Alan Goldenbach: 3 things

Alan Goldenbach is a feature writer and high school sports reporter for the Washington Post.

GRADED EXERCISE: In the comments section below, add the three things you learned from Alan Goldenbach‘s presentation on Feb. 5. Deadline is 30 minutes before class on Tuesday Feb. 10. No exceptions!

Photo credit: Mark Gail/Washington Post

47 Responses to “Alan Goldenbach: 3 things”

  1.   bmurphy6 Says:

    Brendan Murphy
    Communication 371-001
    Sports Reporting/Klein

    Three Things I learned from Alan Goldenbach:

    1. Attribution levels at the three levels high school, college, and professional sports all differ. Example: In high school games he would not reference an athlete unless they wanted to talk to him.

    2. How to really make the stories of athletes relate to normal people. He has skillfully attached human qualities of these “superstars” to the average person.

    3. The pro “stardom” eventually runs out. You have little access to the professional athletes and you are competing with so many other journalists.

  2.   Sara Ronken Says:

    Three things I learned from Alan Goldenbach:

    1. Writing for some of the lesser-known teams can be more rewarding because you have more of a chance to be unique in your writing. You are able to speak with far more athletes, you have access to practices and chances are no one else is covering the same game.

    2. An important part of journalism is to try and find qualities in the subjects that are not so extraordinary, because it enables the readers to connect more with them.

    3. Although it is important to try to find and incorporate good quotes into your writing, it is also important to establish relationships with your subjects. Therefore, if you are conducting a one-on-one interview and the person says something that can be damaging to his/her reputation or career, give the person a chance to retract it. Chances are the person will be grateful and will be more willing to help you out in the future.

  3.   Mike Foss Says:

    Here are three things I took from Alan Goldenbach’s time with us:

    1. The Washington Post is a “sink or swim” environment. It, as a paper is not in the business of developing and nurturing new journalists.

    2. When covering college and professional level sporting events, journalists are competing with one another, trying to make their stories unique from everyone else. It isn’t about how well you right, it’s about how you can make your story unique.

    3. A journalist has to discern what is desirable information and what is “cocka-mamey crap.”

  4.   Colby Prout Says:

    Three things I learned from Adam Goldenbach:

    1. It’s important to maintain a level of repore with the people you interview and on which your stories rely.

    2. It’s important to demonstrate restraint when reporting on ameteur level sports. For example it inappropriate to use a student athletes name when referring to a mistake.

    3. Network. Network. Network.

  5.   Eric Vitoff Says:

    1. It never occurred to me that a huge advantage of covering high school sports is the accessibility.

    2. Everything Alan said about highlighting commonalities between big time athletes like Michael Jordan and the common man was very enlightening.

    3. You don’t mention the name of a high school receiver who dropped a big catch to lose a game, but you do mention the names of college and professional players.

  6.   Grant Paulsen Says:

    Three things I learned from Alan Goldenbach:

    1. When writing a “feature,” you can never interview enough people about your subject.

    2. The best way to make people want to read a story is to find a way to relate the person you are writing about to the person who is going to be reading the story you are writing.

    3. If somebody says something on camera, don’t worry about double-checking to see if they meant it. If they tell you it in private, ask them if they are okay with you using what they’ve just said.

  7.   Evan Says:

    1. Seeing Mr. Goldenbach present his thoughts to the class was an enlightening experience. When he discussed, entertained and instructed, he became so much more than a writer of stories and events – he became a friend. If I hope to pursue a career similar to his, I should remember never to forget the power of sociability and affability when working with people. Because in the end, it’s their stories that are being told. It’s that trust that spurs a man like Goldenbach to do his absolute best not to betray that.
    2. Sometimes it takes understanding and tolerance when one tries to make it in a job market like this. Not everything will come handed to you; and sometimes it’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder leading to where you want to go then halfway up one you don’t.
    3. It may be up to the reporter/writer’s discretion at times when it comes to using statements that may contain glaring grammar or spelling errors. On one side of the coin, you may show the speaker to be erroneous or even obtuse, but on the other side it’s our job to present the truth.

  8.   Chris Brooks Says:

    3 Things:

    1. With preps, journalists have all the access they want. Stories written are most likely stories no one else is aware of, making it unique.

    2. The way to get in at the Post is to start doing box scores for high school sports.

    3. Read for style and learn repetition, so mistakes are not made as often.

    It was a pleasure having Mr. Goldenbach in class. He was helpful in my pursuit of finding work.

  9.   Andrew Says:

    Three Things I learned from Alan:

    1. Repetition is the key to becoming a good writer. Doing it over and over again will help smooth out and problems you might have.

    2. To get into the business, become very very good at the basics.

    3. Doing the bottom level work, such as collecting HS Box Scores, is somewhat of an extended interview for a long-term job.

  10.   joe Says:

    Three thing I learned

    1) Writing sports feature stories are more interesting then writing about a sporting event.

    2) Writers have more access to high school athletes, whereas with pro athletes, a team will only allow the media to have access to players they(the team) select.

    3) Tragedies are usually the best stories to cover because they unveil basic human emotions that are usually not delved into in a feel-good story.

  11.   Colin Fitzgerald Says:

    Colin Fitzgerald
    Three things I learned from Alan Goldenbach:

    1. Covering prep sports allows you more access to the coaches and players. When writing a feature, this allows for an easy access one-on-one interview.

    2. Networking is very important to succeed in journalism.

    3. Try to find an angle to give your story something that other writers don’t have, make it unique.

  12.   Diana Friedman Says:

    Diana Friedman

    Three things that stuck with me from Alan Goldenbach are:

    1. Who you know is very important. Working hard is required either way, but sometimes it really isn’t enough.

    2. Covering high school sports sets you up automatically with the ability to be unique by sheer volume; there are less people covering the games.

    3. There is never a limit to how many people you should talk to. You never know what angle your story might take on, or what might become important.

  13.   Ben Libby Says:

    Three things I took away from Alan Goldenbach’s visit:

    1. The key to being successful in the field of sports journalism is being able to decipher between good and bad information.

    2. When writing a game report or story, acting like a businessman trying to sell a product in the 1st paragraph only help readers stay attached to your story.

    3. Covering high school sports provides reporters with a platform different than professional and collegiate sports due to the accessibility in speaking to athletes, coaches, and even family members.

  14.   Fox Parker Says:

    Three Things I learned from Alan Goldenbach:

    1) That High School sports allows a sports writer to be unique and stand out.

    2) It is important to go back and look at your writing and to always strive to improve your writing

    3) When writing a story about a star athlete it is vital to find something about that person that makes he or she relatable.

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