How Bob Woodward discouraged John Feinstein from sports writing
The Duke Chronicle profiles alumnus John Feinstein:
In the 1970s, a young reporter, new to the newsroom of The Washington Post, caught the eye of the paper’s most celebrated journalist. He had watched the young reporter snag five bylines in a Sunday issue as an intern and break a story about the Washington Diplomats, a soccer club, firing their coach. A year later, he had watched the rookie cover the Prince George’s county court system, delivering some of the nation’s best trial coverage on a 15-year-old boy who killed two police officers. The young writer wrote “long, perfect stories with perfect pitch” while covering the incident, the celebrated journalist noted. He gave the reader the relevant facts and added in just the right amount of courtroom color. Most impressively, he did this all on deadline.
Now, this young reporter, John Feinstein, wanted to become a full-time sports writer. The celebrated journalist, Bob Woodward, was stunned. Woodward actively encouraged Feinstein to not go into such a silly thing as sports journalism.
“You have a chance to do something in this business,” Woodward warned. “You’ll never be heard from again.”
“And he said, ‘Fuck you. This is what I want to do, this is what I am,’” recounts Woodward, laughing.