To Hype Or Not To Hype, That's (Always) The Question

The New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin is not a story about HR. It’s a story about basketball. It’s a really phenomenal story about basketball and one that, unlike a lot of the bullshit stories about sports, is actually kind of special. There have been a lot of undrafted players who have gone on to have pretty nice careers (Ben Wallace most recently comes to mind). But given his position (point guards don’t get as many chances as big guys), the big stage of Madison Square Garden, and his race, it becomes a big story.

So if you are a sports journalist of any kind, you have to cover it. A bunch. Even if everyone else is writing about it, you still have to write it. You get to find different angles, explore different points of view. That’s part of the gig.

But what if you’re beat writer for a local paper? Or a tech blogger? Or a writer for a HR trade publication? How big does something have to be before you buy into the hype and incorporate something about a current event into a column?

That’s the question I struggled with as I wrote my pieces this week for TLNT. I’m a natural basketball fan so his first big night was on my radar immediately. And as his performance (and legend) grew, the temptation to write about it–or even just mention it–was strong.

So why didn’t I?

I had what I thought were better stories, more poignant to what I thought HR people needed to hear this week. I read some really great pieces about Lin, I thought about some different angles and didn’t think it was a good fit.

Maybe something will come up later that might make a good story that relates to Lin. But this time, the hype didn’t fit.

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