Listen to Your Mother…Don’t Jump to Conclusions!

As a journalist you are taught to be skeptical. You have to take everything at face value, always ask questions, and be a watchdog for the public. Journalists are the eyes and ears for the public. We break up ponzi schemes and bring down criminals, but sometimes journalists forget they are human beings. We have to stay at a distance from a story, (which I agree with) but why can’t we appreciate the stories we tell?

Over the past decade, baseball has been tainted by one thing…steroids. Steroids have created a black cloud over the sport. Some of the brightest stars have been caught using them, from Roger Clemens to Barry Bonds to Mark McGwire to Alex Rodriguez. And when the biggest names in a sport, the people that fans truly idolize, are discovered (or at least perceived) to be  ‘cheaters,’ fans lose faith. Furthermore, when these ‘cheaters’ are cheating at something so American as baseball, America’s pastime, it’s easy to understand how fans are devastates when evidence comes out against their hero; the person that was never suppose to let them down.

Whether players take the drugs because they are greedy or to satisfy their egos, it doesn’t matter. Professional athletes are looked at as more than humans, they are perceived as super humans. They are put on a pedestal. However, when several start to fall off the stage, many people become skeptical of every person put on the pedestal.  But, what happens when you find someone who truly deserves to be there? What happens when arguably the greatest player of all-time is standing before us? Do we as people let him stay there? Can we place him there, with all of the controversy still hovering around the sport?

What about us, as journalists? Should we just pretend like the past decade never happened? Or should we just assume he’s like the rest of ‘them?’

Well, that’s the issue in baseball today. And the player is…Albert Pujols.

60 minutes recently did a segment on Pujols, not only as a player on the field, but off as well. It was called “The Incredible Albert Pujols.

Journalistically:

One great thing about this piece that I really enjoy is the different angles Bob Simon takes to look at Pujols. Everything from the prom for kids with down syndrome to the high school days in Kansas City. But, nothing tops some of the questions Simon asks his interviewees.

Simon elicits emotion from people. He is able to get the viewer to feel something. But, what he did great was the people he interviewed.

1. Family – The interviews with his family was a given.

2. Peter Gammons – It was an excellent idea to have an authority figure place him in the context of baseball history.

3. Lance Berkman – I liked how they interviewed a teammate, but Berkman has only been in St. Louis one year. Maybe they could have found someone who knows him a little better.

4. Kid in Houston – This was a no-brainer once the story was brought up.

5. Kids with down syndrome – Again, this was another obvious interview.

Visually:

Visually, there were great moments in the piece that showed exactly what was told in the piece. However, a couple things bugged me a little bit about the photography.

1. The interview framing of Albert Pujols throughout the piece and Peter Gammons on the field – His forehead was cut off. I thought it was just slightly too tight.

2. Bob Simon interviewing on the field – There were a couple of instances of jump cuts. They had his arm down on his side with his neck down, then reverse the angle, and have his arm over his lap with his head in the air nodding.

Final Thoughts:

The best journalists are the ones that can ask the tough questions, report the most important facts and figures, along with being the human being that people go to for help when they are in need.

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