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

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