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Sportswriters

Robot typing
Summer 2017

Robowriters

Subject. Verb. Object.

These are the basic building blocks of written communication. It’s what you need to make a complete sentence like the one you’re reading now.

Structured. Logical. Direct.

This also is why parts of my chosen career are ripe for takeover by robots.

For millions of Americans, the defining realization of how fast artificial intelligence is evolving came in 2011 when Watson — IBM’s now-celebrated language processing computer — won the popular TV quiz show Jeopardy by beating two of the game’s top champions.

I watched with fascination as well. But, for me, the point was driven home even harder a few years … » More …

John McCallum
Spring 2017

Writing pools, movie stars

The New York Yankees were establishing their dominance over America’s favorite pastime. The Golden Era of Hollywood was in full swing. And a nation recovering from the sacrifices of World War II had begun to heal and find itself.

It was a world of big cars and even bigger personalities. A world that sportswriter John D. McCallum, a U.S. Army veteran and former pro baseball player, found he could navigate with surprising ease.

McCallum resumed his English and journalism studies at Washington State after returning from the war, and briefly played for the Portland Beavers in 1947. But it was after he hung up his … » More …

John McCallum in his own words
Spring 2017

John McCallum in his own words

To immerse himself in the lives of those he wrote about, John McCallum would spend extraordinary amounts of time with them, their friends and their families. He collected numerous tidbits and observations along the way, many of which he shared in his 1969 autobiography, Going Their Way.

Here are a few excerpts:

 

On the miserly nature of Ty Cobb

The notoriously mean-spirited and confrontational baseball legend had invested his earnings wisely and was still worth millions of dollars nearly three decades after retiring, which is when McCallum began profiling Cobb for the first of two books he’d write about the Detroit Tigers star. … » More …

Winter 2006

The sportswriter

If Janie McCauley were telling this story, she wouldn’t bury the lead. She’d say right away that she is the Associated Press’s 2006 Sports Writer of the Year.

 Add a little color, some solid quotes like, “I was surprised to get the award. There are so many good writers doing good stories all around the country,” and a few action words like “dwell,” “delve,” and “dive,” and that’s where many writers would stop.

But Janie looks for the story beneath the story. She dwells on details, delves into players’ personal interests, dives into their lives outside of the stadiums and ball parks.

As far back … » More …