May 26, 2021

Survive the storm through preparation

Christian Ortega

I spent last night feeling as though I was walking through a hurricane.

I, and the rest of my colleagues, were in charge of covering the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox game. Tony La Russa was the hook, but there was so much more in a game that, until the middle innings, felt like a podcast describing paint drying.

Before, I thought I was comfortable writing gamers. I had experience writing them for my college newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator. But with ten minutes before the deadline, I had to chop 200 words. I didn’t even have a conclusion. I found sentences to whittle threw in an ending and prayed for the best.

We reconvened today to talk about what went right, what went wrong, and where we can improve.

My first lesson: I’m not as good as I think I am. Yet.

I thought a good gamer meant a detailed anecdote as a lede that flowed into the nut graph. Turns out I should keep it simple before I get fancy.

My second lesson: use my reporting to make my life easier. Strong verbs, a good anecdote, and the score were what I thought built a strong gamer.

Next time, I won’t start watching the game without having written as much background as possible. In the rush of trying to file by the deadline, I learned from Malcolm Moran that it’s an easy way to get through the mess and focus on watching the game.

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