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Interview to Aleks Vee

RM Interviewer


This is my Q&A to Aleks Vee - experienced New York City based journalist; she formerly wrote for FourFourTwo, was featured on SB Nation, worked for FC Dynamo Moscow and the New York Cosmos; she currently operate the Goalchatter soccer blog or radio show, that she started. 

What is the name to the magazine/newspaper/journal that inspired you to create goalchatter, putting journalism back in sports journalism? And, did said publication inspire you to reach toward a higher quality above it or stay away from a lower quality under it? 
There wasn't a particular paper that inspired the project. GoalChatter started out as a weekly radio show at my college radio station. I then had a blog that served as a complement to the show. After awhile, my background as a writer caught up with my growing interest in sports - soccer in particular - and the blog evolved to what it is today.

Please define what characteristics make the best text article? 
The best article is one that is written from the heart of the writer. It's honest, and also shows that the writer did his/her research. For me, a great article pays attention to both the creative and technical aspects of writing. It states something beyond the obvious, brings up interesting questions and provides the writer's unique take on things, hopefully without grammatical errors. 

Name the article ,from a sports journalist, you like the best?  If said article is not from a female sports journalist, please name the best article from a female journalist(you can name one of your own)? 
There are a few quality writers I follow. It's tough picking out one article, but I'd have to go with "Come For the Beer and Stay For the Football" from the blog Two Men In Search of The Beautiful Game. That particular article spurred my interest in English football outside the Premier League. As a female journalist, I quite like a piece I did called "Chomsky, Football and Feminism".

What factor(s) separate audio side text based journalism? 
There are many similarities; it's almost like asking what separates drawings from paintings. They're two different formats with the same goal - that of telling a story. Text-based journalism is perhaps more accessible than audio. Some podcasts can only be downloaded through iTunes. If the audio is in another language, you can't translate it on the go, as you can with text.  

What characteristics make the best audio journalism, that text does not have?
The quality of the audio and good diction.  

Name the audio interview/blog/essay, from a sports journalist, you like the best? If said audio is not from a female sports journalist, please name the best audio from a female journalist (you can name one of your own)?
I really like Women's World Football Show from Patty La Bella and Adam Barlow. They're very well-informed and passionate about women's soccer and are a joy to listen to.

Do you read sports journalism in a language other than English? If no, will you do so in the future or do you think it will become more valuable a skill in the future? If yes, what sports journalistic publication do you read or listen to most in said language?
On a daily basis, I read about soccer, hockey, tennis, and boxing on the Russian website Sport-Express. Occasionally, I'll check out La Gazzetta dello Sport - I studied Italian for six years, so I try to maintain it. Univision's coverage of Liga Mexicana is a great motivator in helping me brush up on my Spanish skills! 

You are a New York City based journalist, how did you get connected to FC Dynamo Moscow? What influence did the Russian community ,or a member in said community,in New York City had? 
My dad has been a fan of Dynamo since the Lev Yashin era, so naturally I began following the club as well. I ended up doing some translation work for their official website. After noticing the lack of an official English site, I got in touch with the club and offered my services. The rest, as they say, is history.

Stating from conjecture or personal dialog, why is it FC Dynamo Moscow or New York Cosmos do not have a female team in the top tier, in their individual homelands? 
The obvious answer would be money, especially when it comes to Dynamo, who have had some financial woes build up into a rather cumbersome conundrum. Regarding the Cosmos...women's professional soccer has a much larger following in the US than in Russia, but it's still a fairly recent phenomenon. If you look at the NWSL, it's all clubs in cities with a strong MLS following. The women's clubs not affiliated with MLS still tap into an existing fan base. If the NASL ever sees the kind of attendance figures that MLS does, there's no doubt there'd be someone willing to invest in a New York Cosmos, Carolina RailHawks, or Fort Lauderdale Strikers women's team.

What soccer player was mentioned the most positively where you grew up? 
Probably Beckham. His name has become synonymous with soccer.   

What soccer player was mentioned the least positively where you grew up? 
I can't think of any!

Do you follow a women's soccer team? If yes, what date did you start? If no, what action will inspire you to start from a team?
As a New Yorker, it is my duty to support the Western New York Flash, even though they're all the way in Rochester. I actually started following the NWSL when Alex Morgan was still with the Portland Thorns.
What issue in women's soccer is reported the least, to its importance? 
The availability and accessibility (or lack thereof) of training for women's soccer in the US prior to reaching college. I don't think I've ever seen that issue discussed.

What issue in women's soccer is reported the most, from its importance? 
Probably the disparity between the salaries and tournament prize money of women's and men's soccer.

From Megan Rapinoe ,who knelt during the U.S.A. national anthem, to Michael Bradley, who asked questions concerning the varying response to the election season in the U.S.A., athletes are involved or asked many questions that are not athletic related; are those questions valid in your opinion, to un-elected official, or unwarranted, even considering freedom of speech?
It really depends on the question, but I like to think that, with the exception of sports diplomacy, sports and politics shouldn't mix. With regards to free speech, Eleanor Roosevelt said it best - "with freedom comes responsibility".  

What is the best answer an athlete can give a sports journalist who asks something concerning non athletics? 
Ignore it and get back to the game, or whatever sports-related topic was being discussed. 

Many have spoken about the death or near death to investigative journalism, is investigation in sports journalism: dead, dying, still, reborn, rising, or flying? and why?
Investigative sports journalism is just as alive as its non-sports counterpart. It's there, but like a lot of good writing, is constantly overshadowed by yellow journalism, which is why it's easy to think it doesn't exist. However, some of the mainstream media, like the Guardian and USA Today, have disproved that notion. The latter was one of few media outlets to write truthfully on the meldonium scandal.

Name a subject or issue you have not discussed in your entire career that you will need a greater investigation, considering finance or time, to produce in a high standard? 
I would love to do a travel series that explores soccer history, or how soccer came about in a particular geographic region.  

You have written comedy, what is the funniest soccer story you know, it can be in any medium(film/book/audio)? 
Who Ate All the Pies did a story about Chris Nicholl scoring all four goals in Aston Villa's 2-2 draw with Leicester City in 1976. she had another in mind later so I amended her answer using it I've read in "Amazing & Extraordinary Facts - Football" of a match between two Danish sides in 1960 in which the referee was about to signal the end of the game when his false teeth fell out. The club losing 4-3 equalized, but the ref found his teeth, disallowed the goal, and blew the whistle.

What is the funniest goal celebration you know?
When Lithuanian club Trakai's Dzmitry Kowb celebrated his goal by sitting in the stands and applauding...himself. 

Do female soccer players on average have enough originality in goal celebrations? yes or no, please why in your opinion? 
I can't recall too many interesting goal celebrations in the NWSL. Outside of the usual USWNT suspects, of course. Not sure why.

If you can meet one fellow sports journalist you have not before, any age or gender or phenotype, who will it be? 
If I had a time machine, I'd probably like to meet George Allison. Although he's known as Arsenal's second longest-serving manager after Arsene Wenger, he was also a sports journalist and the BBC's first sports commentator. 

If you can reject meeting one fellow sports journalist you have not before, any age or gender or phenotype, who will it be?
No one in particular! 

What inspirational words will you give someone wanting to enter sports journalism, any age or gender? 
Two words: Plan ahead. Make sure you have multiple skill sets, not just writing, if you're going into the sports industry. Very few people make a decent living as sports journalists - most of the really talented writers I know have a job outside of the industry and write as a hobby. There are few places that pay writers well. Get an education in broadcast or television and make sure to do as many apprenticeships as possible while you're still in school. 

What fearful words will you give someone wanting to enter sports journalism, any age or gender or phenotype? 
This may be advice for any industry in today's age, but it is very difficult to compete if you're starting after you've graduated college. There's no such thing as starting too early. Get involved in sports journalism in your teens - if your school has sports teams, write for the school paper. If you live in a small city, write for the local paper. And do internships or apprenticeships at the kind of places you're looking to work at in the future.

Did you ever play soccer? If no, did you play any sport and what sport? If yes, what position and what memory is your worst or happiest?
I played in a local pickup soccer group, mostly as a forward or attacking midfielder. My happiest memory is scoring a hat-trick in 8 minutes!

What book are you reading now? If none, what was the last book you finished and when did you finish it?
Most recently, I was re-reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Say one thing you know that few do? 
About sports, or life in general? I think one thing I know that few do is that not everyone can be "labeled" or placed in a specific category. It may be great for marketing purposes, but real life doesn't always work that way.  

If you have a chance to speak to one forebear,describe them as you want: who will it be, what will the topic be, and what will be the setting?
My grandfather from my dad's side, who I didn't get to meet. We'd just talk - no specific topic. Setting isn't too important either.

When you have a chance to speak to the spirit to all that is or is not, what will you say? 
No idea - I'm way too young to consider this question! Then again, I'll probably say the same thing many years from now.

GoalChatter Links
Aleks Vee Links

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