Brett Haber Adds "Newspaper Columnist" to Resume
If "TV sportscaster begins writing print newspaper column" doesn't qualify as man bites dog news, I'm not sure what does.
Since I started at The Post, Wilbon and Kornheiser got a TV show, Ivan Carter left his newspaper job to host a TV show, Rachel Nichols and Howard Bryant and Mark Schlabach began regularly appearing on TV as part of their new jobs, and Jason La Canfora left his newspaper job to join a TV network. Hell, I even tried (and failed) to be a TV star.
And sure, all of these people have continued to write (well, most of them, anyhow), but the directional drift from newsprint to bright lights seemed pretty clear.
And then WUSA's Brett Haber announced today that he would begin writing a monthly column for USA Today's print edition. Talk about thinking outside the box. (The news was also on DCRTV a few days ago.)
"Listen, I'm trying to defy the convention that TV heads are kind of patently unintellectual, can't write, are one-dimensional," Haber explained Tuesday morning. "It's something that's always bothered me about this business. I think there are some people on TV who write extraordinary well. I don't know that I'm one of them, but I certainly aspire to be one of them.
"I was mentored by people I really respect as phenomenal writers--Keith Olbermann chief among them. It's not that I want to give up my TV gig, ever. But for a long time I've been looking for an outlet to do the reverse, to kind of illustrate that I can write and to have a place I can flex that muscle in increments longer than 15 seconds."
And with USA Today and WUSA being Gannett siblings, this turned into the natural place. Haber's columns will appear Wednesdays on Page 3 of sports, part of the "Keeping Score" rotation that also includes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press, Peter Kerasotis of Florida Today, and Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic. All print people, you might notice, turning in 800 words a pop.
"Aside from the fact that I love [writing], whatever success I've had has always been pegged to my ability to write," Haber said. "I know the print industry is supposedly not a place you want to be, but the more you can diversify yourself and the more you can make yourself valuable in an industry, the better your chances are of having longevity and success."
And of course, Haber's written for other media before; for his WUSA blog, for the defunct Swing magazine, and for an early incarnation of ESPN the Magazine. His first print column is about Serena Williams not being ranked first in the world despite holding three Grand Slam titles; he's been told to keep his focus national, although he could use D.C. examples to make larger points. And while being on TV remains his focus, he'll now get to experience the wonderful print reporter sensation of sitting on a Metro train and watching someone glancing over your copy, before deciding instead to read the comics.
(Just joking, Brett. Though that's actually happened to me.)
"It's funny, because I kind of stopped getting nervous on TV a while ago, but I think I probably will be nervous," Haber said. "It's your picture and your name above 800 words that people can criticize. I'm excited about it, I'm curious to hear people's feedback, I'm a little nervous, but I hope that I'm right, that I can do this. And if I can, then I think it's meaningful to me, to kind of illustrate that we're not all a bunch of dumb guys."
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