Every year, around this time, I purchase the Best American Sports Writing anthology and go to town. I crack it open and find 25 of the year’s finest pieces of sports writing. I read them, learn from them, and get inspired by them.
While I work in television, I can honestly say I have been affected professionally by these annual collections of print journalism. I always walk away with various insights on how to connect as a storyteller, from structure to character development to perspective.
Beyond that, quite simply, I leave with a better understanding of the world. That is the inevitable result of reading 25 stories that make you ponder, wonder, and feel.
For me, the Best American Sports Writing series has always been special.
And for that reason, so is this podcast.
My guest: Glenn Stout, series editor of the Best American Sports Writing anthology.
He reads as many magazines and web sites as he can for potential nominees for his book. He pores through a large stack of articles submitted by the writers themselves. He narrows the field to 75 stories, which he hands to a different guest editor to select the final 25. He then starts the process again the following year.
In the process, Stout has received a front-row seat for the evolution of sports journalism. He has witnessed what he calls a “long-form renaissance”, and he now oversees the long-form department at the SB Nation web site.
He talks about all of this on the podcast, as well as his advice for young journalists on how to develop as writers and storytellers. Stout is full of perspective and, over the course of a half-hour, shares numerous insights that should intrigue any sports fan or sports journalist.
Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.