When ESPN sports journo Scoop Jackson got an e-mail from a teenager in the Kansas City ‘burbs that the quality of his columns was declining, he got a little treat. It turns out an entire high school journalism class had spent a semester dissecting Jackson’s work:
A high school student hit me up, saying that he felt my work was slipping, that I was on the verge of falling off, that I “lost my swag,” that I wasn’t the writer that I used to be, that Jemele Hill was now his favorite columnist. I challenged the kid. E-mailed him back. Disagreed with not everything he said, just 99.9 percent of it. I asked if he worked for Deadspin. He didn’t get the joke. So I contacted one of the kid’s teachers, asking, “Who in the hell is this kid to think he can try to check me like that???” The teacher told me, “This kid knows you, it is you that doesn’t know him.” She told me she had others like him in her class. Several others in the school. She told me that they had spent a semester dissecting my work. Every story, every sentence, every misspelled word.
So Jackson did the natural thing and hopped a plane to meet with the students. It’s a great story (we find out about Jackson’s secret love for Roger Ebert) with some quality sportswriting talk and a good human interest angle. Read it.