We The Journalists: Dave Hyde
Dave Hyde has been a Sun Sentinel columnist for more than 20 years. He’s won 14 awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors’ annual contest, including top investigative story and five second-place finishes in column and feature writing. His work has been featured in the annual “Best American Sports Writing” and he is the author of four books, including, “Undefeated: The Inside Story of the 1972 Miami Dolphins” and “1968: The Year that Saved Ohio State Football.”
By Ryan Cortes
Dave Hyde’s columns in the Sun Sentinel for the last 20 years have talked about everything from the Miami Dolphins to Lance Armstrong to high school football. The award-winning columnist has had on opinion on just about everything – in other words. We talked with Hyde to find out more about what it takes to win Associated Press Sports Editors awards — 14 times. You can check out his work here, and you can follow him on Twitter here.
SPJ South Florida: What’s one part of your job that most people don’t realize you have to do? The least glamorous part?
Dave Hyde: The part of the job no one understands consists of staring at a blank computer screen, with the cursor blinking, deciding what to type. I remember, years ago, Bob Rubin of the Herald figuring out what you want to say is half the job. And that’s true for me… The least glamorous part is simply waiting, and waiting some days, for a player or coach you need to talk with. And knowing they might not want to talk. And understanding why they might not want to talk. At best, that can be boring. At worst, belittling.
What’s your career highlight and lowlight?
I’ve never categorized them. Highlight would have to be, at a Super Bowl, winning APSE award for investigation, five second-place finishes for column or feature writing, or being picked in the Best American Sports Writing Anthology.
Lowlight? Sprinting on deadline to where the East Boynton Beach Little League players were after they lost their Little League World Championship game in Williamsport, Pa., to get a quote, and being told, by a guard, they didn’t want to comment. Getting no-comment, on deadline, by a 12-year-old, with sweat dripping down my face.
Most frustrating part of your job now? Most fun part?
Most frustrating part always has been when the words don’t come. Fun? Doing something I enjoy, seeing the world, getting to observe and ask questions of people at the top of their profession.
Give us your weird dues-paying gig you had to go through to arrive where you are now.
I interviewed out of college at the Rochester Times-Union. They sent me to a high-school softball game as a test. I wrote what I considered a good story. There was just one problem. I misspelled the star player’s name throughout the story. Needless to say, I ended up working in Iowa City for $250 a week for a couple of years. Turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.
If you had to do your career all over again, anything you’d do differently? Biggest regret?
I should have had the vision to see the possibilities in other media. I remember doing a radio show when WQAM was starting, and giving it no time or preparation. I returned from a Super Bowl, drove from the airport to the radio station and jotted down a few thoughts. I was done with those thoughts five minutes into the show. Longest two hours of my life. And I never applied myself at a time I could have to that media.
One piece of advice you wish you could surgically implant into college students and young professionals aspiring to a media career?
Be yourself. And trust that’s enough.
The future of newspapers as you see it?
My hope is that newspapers will level out and have a place for a while. Obviously, at some point, they’ll fade to the point where online content will be prevalent. There always will be a place for writing. The question is what the value of that writing is.
Most memorable phone call of your life?
Getting a call from my wife at an arena football game to come home, the baby is ready. Nothing to do with an athlete or interview. But then, very few of them have been memorable anyhow.
Throughout March, April, May and June, SPJ South Florida Pro will feature Q&As every Friday with South Florida’s most prominent journalists. Want to see someone featured? Want to join SPJ? Email us.
Ryan Cortes is the student board member for SPJ South Florida Pro. Follow him on Twitter.