Wick Communications

A wider definition of sports

In sports on November 20, 2015 at 9:00 am
Half Moon Bay High School's Anthony DeMartini turning on the jets. Photo: Tim Miller

Half Moon Bay High School’s Anthony DeMartini turning on the jets. Photo: Tim Miller

Hey, here’s a battle I’ve fought before: Can we expand the kinds of things we print in our sports sections?

This week I had the distinct pleasure of being part of Wick’s Budget Review Team. As each publisher would begin to discuss the 2016 budget, I made it a point to leaf through a couple editions of the newspaper in question. I saw an awful lot of thoughtful hard work. To restate the cliché, your newspaper is a daily (or weekly) miracle.

One thing I noticed again and again (including in my own Half Moon Bay Review) is what I consider an over-reliance on high school sports. I would say 90 percent or more of our locally generated sports coverage concerns high school sports and the great majority of those stories are gamers rather than features that illuminate the humanity of players, coaches and fans.

Why is that? When did we get the stone tablet decreeing that community newspapers shall cover high school games to the exclusion of all else?

You know the problem already. If you don’t have some tie to the school or team, you are turning the page. It is a rare sports fan who cares about a high school water polo game unless her teenager is in the pool. …

Make time for ‘Spotlight’

In journalism on November 20, 2015 at 8:55 am

Last weekend, I spent two hours sitting still in a dark room and it was the most motivating thing I’ve done in a long time.

I went to see the movie “Spotlight.” You’ve probably heard of it. It’s the nearly entirely true tale of how an investigative unit at The Boston Globe – long known as Spotlight — broke open the Catholic Church pedophilia scandal. For my money, the story is one of the most important, most difficult investigations in the history of American journalism. It’s right up there with Watergate.

Every review I’ve read is glowing. Perhaps that is because they were written by newspaper people who could use a heroic journalism tale right about now.

The Associated Press’ Lindsey Bahr writes: “This is the kind of simmering process film that makes you want to roll up your sleeves and do some work. To knock on some doors, ask some questions, ignore warnings, crack open a beer, burn the midnight oil and really do something — or maybe that’s just what every journalist watching this film will think.”

She calls it one of the best journalism movies of all time. If that isn’t cause for celebration, I don’t know what is. …

Zing! Oust! Flee!

In journalism on November 20, 2015 at 8:50 am


Last week, Poynter joined a storied tradition of making fun of the use of words that only a journalist could love. You know the ones I’m talking about.

  • Congress fired its first salvo at the president on Monday…
  • The Pontiff issued his holiday decree from the Vatican…
  • The candidate used the new poll numbers to bolster his claim…

We all know there are words floating around that we use just because they sound all journalistical. When was the last time you heard anyone other than an ink-stained wretch refer to a fire as a blaze?

Much of the time, these words exist as part of a language I might call headlinese. They provide action words that are short and don’t mimic what’s in the body of the story.

Personally, I say no harm done, really. I agree that we should seek to be clear and concise and conversational. But in the list of crimes committed in the daily war of words we know as journalism, I would rank this one as a misdemeanor. (Speaking of words no one says.) Plus, it’s not going to hurt any of our readers to learn a new word now and then. …


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