We recently shocked Detroit News colleague Bob Wojnowski with a surprise 50th birthday party in Ferndale. Trust me when I say that Wojo was taken by surprise and very pleased. Fox 2′s Jennifer “The Hammer” Hammond and The Angel of the Big House Angelique Chengelis pulled it off.
There was a theme to the evening that seemed to hit home. The people in radio, television and print were not simply co-workers to Wojo. They were his family. Sometimes we fight and bicker. We spread gossip and become angry. But people in this profession are family.
Sometimes we are all we’ve got.
We’ve all been hated by the public at some point. It usually happens after we report a controversial story or give an opinion that brings a negative light to one of the sports teams or schools. It does not matter if the report is true, the public often wants to shoot the messenger and defend their team.
I’ve often said if I get into a debate with a member of the Detroit Lions or University of Michigan football I will lose it every time in the court of public opinion. The public wants to believe its sports heroes before it believes us.
We in the media understand that and often I’ve received phone calls from media members supporting me for a story or a tough opinion. They simply say to hang in there. We are family.
The stakes are bigger now because many of us have grown from ink stained scribes to mini celebrities. Most of that is good because I enjoy talking to people and getting to know them. Ninety five percent of people are decent when they meet you.
Then there are others who are not so nice. I’ve gotten emails over the years from a few people who say their main goal is to see me get fired at The Detroit News and on radio at 971 The Ticket. They hate me because I suck as a columnist and I stink on radio.
One guy wrote: “I can’t wait to see your (bleep) children and (bleep) wife homeless in the streets with their dead beat dad.”
I don’t know why this person was so angry. Maybe I wrote that the Lions would not make the playoffs.
Many in the public do not believe me when I tell these stories. People in the business do. They get the same threats and angry emails. They understand because we are in a business that most people do not understand. But mostly they understand because they are family.
And family understands you even during times when it does not get along.