One important element to sports writing is the outdoors.
Scott Carpenter, now public relations director for Metroparks of the Toledo Area, began working at The Press in the late 1980s.
He had worked for the Oregon-based Metro Update, which was bought out by Sandusky-based Douthit Communications, which owns The Press. He had worked there for a year-and-a-half.
During his 13 years as a news editor with The Press, dating back almost 30 years ago, he got this idea of writing an outdoors column. He says in a roundabout way, the column led to his job with the Metroparks.
“It wasn’t so much my interest in the outdoors, but it was kind of the golden age of the walleye fishing in Lake Erie, and I just felt like the paper should be covering that,” Carpenter said.
“I started it as a column about fishing, and then not to long into it I thought it should really be more of a column about Lake Erie and the region. It didn’t start off by this name, but it turned into ‘Lake Erie Journal’ and it was a column about the outdoors, but also travel, boating, and kind of Lake Erie lifestyle,” Carpenter continued.
“So it became more than just a fishing column. That led to more writing stories for other publications, like Mid-American Boating, which Douthit used to print, and Ohio Out Of Doors, which was the League of Ohio Sportsmen magazine. So it continued even after I left The Press, I did some freelance writing for other publications.
Carpenter joined Art Weber, another outdoors columnist and photographer, who still writes for other weekly newspapers in the Toledo market. Weber also was with the Metroparks at one time.
Ray Grob, another outdoor columnist for The Press for eight years, retired. He averaged 240 slide-show presentations a year to schools and organizations regaling them with his adventures around the world.
Like Weber and Grob, Carpenter’s outdoor experience led to other activities, and not just the Metroparks. He became a member of Outdoor Writers of Ohio, a trade group, which also helped him get his job at the Metroparks. He is past president and was just re-elected to the board.
He also published a book named Lake Erie Journal, which follows in line with the column he did for The Press.
“The Press has always been really one of the local leaders, I think, in covering the outdoors because it not only had that column, but we had the Maumee Bay Press, and still do, and featured Art Weber’s work, and we had a senior citizen paper called the PrimeTimes edition (The Press still has a monthly PrimeTimes section).”
He encourages potential journalists to freelance, despite the apparent disadvantages.
“I think journalism you go into because it’s almost like a mission or a passion as much as it is a career. You don’t get paid a lot of money to write stories, so if you can write several stories and also take pictures while you are at it, you can make more money while you are doing it,” Carpenter said. “I never got rich doing it, but the freelancing paid to put two kids through private high school, so it was like a good sideline.”