Saturday, March 22, 2008

Reliving My Newspaper Past: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

For those of you who don't know, back in the day -- before iPods and Tivo and when there was only one version of the Playstation -- I was a sportswriter; and a pretty damn good one, I might add.

Though I started pursuing other career interests in mid-2003 (because I decided that I actually wanted to have a life), I still worked at the L.A. Daily News on Friday nights during the high school football season; making easy money in the office, working on the desk I used to run.

The other night, two incidents occurred that reminded me of exactly why I left newspapers:

On high school football nights, pizza is often brought in for the sports staff. When the food arrived on this night, I opened up one box, which revealed a pizza covered in jalepenos.

"Who the fuck orders jalepenos on a pizza?" I asked.

(Writer's Note: You're allowed to say "fuck" in the newspaper business. In fact, it's practically a rule).

To which a fat sportswriter, who has been in the business for about 45 years and has absolutely no life whatsoever and is actually the embodiment of roughly 97 percent of male sportswriters today, rumbled over.

"I do!!" he declared, taking a slice of the jalapeno-laced concoction and wolfing 3/4 of it down in one bite. "Only real mean can handle the intensity."

And then he flexed.

Now, I for one have flexed my bicep a time or two (particularly my right one, which is decently developed). But the thing with this guy was that he was pushing 320 pounds and doesn't have a muscle to speak of. So when he "flexed," the lower part of his arm kind of hung down, like it was playdo that had been left out in the sun.

"Are you a real man?" the sportswriter asked.

I took one look at his sagging arm, and a gander at his prodigious gut.

"Nope," I replied, handing him the rest of the jalapeno pizza. "It's all yours."


Now even if you're not a sports fan, I'm sure all of you can understand that when covering a football game, the most basic piece of information needed is the final score. I mean...people want to know who won and lost. It's kind of the point of being at the event.

I've worked with some dumb fucks in my day, let me tell you, but even they knew, without being asked, that they had to get us the final tally.

On this night, however...

well, read the following (note: I was taking the guy's dictation of his story):

Nev: OK bud, what was the final score?

Writer: Oh, I don't know.


Nev: What do you mean you don't know?

Writer: Well, no one told me I was supposed to get the final score.


Nev: Dude, getting the final score is like....assumed. How can you write a story without knowing who won?

(no response)

Nev: Hello?

Writer: Um yeah....I'm calling in my story.


Writer: Oh, I don't know. No one told me to get it.

(pause, followed by a long sigh)

Nev: OK, are you still at the game?

Writer: Yeah.

Nev: Can you ask somebody the final score?

Writer: Um...yeah.


Nev: Can you ask them...right now?



Writer: OK, hold on.


Writer: Hello?

Nev: Yeah.

Writer: It was 14-13.

Nev: Who won?


Writer: Um...I don't know. Was I supposed to ask that too?

And people wonder why newspapers are dying.

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