Thoughts on Deford’s talk

Administration Reporter Krista Torralva interviewed the legendary Frank Deford when he was on campus last week. She wanted to share these thoughts, gleaned from her one-on-one with him by phone.

“For those of you who attended the Frank Deford lecture, or read my stories, you know how Deford feels about sports in America. But he didn’t talk about journalism very much.

In my phone conversation with him prior to his lecture, I was fortunate enough to pick his brain about more than sports – and some things he said were surprising, at least to me.

We spoke about the direction journalism is headed in. Deford told me he wished he knew the answer to where journalism was headed, but is concerned about one aspect of journalism – investigative journalism.

“I worry who is going to pay for the expensive stuff – the long, expensive, investigative pieces, the enterprise journalism. The work that matters more than anything else and justifies the whole experience as journalists,” he said.

I asked Deford if he was starting his career today, would he would still go into sports journalism. He really was not sure, he said, but he praised investigative journalists and expressed interest in what they do.

Investigative stories take a lot of time and work. No one is going to hand you a story about the corrupt city council or police officers, Deford said. So you have to look for it. You can dig and dig and end up finding nothing, he said.

In addition, it is expensive for newspapers to keep strictly investigative reporters. They are not pumping out stories as quickly as daily reporters, so when newsrooms have to make cuts, the investigative reporters are the first to go.

“I fear who is going to look out for us,” Deford said. ”

Thanks, Krista! I’m curious what others learned from Deford last week, or what you think about these comments.

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One thought on “Thoughts on Deford’s talk

  1. Personally, I am worried about investigative work falling by the wayside – but I mean that type of journalism done on a daily basis. Major projects that Deford mentions here are incredibly important, but I think reporters and editors at any level news organization forget the watchdog role they take on. If we are only watching for the big projects, what happens to the daily story that requires as much critical thinking and reporting?

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