At the last sports beat meeting at the Missourian, full of prestigious University of Missouri journalism students, some who may one day be some of the best in the world at what they do, we spent our time talking about how awesome a soccer player looks with his shirt off.
Greg Bowers always delivers a laugh to his reporters in one way or another. I like that, because the editor seems to dislike just about any multimedia idea about which I approach him. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m writing this fluffy post because I’m a little nervous about the beat meeting today, after an infographic I produced had an error in it.
Tip: even if someone with experience tells you something and they sound sure about it, double and triple check everything. Literally. Everything.
Last week in our beat meeting, the soccer reporter wondered if his in-the-works piece on an egotistical, well built player sometimes called “the bod” was too, shall we say, patronizing.
“Does he have a nice body?” Bowers asked
“In my totally objective, unbias—“ the reporter stammered
“Hey, I’m not questioning your sexuality. Just, y’know, does he…?” Bowers said
“I mean, yeah, yeah. I just feel like I’m promoting something sexual, or trashy.”
“I missed the sexual part,” Bowers said with some sarcastic alarm in his voice, “Is this sexual?”
“Well my lead is all about how he’s a Greek god.”
“He’s a real ripped guy, right? Like the most ripped body you’ve ever seen.” Bowers was smiling now.
“For a soccer player, yeah, he’s got a pretty nice body.” Everyone was smiling by this point
Bowers used the momentum to teach a lesson.
“The guy you’re describing to me sounds like he has a remarkable body and if you saw him you would recognize it right? It is who he is. You said he has an ego, he’s going to respond in a narcissistic, egotistical way. It’s our job to show people that, and the great thing about people with an ego is they usually recognize it and they’re comfortable with it.”
The talk led, not surprisingly, to a tangential discussion about the Jersey Shore. Even discussing a topic well entrenched within the adolescent realm, the editor taught us something no one else knew, or at least would admit to knowing.
“I watched a couple episodes of the Jersey Shore and I had no idea why that guy calls himself ‘The Situation.’ So I looked it up, and apparently he was out one night, and this girl was looking at his abs, her boyfriend walked up and ‘then we had a situation.’”
Everyone laughs, Bowers continues, “They argue; they get drunk; they have sex. That’s all the show is right?”
“Sounds like life” quipped a reporter.
Bowers scrunched his eyebrows and tucked in his chin, “sounds like life? Not my life.”
Biggest round of laughs on the day.
Whew. Okay. That was a therapeutic post. I’ll admit it; I’m nervous, and this made me feel better. T minus 3 hours to a beat meeting where I’ll either, A. be called out for a minor error on a graphic, B. be asked why I tried to talk to basketball coach Mike Anderson directly instead of navigating the, at times, ridiculous hierarchy of the media relations office, or C. be ignored completely, which might sting even worse.
Man. Love this reporter stuff.