Thursday, May 03, 2012

Categories of Sports Writing & Joe Posnanski Career Move

A topic I've discussed and been bouncing around in the head lately is how there seems to be a few distinct types of sports writing (probably distinct types of writing in general, but sports writing for the purpose of this missive) done with each having it's own unique characteristics.

I may well be missing some, but those that come to mind are below:

1. The feature piece - something big (in both length and heft) that tends towards the profound... with the accomplishment of this being aided by the amount of space (and presumably time to write) assigned the writer.

2. The column - very short and often tough to be done great. One of the things that me thinks makes this a hard type of piece to do well is columns sometimes can suffer from a lack of heft due to the space allocated.

3. The player / game analysis - this is the type of work that for me has become not not necessarily a dime a dozen, but there's tons of outlets to find it, and oftentimes this type of piece doesn't go much beyond a rudimentary retelling of what happened (or what might happen if you know, other stuff happens). Statement isn't meant to be critical of writers who do player / game analysis (and there's a market for them as long as there are newspapers and ways for websites to make money), just it's perhaps the least interesting to me of various types of sports pieces.

4. The blended player/game analysis & feature - an interesting beast to me in that it combines together what happened with both why it happened and details about the people who made it happen. Sports Illustrated as a weekly has a number of these types of pieces and I find it to be tremendously impressive when I see one of these pieces done well (rather than the piece leaning too much towards simply what happened).

This idea of different writing categories brings to mind the idea of different writing sources (magazines, books, blogs, twitter) and a blog post I did two years ago about Joe Posnanski as a writer working across platforms. I enjoy his work quite a bit and heard a while back about him leaving Sports Illustrated and then came across a piece "Prolific Posnanski embarks on new pursuits with Project X, Paterno". It's written by Dave Kindred for the Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University and overviews both Posnanski's upcoming book and new gig with a joint venture between MLB Advanced Media (overviewed in this Fast Company story) and USA Today.

Very interested to see both the work Posnanski puts out and what exactly the venture will look like as a business offering centering around sports writing (presumably baseball) and how it's delivered in a "new media" environment.