|Craig Stanke: 1955 - 2012|
Last fall when I began my perilous journey into the world of sports journalism, I started following certain writers and broadcasters on Twitter. These were people who I had seen on T.V., or were local writers. I knew who they were and was more than familiar with their work. Then, one of those people - Lisa Horne from Fox Sports - started making suggestions of folks that I should follow who I might not be so familiar with. One of the people she suggested was Craig Stanke.
One of the things that struck me about Stanke's Twitter profile was this phrase: "Craig Stanke is deputy managing editor at CBSSports.com and pays close attention to the writing staff". And brother, that was no lie. Every morning Craig would tweet the whereabouts of every single one of this writers, and what they were going to be reporting on that day. And I would watch (or troll, as it's called in the twitterverse) as those writers responded back to him with updates, or just friendly greetings.
It was apparent even from an outside point of view that Stanke had a relationship with those in his charge that you seldom see. It was witnessing that type of relationship that made me want to press on in what I was doing.
I started corresponding with Craig via Twitter in a casual way. Asking questions about certain stories, and often responding to his frequently tweeted "Real time song stuck in my head" updates. He was always kind enough to respond, and always with more than the typical two-word "who the heck are you" type response that you can sometimes get from a person in his position. He happily read and critiqued a couple of my stories, and was never taken aback by my enthusiasm.
His sense of humor was always present, and he was happy to give advice and mentor me, even though he barely knew who I was. I began looking forward to our brief but entertaining exchanges in the mornings.
I don't know when or if I'll get my first assignment at an established media outlet like CBS, but if that day ever happens, I only hope I'll have an editor as good, as kind, and as passionate as Craig Stanke.
(A tribute to Craig Stanke by one of his writers, Gregg Doyel)