Sunday, August 05, 2007

David Haugh Longs to One Day Write Stories for a Rural Weekly

How else to explain Haugh's tendency to cling desperately to the softest angle he can find when turning in garbage like tonight's piece about Trumaine McBride.

What makes this piece especially galling is that there actually is a story about McBride that would be really interesting to read. Buried in John Mullin's tiny headlined piece about tonight's practice at Soldier Field is this little nugget:

"Cornerback Dante Wesley, signed by the Bears in 2006 from the Carolina Panthers, is headed elsewhere. He was made expendable by the rapid development of rookie Trumaine McBride. "Dante is not in our plans anymore," Smith said. "We're seeing what options there are out there for him."

Now, the last I'd read, it sounded like Wesley was having an extremely good camp. Whereas I can't remember hearing much about McBride before. The fact that Smith has apparently decided to trade Wesley really speaks to how well McBride must have been doing in camp so far. So if you also happen to be running an article about McBride, why not make it about how surprisingly well he's performed?

Mr. Haugh? "Because McBride is a stutterer!!! OMFGWTF!!! Who knew they even allow stutterers in the NFL?!! And, like, he has overcome his stuttering!!! To play in the NFL!!! While he stutters!!! Hoo-Doggy!!! This'll get me that Pulitzer for sure!!!"

It seems to me that, as compelling as McBride's stuttering may be, the way to do this article would be to make it about how McBride has been playing extremely well in camp. I mean, he was a seventh round pick that you wouldn't have been surprised to never hear about again, and he's playing so well that he's managed to already replace the guy in front of him—an entrenched backup who had been singled out multiple times over the last two years for performing exceedingly well in training camp. You throw in a few quotes from McBride about everything he's learned from the coaches, along with a few quotes from coaches about how surprisingly good he's looked, how he has picked up everything really fast. Then, to add a bit of the human angle to the story, throw in the interesting tidbit that McBride stutters, which, oh btw, is something he has in common with Adrian Peterson.

Instead, Haugh makes the stuttering the focus of the article. Every single quote in the article is about how McBride has had to overcome his stuttering. I counted only four sentences that mention McBride's football skills without also mentioning stuttering.

And how's this for unintentional irony: "As sensitive as Smith is to what McBride has overcome with his language, he doesn't want anybody to overlook how uncommon the statement he has made this early in his first NFL camp is either." Yeah. Congratulations, Haugh. You just did overlook that.

God I miss KC Johnson.

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