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Heads full of ideas

14 April 2014

There are no bad ideas, Lemon. Only great ideas that go horribly wrong.
-Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock

That philosophy is one of the guiding principles for us when it comes to pitching story ideas. Oh sure, there are some ideas that are perhaps more practical than others. As much as we’d love to do an in-depth story about the preparations for this year’s World Cup in Brazil, we don’t really have the budget for that.

But as sports journalists, the feasibility of our stories are subject to more than just budgetary concerns and sometimes we are victims of circumstances beyond our control.

Mitch had a fantastic idea about a profile piece on Diamondback’s pitcher and Northwestern graduate Bo Schultz’s “homecoming” when the Diamondbacks play against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. It’d be a hometown kid makes good sort of piece and would talk about Schultz’s long climb up from the minors all the way to the majors and the mound at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks sent Schultz to their AAA team in Reno after he threw one inning against the Dodgers in Australia for the opening series. So that kind of put the kibosh on that idea.

Brian came up with another great idea about following up on NCAA athletes after they leave school and don’t find the success they dreamed of in the pros. The problem he encountered is finding the right face for the story and then the time to craft the story properly.

Lorenzo wanted to track high school basketball recruits from Illinois who go to schools out of state and what prompted them to leave. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that schools such as DePaul and the University of Illinois were national powerhouses instead of also-rans. The problem he encountered wasn’t just access but how do you take something that is somewhat esoteric and then turn it into a concrete video piece. Well, not literally concrete.

Of course, not every idea pans out but we’re not exactly 0-fer when it comes to executing story ideas.

I am preparing for a story about the dreams of baseball players in the independent league and guys working hard just to get on a team there. Karen is tracking the long road baseball players take from A-ball in the Midwest League to the majors. Nikitta is working on a series of stories about how sports can knock down barriers and offer athletes new opportunities.

We all have good ideas that we’re working on. The trick is the execution.