May 28, 2021

Wilbon’s challenge: Tell good stories

Claire Kuwana

Michael Wilbon confirmed Wednesday what we know to be the foundation of good journalism: powerful, solid storytelling.

Wilbon’s perspective on analytics and how this newfound reliance on numbers has affected our profession reminded me that the basics of journalism are simple: Observe and report what you see, hear and feel at a game. 

"Observation should never go out of style -- that is what enables you to report," Wilbon said. 

As a young journalist, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers. With outlets like The Athletic transforming the type of sports writing we see, the industry appears to be moving away from typical game stories. Pressure mounts to understand and take advantage of all of the statistics. 

The importance of storytelling, however, will never go away. Wilbon stressed that this next generation of journalists needs to be able to paint a picture of a game -- without relying on just numbers to inform the reader.

I will keep this in mind as I go forward in my career and remind myself that what I was taught to do as a journalist, which is tell a story, remains the most important aspect.

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