Wick Communications

‘God is getting an earful today’

In Writing on March 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

I’ve said it before. I’m saying it now. I’ll say it again some day real soon. Read Dave Kindred. If you forget the kids at school, if dinner is nothing but yesterday’s lunch heated, if the laundry remains an amorphous lump on the bedroom floor, make time to read Kindred.

These days, Kindred is on the board of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University. But he’s been a sportswriter and columnist at the Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to name just two fine papers. He’s won a Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement in sports journalism and that’s really all you need to know.

You can find all his columns/essays for the Indiana organization here. I guarantee that if you read them all you will be a better writer by roughly 32 percent. He inspires by example and points to some amazing journalism to boot, such as Jim Murray’s lead on the day noted baseball loudmouth Casey Stengal died: “Well, God is getting an earful today.”

With Kindred, as with Murray, it was never about sports. Not really. It’s about people…

Kindred extols the power of such short, telling ledes, the secrets behind deadline writing (I particularly like the suggestion that you make cacophony your friend… I too like to write to loud music), and gives 50 tips for sports journalists, all of them gems.

I am reasonably confident, if you asked him, his No. 1 tip for writers is to be good readers. Do yourself a favor. Go by your local library and thumb through a Runyon or a Plimpton or a Kindred. Your readers will be glad you did.

Clay

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  1. I kind of have to disagree, mostly because I like to disagree. Not real familiar with Kindred, but Murray and the like seemed to diverge from sports for the sake of being folksy and, in turn, for the sake of dumbing things down. Such charms have blazed the way for the Denver Post’s Woody Paige, Ray Romano’s fictional TV character and other mildly mentally retarded sportswriting that tries to seperate itself from the equally MMR infotainment of ESPN and the Internet by making it all about people.
    Cheap trick sez I.

  2. Matt, I don’t know how you could read Kindred or Murray and come away thinking they have dumbed down anything. (Paige is sort of another matter. While I kind of like him too, he’s more of a pontificator than any sort of reporter.)
    But to each his own. All I ask is that you read them. You don’t have to like it. Reading good writing is like drinking your milk that way. The mere fact that you’ve read enough of these guys to form an opinion is really important. So thanks for reading.
    Here is another pretty good one writing about the end of Jim Murray’s life:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1005195/index.htm

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