I know most of us have heard the phrase, “from the outside looking in,” right?
I look at some of the things I’ve written in the past, mostly about sports, and I realize that I was forcing myself to write stuff I wasn’t proud of. Just to clarify, I was never asked to write anything I wasn’t comfortable with by anyone; the articles were my ideas and my writing so the only one to blame here is me.
But I figured I’d write it, post it, and whatever reaction came of it I’d just let it be. Since I’ve taken this hiatus, I realized that I should have never forced anything. What I post I should be proud of or I shouldn’t post it at all.
I read some of the best columnists in the country and I wonder if they feel the same way? Are the proud of everything they write every time or do they just post something just to post it? Although, their talent level is far and away above mine and I have no problem admitting that.
A good friend of mine used to write for one of the local papers here in Dallas/Fort Worth and did so for more than 10 years. While I won’t mention his name, I will say his writing is still incredible. But ever since he was laid off from said paper, he has, for the most part, stayed away from sports. Something he had made a living doing for a long time.
I will admit that it wasn’t for the lack of trying to get hired by different sports entities, he didn’t quit cold turkey. It just didn’t happen for him for whatever reason.
However, I will say it feels like he’s gained a new perspective on life and his style of writing and his creative genius hasn’t faded one single bit. I’ve often mentioned to him that just when I feel like I’m getting better at this writing thing, I read something he’s written and I say to myself (with a smirk of sorts), “I’m not even close.”
There’s no question I have still opinions on different sports topics, things like that won’t ever fade and neither will my love for being a sports fan. But writing about it just doesn’t seem as fun anymore and today was one of those days when I realized why I felt the way I did. While not the biggest reason, it does happen to be a big one.
Here’s a new phrase for you. “It’s more important to be first than right.”
No matter what sport you follow, you’ve seen stories break that are somewhere in-between two lines — first and right. Since the invention of social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc), more stories have been broken there than at any other time in our history. Remember having to continually refresh a page on a website, waiting for a columnist to finish their story on some breaking news about this team or that sport?
Now it takes a few seconds for a columnist, or a blogger perhaps, to post some sort of breaking news — in 140 characters or less. And because everyone wants credit for breaking the story, you see more times than not a breaking news story turns out to have a few factual errors. Then, as the layers are peeled back, even more errors are found until the story, and those who break it, go from first…to wrong. But, hey, at least they came out with the news first, right?
That’s the way of sports media these days. But here’s the problem it brings up. Seasoned members of the media can be wrong more times than they’re right but because they may have more skins on the wall than an average blogger who isn’t as well known as the big media guy. Why you ask? Because the big media guy is more well known and has been known to be right a time or two. Not only that, but he’s probably done the job a lot longer than the blogger who’s just looking for his/her first break.
Here’s the difference; the blogger has to do far more work to make sure they aren’t wrong. They’re only given one chance when it comes to breaking stories. The first time they’re wrong, their credibility is instantly scrutinized. In an instant, it could be completely gone.
There are guys who work their tails off and may never break a single story. But, I will tell you this much, I would rather read what they have to say because it tends to be more honest. Why? Because while this may not hold true for all “bloggers” it does hold true for the ones I pay attention to.
Social media hasn’t altogether been a bad thing, far from it. But it has created the ability for this new phrase to rear its ugly head more times than not.
There’s no question anyone who writes about sports, especially those just starting out, dream about the day they get to break a big story. But it is really that important in order to gain just a few ounces of respect? Or is it still about working hard, being respectful, and having a passion for what you do?
Build relationships, earn trust, and the rest will ultimately take care of itself.
First isn’t always best no matter what anyone might say.