Howl! Stick to the Basics, Stephen A. Smith.

In the interest of full disclosure, I live with a sportswriter. In fact, I live with a sportswriter who blogs and has his own column.

That said, I must tell him at least three times a week that I don’t think that what he does is necessarily an example of what I consider good journalism, and it’s mostly because he regularly commits the same sins that Stephen A. Smith commits in this column about Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson deciding to take some time off to deal with the illness of his daughter Messiah.

First of all, you don’t find out that the reason Iverson has left the team is due to his daughter until the next to the last paragraph in this column. I was always taught that when you’re writing anything, even if it is an opinion column, it is in your best interest to put the news peg high in the column in order to keep the reader from losing interest. Otherwise, you’re not giving me any real news. If I didn’t have a sportswriter in my home to tell me why Iverson is taking the time off,  and I had to rely on this column for that information, I’d have spent much of the column confused.

But Smith could have made this column make sense to me much earlier if he had just stuck to the premise that Iverson is leaving because he’s not the same player he used to be and that the Sixers are better off if he hadn’t added the daughter or her illness at all. There is such a thing as putting too much information into a piece, and Smith has managed to do that.

– Denise Clay

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