Writing 220: Repurposing, Ethan Wolfe

While I’ve enjoyed a number of my English classes at the University, my favorite writing has come from my position as a sports writer for The Michigan Daily. Maybe it’s because I’m voluntarily writing about something I have a passion for, but I still haven’t gotten sick of doing game recaps every single week.

One article in particular where I had the opportunity to flaunt my creativity was a feature article about one of the players on the women’s basketball team who is typically not involved in their games. For the story, I got to talk to her and her coach and paint a detailed picture of her basketball journey. While I was ultimately pleased with how the article turned out, I was confined by the limits of AP style, word count, the need to interview people, and having to cut some relevant information.

To repurpose this article, I am considering expanding it into either a collection of short stories or one fluid story about the benchwarmer in collegiate/professional sports. I know that it may be difficult considering I won’t be able to get actual quotations or perspectives from a bunch of different athletes, so I may have to construct a fictitious or anecdotal aspect to my repurposed article.

I want to repurpose it this way because I believe it reaches a wider audience who not only care about sports, but those who maybe aren’t as athletic or may have once found themselves in the same position that I hope to write about it (i.e. getting picked last). It also grants me another opportunity to expand further on a subject that I am fascinated in but doesn’t receive a lot of attention. Given the non-fictional nature of this piece, I know I encounter a number of obstacles, so I am eager to hear some suggestions to help point me in a clearer direction.

6 thoughts to “Writing 220: Repurposing, Ethan Wolfe”

  1. Hi Ethan! First of all, I can totally relate to the love for sports, so I’m excited to see how you take on this repurposing! If I were you, I would personally go with the one, fluid story about the benchwarmer. Like you said, you will be able to reach a large audience under this form, and I feel as though you could use most of the information you had from your interview of them woman basketball player as your “evidence” in your repurposing paper. That may be a bit more difficult if you try to do a collection of short stories because it would be solely fiction based on the idea of this one player. However, I am a bit confused on what you mean by a story of the benchwarmer. What perspective will you look at the benchwarmer from, inside or outside, and how will you apply the concept of the “benchwarmer” to everyone who doesn’t play sports? I am excited to see where you take this paper. Good luck with repurposing 🙂 – Casey

  2. Hi Ethan:

    What a great take on a journalistic article! I’m really excited to see where you take this.

    I agree with you in that you should stray from the nonfiction route. Going the fiction route seems very fitting here, especially since you felt limited by the interview process. I like the idea of a few short stories because it takes many perspectives into account and highlights the prevalence of the “benchwarmer” position. That doesn’t mean that you can’t show this same idea (which you seem to be interested in) through one fluid story! In regards to Casey’s comment- it’s all about which perspective you choose to write from. I do have one question: how do you plan to reach the portion of the audience that doesn’t care about sports? This piece would be about sports, even though it’s from the perspective of the bench. How can you make those readers care about something that they might not necessarily relate to?

    Your idea sounds really interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you repurpose this piece 🙂

    -Lauren W.

  3. Hey Ethan! I think your idea of changing this nonfiction piece into a more creative fiction piece is really interesting. I know what gets cut out at the Daily due to necessity of style and form (I’m on the copy staff so I get it) and I think it would be cool to come at this piece without any of those restrictions. I’m interested in the benchwarmer experience: do you think the experience of the basketball player you interviewed was unique to her, or was it typical of all those who find themselves frequently on the bench in collegiate sports? Or, for that matter, any level of sports at all? If it’s unique to her, then I would say the form that I as a reader would connect to most would be one short story. If you think there might be something to be said about the universality of the benchwarmer experience, I would encourage you to maybe consider a series of short stories, kind of like Lauren suggested. I think there’s merit in both approaches, and I can’t wait to see what you end up doing.

  4. Ethan,

    As an athlete and fan, I love the topic choice of sports journalism for your repurpose assignment. Furthermore, as a writer, I love this topic choice even more because you are now broadening its substance and reaching a new interested audience. I look forward to reading your end result! Very creative idea constructing a fictitious aspect to give your paper more life, enhancing the story. I read the Daily all the time, and while most articles are creative and reach a broad audience, they are indeed limited to a certain page, word, or character count. I want to see you break through this — copy the final draft from the Daily into a Word Doc and just start expanding! Maybe include the photographs (black and white or color) just like they may’ve appeared in the Daily to give your portfolio a genuine journalism feel. Quick question you may want to consider: What specific audiences are you looking to reach that you may not have before (Think beyond “non-athletes” — think “customer segmentation” from our annoying BA 200 class!) Excited to see your progress!

    All the best,

    Hudson

  5. Hey Ethan,

    I think this is a really good idea! One thing I would strongly recommend is to make these collections have “a purpose” to keep the audience engaged with different people/characters. I think writing about sports is a great idea, but in my opinion, it could be hard for a reader to actually pay attention or feel a true connection/emotion around the story if they realized that too much was ficticious (if you went the route of using fictitious info or anecdotes) – a problem I think that is unique to the subject of sports. If you, however, take the route of sticking with mostly non-fiction content, I think that it would be a great as long as you (again) give the writing purpose the audience can relate to. One specific idea that jumps out to me would be to take a slightly comedic/sarcastic approach. I think this has the potential to have a strong impact if the character can be both emotionally drained, yet comical – potentially demonstrating a conflict/side to whoever you write about.

    Overall I really look forward to hearing where you decide to go!

    Max

  6. Hi Ethan,

    The idea to turn your article into a story about “the benchwarmer” as opposed to one particular player is a great idea for your repurposing. You will still be able to include elements of your previous article while broadening your audience and that will make for a great piece. I think the ideas that others have suggested about incorporating comedy is a great idea for a topic about benchwarmers. Also, you might think about taking a sarcastic approach in trying to glorify the benchwarmer. In shows like “Blue Mountain State” it is the backup quarterback not the starting quarterback that takes centerstage as the main character. You might even want to debate something like “what sport is it best to be the backup in.” My friends and I once debated who has the easiest job in sports, and creating a debate about what sport is the best for bench warming could be an interesting angle for this piece. You should also consider incorporating the famous bench mobs from college baseball and basketball that have a huge impact on the fans and the game from the bench. Whichever way you go with this paper I am sure it will be very interesting and I look forward to reading it.

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