Married in the field of Journalism
IT’S PRETTY common for journalists to date and marry other journalists. Look around any newsroom and you’ll find current (and former) couples all over the place. According to one analysis of 2012 census data, 11% of Americans who work in arts, design, entertainment, sports or media are married to someone who also works in those fields.
Daniel Brown and Susan Slusser, both sports writers in the San Francisco Bay area, are part of that 11%. This week, Brown, who works for the Bay Area News Group, which includes San Jose’s Mercury News, wrote a delightful column about what it’s like to be married to the competition. His wife covers the Oakland A’s for the San Francisco Chronicle, while Brown’s territory is the 49ers and the Giants. But sometimes they overlap.
Brown describes Slusser as having a “reputation as one of the game’s most diligent and trusted insiders”, which “would be lovely, except sometimes, because of the nature of our jobs at competing Bay Area outlets, we are forced to wage war against each other. It’s husband vs wife, mano-a-womano, vying for the same news. It makes for terrible date nights”.
Brown goes on to describe how his wife often beats him on scoops, or manages to get the better quote. Except for one story last year, where Slusser broke the news of a trade, but Brown ended up on a flight with Billy Beane, the executive vice president of the idea of being the subject of a column, but said she would leave the decision up to her boss. She thought he would veto it, but he “absolutely loved it”, Slusser says.
“It’s all pretty accurate,” Slusser says of the column.
Her only niggle? “I do think he exaggerates our dishwasher issues.”
Even though they cover different teams, and Brown’s publication has a full-time A’s writer, “he does wind up at the A’s a little more than I like”, Slusser says, “as it does present ethical challenges”. For example, while other pairs of writers might workshop their stories together, Slusser and Brown don’t because they work for competing outlets.
What’s the secret to being competitors? For starters,
Slusser says her husband “has virtually no ego”. And they do have different specialities; he’s a feature writer, meaning he’s writer first, reporter second, Slusser says, while she’s the opposite.
“We get along really well, period,” Slusser adds. “I think more often than not, it helps relationships when your jobs are similar. You understand the schedules, the demands and challenges.”
– The Washington Post
A heart-warming tale of married journalists who compete for scoops – but are still a team