What An Opportunity

Fighting fanhood as a journalist

In Sports on September 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I have a problem.

Sports are my passion. I was enthralled with the mere sight of a ball as an infant, and the love affair has been constant since.

The problem is not that I love sports – in fact, that’s a great thing, in my opinion. The problem is that most people who love sports are fans; I am, admittedly, a fan – I am also a journalist.

That is a clear conflict of interest.

I always need to be cautious of what I post on social media. No Facebook pictures tailgating at Buffalo Bills games; no tweets stating my allegiance to the Buffalo Sabres.

Truth be told, I was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y. It’s hard to not love the sports teams here, and I suspect many of the local sportswriters who grew up in Western New York face the same quandary.

With that in mind, I have covered both pro teams here, as well as the Buffalo Bisons and University at Buffalo, quite a bit. I have written many stories, and I’d like to think I have maintained objectivity.

People often ask me how to do that. How do you hide your fanhood, or not cheer in the press box, or not turn into a fan boy when you interview some of the best players?

The answer: It’s an acquired skill, but reporting on a game is a different world. When you’re a journalist, objectivity is everything. When I’m working for a publication that trusts me to be an objective journalist, you had better believe I’m going to honor that faith.

I’m also one of the youngest, if not the youngest, reporters covering every game I attend; I want to prove to the long-time professionals that I belong.

I can still enjoy watching Bills games on TV with my friends, but it’s an entirely different scenario if I’m covering one. I won’t be rooting, and you won’t see any fan-like opinions in my stories.

Your readers trust you to give the full story. You can’t do that if you’re partial to one team.

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