thought I was different; I believed the gazing fake smiles and “Nice to see you, but I loathe you” faces I have encountered on the job were all in good spirit. I realize now there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and maybe waiting outside Tony Annese’s house for a “quick” interview is one of them.
It still holds true how the attitude relayed by a team determines the type of press coverage they receive and the challenging questions associated with the environment. This doesn’t mean the relationship between a team and a reporter has to be tattered; rather, it should strengthen the respect between the two parties.
I hope one day players, coaches, fans and sports reporters can rejoice in our love of sports and sing Queen songs while gorging on chicken wings. However, the barrier between writers and teams exists for a reason. Despite peeking through the window of opportunity to get our next story, we need to be aware of what can happen to us.
Down the road, it would be ideal for sports journalists to work in a world free of head coach freak-outs and limited “no comment” dead ends, but maybe this is just wishful thinking. Many people fail to see that journalists are (for the most part) very professional and take control of their challenging career choice, as do I.
Here’s to the sports journalist; may your writing adventures be safe and may your recorder batteries stay alive.