If you regularly read the Herald sports pages, you’ll be well acquainted with the excellence of journalists like Dana Johannsen (now over at ‘Stuff’) and Dylan Cleaver. And they’ve just taken a good haul of gongs from the annual T.P. (Terence Power) McLean Awards, to boot. Truth is, there are an absolute host of others who’d be more than worthy over there, too. It’s very far from a closed shop of just two.
For instance, I think Patrick McKendry of the same crew deserves a decent mention. His work in covering the Joesph Parker-Anthony Joshua boxing match in the UK during our autumn was top class. It sticks out in my mind as excellent; he perfectly conveyed the sense and magnitude of the event in both the the build-up and the aftermath. With some skill he also dug deep to uncover all associated pressures of the bout, as well as successfully portraying the human face to the whole circus-like occasion. ‘Thanks, Patrick Mc’, for such a clever overall effort during the time covering Parker-Joshua. It was a stand-out in sports writing this year.
It’s not just on the reporting side the Herald sports writers have been shining. The opinion writing has been better of late than I can just about remember. And a lot of it is down to the recent columns of Gregor Paul. I’ll freely admit to thinking he’d lost his edge on a few occasions earlier in the year, but is he back on form now, or what? Guess it’s the old adage of ‘Form is temporary etc..’.
Gregor wrote the following on the All Blacks a few weeks back– it was a good analytical read and thought-provoking. It’s kind of what Phil Gifford was aiming for with that diatribe of his a few weeks back; only problem being that his arrow flew off with a good deal of vitriol behind it, missed the target completely and hit the back fence. Gregor’s on the other hand shot through with humour and analysis and was pretty close to the bullseye. And D’Arcy Waldegrave referred to it more than once such via social media and on Radio Sport. And you can be sure it isn’t Waldegrave’s style to hand out a compliment just for the sake of it; never mind they both work for NZME:
Then last Friday GP nailed it again- on this occasion it was a column on the St Kentigern College recruitment drive. The article had points in it that had yet to be raised in other media or possibly even via social media- admittedly it was still early on in the saga, but still, the points are made superbly well:
Pretty much that whole Herald sports team of reporters loses nothing in comparison with some of the top scribes in Britain- the likes of Barney Ronay, Henry Winter, Elizabeth Ammon, and the now-retired James Lawton. That lot and others in the UK have consistently been scarily good for ages, but I’m of the mind that the Herald sports people are more or less on a par nowadays. Let’s not bring any cultural snobbery into the argument, either. Delve into some comparisons and you’ll discover the standard is pretty top-class up and down parts of this country just now.
In fact, in the case of the Herald, thank goodness. Because sometimes their News section has been inferior. Yes, the news content is frequently market, advertising and social media-driven, but even so. Thankfully things have gotten slightly better over at the News desk the past few months. However, compared to the skill of the Sports (and Business) writing teams, a noticeable chasm still exists. The selected front page of the whole paper is almost laughable on occasion (it’s at times something akin to: A local socialite has a drinking problem- yay, good for them).
Looking forward to a continuing very good standard from the Herald sports reporting team in 2019 and beyond. Great kudos to them. This second half year in particular has been truly excellent. And trust me, I will never write a compliment easily. And in relation to that- Come on, Herald News department- time for you to up the game as well.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul M)