Hass: Hack reflects on influence of sports journalism through library encounter

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 27, 2015 at 11:30 pm One Tuesday morning in February 2014, I woke up around 5:45 a.m., hopped in the shower and trudged from my dorm room to Bird Library. I went to bed past 12:30 a.m. the night before and was running on close to five hours of sleep. This wasn’t the norm, but it certainly happened here and there. It was my junior year, and I was covering Syracuse men’s basketball and working as an assistant sports editor at the time. I was living my dream. But as a result of that dream, The D.O. came first and schoolwork came second — sorry Mom and Dad, it just honestly did. The reason I got up so early to go to the library was to finish — OK, to start and finish — a Judaism paper due at 11 a.m. that day.Two-thirds asleep and one of a handful of equally miserable people in the library, I logged on to a computer and got to work. I started cranking away about God knows what (no pun intended). Words went onto the page. I finished the paper, handed it in and probably got a B or something. Before I finished, though, something pretty memorable happened. Michael Gbinije, a Syracuse basketball player, plopped down at a computer nearby with a tutor by his side. The paper could wait. I walked over and said hello.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSome athletes ignore the media. Others will give a polite hello and be on their way. Mike did something different, something that still sticks with me to this day. He turned to his tutor and smiled. “This is the kid who wrote the story about my brother,” he said, referring to me.His tutor looked at me. “That was a great story.”It really made me happy to know that not only did Mike read my story, but he liked it enough to share it with his tutor. That means A) everything was factually correct, and B) it really meant something to him and his family. The story is one of my favorites from my time with The D.O. In my opinion, many people peg journalists as people who want to screw sources over and only write negative stories. That’s really not who I am, not how I was raised and not why I became a journalist. I’m generally a pretty upbeat person; though I’m sarcastic, I’m not salty, cynical or curmudgeonly. If something comes up on my beat, I’ll do my best to break news and report whatever I need to report. I don’t mind writing negative pieces about people when necessary. Having said that, that’s not what makes journalism so special to me. I love sitting down with people and getting the true story — the story most people don’t know, and the story they deserve to know. When Mike indirectly complimented me that morning, it was reassuring to know that my work was being read. People really do care.Mike’s brother Brandon means the world to him, and the fact that I wrote that story meant a lot to Mike. Twenty years from now, I won’t remember the topic of that Judaism paper. Honestly, I don’t even remember what it was now. I will remember that interaction with Mike. It was one extremely quick conversation in a D.O. career filled with hundreds, but it may have carried the most purpose. One small interaction can change a person’s life, as can one small story.Working at The D.O. taught me that every word, every sentence, every nutgraf, every lede carries so much weight. A journalist has the power to make a difference, and that’s the beauty of the written word. Trevor Hass is a staff writer at The Daily Orange, where his column will no longer appear. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @TrevorHass.-30- Commentslast_img

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