To many, journalism is a dying field, and to others, it is becoming more and more of a joke everyday. Loved ones ask, “why would you want to be a journalist?” as if it is some kind of death sentence. And, heaven forbid, you want to become a writer, questions start coming your way as fast as bullets from a tommy gun. “How are you going to make money” is the most common one, and is valid. Print journalism is dying, and the movement to making everything digital has made it hard for journalists to earn the same kind of wages they used to. But to me, journalism represents something larger than money, and I have come to realize it holds a special place in my heart.
When I was about five or six, I almost completely stopped watching cartoons and turned my attention towards ESPN. SportsCenter is what I would wake up to, and when I got home from school I would watch Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, and the occasional Jim Rome is Burning. I would argue my early childhood until I was about to graduate middle school was the golden era for ESPN, and especially SportsCenter, though that may be nostalgia speaking. Stuart Scott, Scott Van Pelt, the John’s (Anderson and Buccigross) the list of exceptional anchors goes on and on. The personalities were so vibrant and enthusiastic, and helped show me just how exciting and fun sports were. A clever joke was always right around the corner, alongside an explanation of the intricacies of the game.
Nowadays, it is hard to watch ESPN anymore, let alone SportsCenter. The quality has dissipated, and people have noticed. As I progressed throughout high school and SportsCenter continued to decline, I turned my attention towards print journalism. I found Grantland because of Bill Simmons, as I had found his “Book of Basketball” when I was a freshman and had loved every page of it. I fell in love with Grantland right away, as they had a staff of writers that consistently put out in-depth, knowledgeable pieces. Robert Mays and Bill Barnwell educated me on the ins and outs of the NFL, Zach Lowe and Kirk Goldsberry brought me even closer to the NBA, and Mark Titus held it down for college basketball. These writers became my role models, and showed me that my dream could become a reality.
Since basketball is my favorite sport, I honed in on Zach Lowe and Mark Titus. Their ability to blend humor into their pieces reminded me of what SportsCenter used to bring to the table, and I followed their work religiously. As I kept reading each article they published and coming away with a better understanding of the game I enjoyed so much, I realized what I wanted to do. I want to provide the next generation with what I had growing up, and spark the same fire in them that ESPN and Grantland sparked in me.