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Philly Inquirer Columnist Mike Sielski On Twitter, The Super Bowl & Fake News In New Age of Sports Journalism

Julia Pacifico

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He watched in sheer panic as time ticked away on the clock, hoping all his hard work wouldn’t go to waste. Sports columnist Mike Sielski’s eyes were glued to the television, hoping with each play that the Philadelphia Eagles would hold control of the game.
Sielski, who was voted by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top sports columnist in the country, was covering Super Bowl LII, and writing a column about Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Having gone to South Carolina in the off season to gather information, Sielski had everything he needed to write an exceptional column on Alshon Jeffery.
But as the deadline for his column loomed, being no later than the sounding of the end game buzzer, the fate of his column hung in the balance.
“The problem was, if the eagles lost the game, I couldn’t write about Alshon Jeffery, because if they lost the game, nobody was going to care about Alshon Jeffery,” Sielski explained.
Throughout the second half, as Sielski was three quarters of the way through his column, the Eagles were winning. Then, with six minutes left in the game, the Patriots took the lead.
Fortunately for Sielski, with two minutes left in the game, Zach Ertz scored the game winning touchdown, leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory.
“If they had not won that game I’m not sure to this day what my column would have been about,” Sielski told journalism students at the 2018 Bucks Journalism Forum event.
Sielski realized his love for writing while working on the school newspaper at La Salle University.
He started out spending his Friday nights covering high school football for the Intelligencer and Bucks County Courier Times, then spent three years as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. And now works as a sports columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.
“It’s really my dream job. I grew up reading the paper and wanting to be a sports columnist. This was the job I’ve always wanted and I’m very fortunate to have it.”
For Sielski, there is really no typical day on the job. His schedule fluctuates based on the time of year, and the happenings with Philadelphia sports teams.
“I’m very fortunate in that I might spend five days in San Antonio talking to Jay Wright and some of the Villanova players, I might be on the phone calling sources to write a column,” he said, “I might go down to the eagles practice, I might go down to the sixers practice, I might be trying to write one day with my three year old son in my lap, which is a bit of a challenge. So really every day is different.”
With the constant developments in ways which news is distributed, the urgency for facts still holds great value.
“We live in a society that went from turning on NBC, CBS, or ABC at 6:30pm to get your news and then you picked up your newspaper the next day. It doesn’t work like that anymore,” he explained, “You have your phone, you have twitter and your finding things out the instant they happen. The down side to that is your finding out things that aren’t true.”
The term “fake news”, can mean different things to different people. For Sielski it puts the emphasis on his duty to deliver factual and verified information.
Sielski said, “That sort of ethic is something I fear is in jeopardy in a lot of respects.”
Sielski, who is a rising star in journalism, is also the author of two books, and does a little bit of sports commentating on television.
As for where he sees himself in the future, Sielski says, “I am very happy doing what I get to do for The Inquirer. I’m very lucky that I get to do what I want to do, in the way I want to do it, at the place I have always wanted to do it at. So as long as they remain a viable place in the media landscape, I’m totally happy there.”

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Philly Inquirer Columnist Mike Sielski On Twitter, The Super Bowl & Fake News In New Age of Sports Journalism