February 8th, 2016 by Matt Goisman
Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in June 2015.
Matt Goisman's Sports Writing Archive
February 8th, 2016 by Matt Goisman
Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in June 2015.
February 7th, 2016 by Matt Goisman
Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in May 2015.
February 6th, 2016 by Matt Goisman
Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in March and April 2015.
February 3rd, 2016 by Matt Goisman
I’m not sure how many people still check this blog – at this point I basically just use it for roundups and Best American Sports Writing reviews. But those who do have no doubt noticed the following things:
1) I haven’t posted anything lately.
2) Everything I’ve posted since March 2015 has disappeared.
Well, the sportsblognet hosting server crashed, and it turned out the backup servers were woefully outdated. Long story short, there’s no way to recover what I lost, which amounts to nine monthly roundups (technically eight, as I don’t think I ever published a December 2015 roundup) and a BASW 2014 review.
Everything seems to be running again, so here’s what I’m gonna do. Below you’ll find everything I wrote during January 2016. Starting Saturday I’ll re-publish each of my previous monthly roundups, beginning with March-April 2015 and ending with December 2015 on Feb. 14. The following Wednesday (Feb. 17), I’ll republish the BASW 2014 (this probably won’t be exactly the same as the original), and look for a new BASW 2000 review on Feb. 24.
From there, I’ll get back to publishing monthly roundups.
Was this a frustrating experience? Sure – having to redo something you already did always is. But sometimes technology fails, and sometimes it fails in such a way that it can’t be saved. Shit happens, and if there’s nothing that can be done about it, staying pissed off is pointless. I’ll backup my own blog more regularly from now on, and if it happens again, I’ll reevaluate.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote in January.
March 8th, 2015 by Matt Goisman
This will be my last roundup of stories for the McAlester News-Capital. I summarized my thoughts on writing and working in McAlester pretty well in the last story listed here, so no need to repeat myself.
Instead, let me talk about how writing professionally affects blogging recreationally.
I moved to McAlester planning to continue regularly blogging on Goose’s Gabs. Maybe I wouldn’t match the five or six stories I wrote each week between the end of grad school and the start of my job in June 2012, but I figured I’d blog at least three or four times a week.
When you’re paid to write and spend all day doing it, the last thing you want to do is come home and then do it for another hour or two. For the most part I don’t even spend my hours watching sports, let alone writing about them.
The sports journalists who get off work and then go home and watch ESPN for another three hours astound me. I check ESPN.com daily and watch the occasional Patriots or Red Sox game, but that’s it.
I devote most of TV viewing to science fiction, superhero and fantasy shows. It’s how I create a clear line between work and home, and I’d like to think it leaves me more energy for the writing I get paid to do.
I started out blogging News-Capital roundups every week. Within a year that number dwindled to once a month.
I also soon realized ideas that would make for good blog entries would also make for good columns. My blogging creativity went down as my professional creativity went up.
I watched a lot of the 2012 Summer Olympics and blogged about them, but those occurred just two months into the job. Covering the Olympics is also one of my career goals, so it behooves me to watch as much of them as I can now so I’m better prepared when I get the chance.
But even that urge couldn’t rouse me to blog when the 2014 Winter Olympics aired. It also didn’t help that a) the United States didn’t do that well at Sochi; and b) Russia decided to invade Ukraine on the second-to-last day of the Olympics, killing any interest I had in watching two more days of Russian self-adulation.
I’m leaving the News-Capital for the Cape Cod Times, a paper that puts its digital product first in a way I think McAlester wants to but doesn’t yet do. And without a sense of how much actual writing I’ll be doing on a daily basis, I can’t predict if I’ll blog less, more or the same amount.
So maybe I’ll have the free time to start rebuilding this blog’s audience, which I’d guess has shrunk dramatically over the last 2.5 years. Or, maybe I’ll just abandon this blog entirely save for three or four Best American Sports Writing reviews each year.
All I know right now is that I’m about to begin my second job as a professional sports journalist after an almost three-year, extremely prolific and successful first job.
I’d say I’m on the right track.
The Best American Sports Writing 2001 is the only volume I’ve reviewed so far where the introduction doesn’t actually introduce anything. Volume editor Bud Collins discusses the volatile, even occasionally violent relationship between athletes and the sporting press, but never once does he mention any of the 28 stories that follow.
Instead, Collins puts a one-section reaction at the top of each story. It’s a unique approach, but the lack of any discussion in the introduction sets an odd tone for the ensuing 357 pages.
And therein lies the theme of this review: tone. An appropriate emotional tone can make a great story even greater, but the wrong tone can just as easily tank an otherwise well-written story.
The best and worst stories in BASW 2001 earn that status because of their tone. “Everest at the Bottom of the Sea,” by Bucky McMahon, captures all the adventure and excitement and danger one would expect in a story about diving for treasure in a sunken luxury cruiser.
Series editor Glenn Stout has said repeatedly that sports writing isn’t the same as writing about sports. One might not think of treasure-diving as a sport, but this story is so cool it absolutely belongs in this collection.
February 2nd, 2015 by Matt Goisman
The annual Pitt 8 Tournament is always exhausting, but it’s also always extremely fun.
Here’s my coverage of it and everything else I wrote in January for the McAlester News-Capital.
January 5th, 2015 by Matt Goisman
If a journalist goes his or her whole career without writing something that draws a strong negative reaction, chances are that journalist isn’t very good. I’ve been a professional reporter for 2.5 years, and I’ve already written a coupe articles that people haven’t liked.
Sometimes I’m prepared for that reaction, as I was when I wrote an article arguing against the death penalty (the specific issue was suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev). Sometimes the reaction catches me off guard, as it did when I used the seemingly innocuous word “fall” in a headline about a local team that had made a state championship but then lost.
I was also surprised that a statement about a former coach not fitting in drew such a negative reaction, including allegations of racism. I never mentioned the racial makeup of the community, team or coach, so how race played into it is beyond me. I also wrote that statement knowing that a) one of the team’s best players quit midway though last season; b) multiple parents and players had already told me they didn’t like the coach; c) multiple other conference coaches had told me they either didn’t like the coach or could see the kids not responding to him; and d) I’d been told a group of parents had gone to the school board trying to get the coach fired.
What I wrote was true, so what’s the issue?
Sometimes something I think will draw a negative reaction doesn’t draw any at all. When NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay, I wrote that I hoped it would open the floodgates and make countless other gay athletes feel confident enough to come out of the closet.
Maybe people hated that story, but nobody emailed me to say so.
I’m expecting the final story in this roundup to draw a huge negative reaction. Check it out, along with everything else I’ve written in the last month.
December 2nd, 2014 by Matt Goisman
And so ends high school football. I think just about everyone in and around McAlester was disappointed the Buffaloes couldn’t pull off the win in Friday’s Class 5A semifinal and return to State, myself included. So when I finished my sports content Saturday for the Sunday paper — the last Sunday paper that’d be devoted entirely to high school football until next year — I found myself surprisingly unmotivated to turn around and start working on my content for Tuesday’s paper.
A late Friday night played some part in that, as did the basketball scrimmage I’d planned to cover Saturday afternoon taking place ahead of schedule. By the time I arrived, it was nearly over.
I got some good photos, but without being there from the beginning I knew my story would be kinda lacking.
I ultimately typeset a couple of local basketball tournament schedules — useful information, sure, but not all that riveting — to go with my summary of the scrimmage. I’ll find out in a couple days if my page designer — who in the past has made magic out of a small amount of text and few photos — was able to make what I submitted work or if he needed to run wire to fill up the rest of Tuesday’s sports section.
I’m sure once I get into the swing of basketball season again my energy will pick back up. But for about 24 hours this weekend, I didn’t have much to write about and couldn’t make myself find any more.
Of course, that doesn’t mean a month’s worth of stories isn’t quite a long post. Enjoy!
November 3rd, 2014 by Matt Goisman
I’m about a month away from wrapping up my third football season with the McAlester News-Capital. And while it’s not always easy to see my own improvement, there are a few things I’ve recently noticed that I think show progress:
1) I’m faster: During my first football season, I usually had to get in between 8-9 a.m. Saturday mornings to be able to write all my content and get it paginated on deadline. Now I’m able to do more Friday nights, then drift in around 10-10:30 and still get it all done. I can write a raw gamer (no quotes) for most sports in about 30-40 minutes, then need only about 10-15 minutes to insert the quotes (and that’s if I’m transcribing an interview, not copying and pasting quotes over the phone). It takes me slightly longer to do features, but I’m still faster at that than I used to be.
2) I’m more confident: Two years ago I let a coach dictate the angle of a feature I wanted to do on his team. I recently was at a game where one his players hit a major individual accomplishment, and even though he asked me to downplay that in favor of a story on the team overall, I point-blank and repeatedly told him “No” and that the accomplishment would be both the headline and the first part of the story. I maintained this response even when he grabbed my jacket in what felt like an equally jovial and hostile manner.
3) I manage my time better: I try to avoid requesting overtime when I can, and in the last few months I feel like I’ve needed it far less than I would’ve two years ago (the one exception being the week I had to focus on the football preview magazine, but that’s unavoidable). Despite more or less living at the Jr. Sunbelt Tournament in June, I still finished at most a couple hours over 40, and at least two-thirds of my weeks this fall have ended right at 40. I used to occasionally work off the clock just so I wouldn’t be slammed the next day — now I don’t have to.
Here’s everything I’ve written in the last month.