Gannett’s Taylor Swift reporter disrespects sports activities journalists

Being a 35-year-old grown man who’s obsessive about a pop star who makes songs for pre-teens and sorority ladies is one factor. And getting employed to cowl her partly due to your obsession sort of is sensible. However, describing your strategy to overlaying Taylor Swift to how skilled sports activities journalists do their jobs isn’t simply insulting, it’s proof that Bryan West’s reporting is not going to solely be biased however a disservice to readers.

The issue with the brand new Taylor Swift reporter

The issue with the brand new Taylor Swift reporter

Gannett’s resolution to rent West as their inaugural Taylor Swift reporter for The Tennessean and USA TODAY Community has prompted fairly an uproar, leaving journalists outraged, or at the very least curious as to how this may play out.

I’m not mad on the transfer. The nation’s greatest newspaper chain having a “beat reporter” to cowl one of many nation’s greatest musicians within the metropolis the place she obtained her begin is way from the wildest factor I’ve seen occur on this trade, particularly at a time like this. As a consequence of her relationship with Kansas Metropolis Chiefs star Travis Kelce — and coming off a tour the place it was estimated she would make $4.1 billion — Swift is in all places proper now. In response to NBC, due to Swift, the Chiefs’ Week 4 Sunday Evening Soccer win over the New York Jets was probably the most watched Sunday present because the Tremendous Bowl in February.

Once more, the issue isn’t Gannett’s resolution. It’s the choice that West made when he opened his mouth.

“I’d say this place’s no completely different than being a sports activities journalist who’s a fan of the house workforce,” West informed Selection. “I simply got here from Phoenix, and all the anchors there have been carrying Diamondbacks gear; they need the Diamondbacks to win. I’m only a fan of Taylor and I’ve adopted her her entire profession, however I even have that journalistic background: going to Northwestern, successful awards, working in newsrooms throughout the nation. I believe that’s the enjoyable of this job is that, yeah, you possibly can speak Easter eggs, however it actually is extra of the seriousness, just like the affect that she has on society and enterprise and music.”

That is the sort of stuff that infuriates sports activities writers — the age-old view by others within the newsroom that the sports activities desk is the child’s division of the publication. Right here’s a secret, sports activities writers are all the time the calmest on Election Evening watching everybody else lose their minds within the newsroom, as writing on a good deadline in a high-stress atmosphere is our norm. Sports activities journalists are additionally the one ones who can assist out on different desks. We are able to do extra than simply sports activities, different reporters suck at any time when they’re requested to assist out — the information facet has no concept tips on how to do a boxscore. Additionally, when sports activities and politics eternally merged in 2016 resulting from Trump and Colin Kaepernick, it was sports activities that was main the nation’s conversations, and have been ever since.

Moreover, West’s quote exhibits that he didn’t study a factor at Northwestern — which isn’t surprising provided that their athletic division is the only motive they’ve been nationwide information this 12 months. In case you didn’t know, native TV anchors are presupposed to be champions of the communities they serve. So sure, whereas being unbiased is a part of their job, they’re additionally there to advertise the constructive issues that occur domestically — just like the unlikely Arizona Diamondbacks making it to the World Sequence.

These are the issues that professionals who work in sports activities journalism, and journalism as a complete, perceive. But, West doesn’t seem to have a clue to how issues work, regardless of the resume he gloated about.

“This isn’t a conventional ‘we’re going to write down three print tales every week and draw a paycheck’ sort of beat. He’s going to be on video, going to be on social, going to be interacting with Swifties, and going to be out and about at tour stops, on pink carpets, on the CMAs, wherever individuals are having fun with or reflecting on who Taylor Swift is,” stated Tennessean information director, Ben Goad, about West’s position. “There’s no scarcity of issues to write down. You understand, it’s not unprecedented to have someone (devoted to overlaying) somebody who’s a Senate candidate, or an athlete, like when LeBron James goes to Miami and has folks simply overlaying him. So I believe there’s precedent for it. But in addition, I believe, we’re taking a reasonably daring step right here, and I’m very optimistic for the way it’s going to prove.”

Goad is true. In sports activities, ESPN has had completely different reporters following LeBron James throughout his profession, as his tenure with the Miami Warmth had a number of publications overlaying the beat with a distinct degree of depth. Nonetheless, none of these journalists have been doing interviews with “the media” bragging about being fanboys of James. They merely lined an athlete who’s the face of the NBA, regardless of if it was documenting the issues he did effectively — on and off the courtroom — and the issues he didn’t accomplish that effectively — on and off the courtroom.

However wait, there’s extra.

Gannett is supposedly nonetheless on the hunt for somebody to cowl Beyoncé.

“A reporter to chronicle the music, style, cultural and financial affect of Beyoncé,” reads the itemizing. “The worldwide celebrity and icon’s affect is felt throughout generations. She has been a drive in the whole lot from how the nation views race to how girls take into consideration their companions. We’re on the lookout for an lively and enterprising author, able to a textual content and video-forward strategy, who can seize Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s impact not solely on the various industries by which she operates, but in addition on society.”

Taylor Swift and Beyoncé have reached factors of their careers to the place their affect has outgrown music. This nation’s largest newspaper chain having reporters cowl these girls because the manufacturers and companies they’ve developed into is sensible. However with that comes the accountability of doing it the proper manner. Bryan West has already proven us that he isn’t to be taken severely in the way in which he’ll cowl Swift. So, right here’s to Gannett getting it proper with Beyoncé. Hiring a Black lady can be an excellent first begin.

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