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DECEMBER 17, 2007

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the Mitchell Report being reported on by every major news outlet. And 100% of the time, it follows a pretty simple formula – the one they teach you in every journalism class in the country.

In high school, I was on the school newspaper for about a year, which was a requirement if you took the Journalism class elective. That’s my only journalism experience, believe it or not. In College, I took one advanced creative writing class, and that’s the sum, total of all of my formal training as a writer.

I don’t know if this is shocking, depressing, or amazing – or a combination of those three, considering the fact that I earn my living from being a professional writer. 

The first thing that was taught to me in journalism class was the “inverted pyramid” of information. That means you put the most important information at the beginning of the article, and taper off with the least important information. Clearly, I don’t think this to be a very important lesson, because I’m writing what is essentially a news article, and giving you a basically irrelevant story about my high-school days.

I also learned that I’m probably not cut out for journalism (except for in the loosest sense of the word). By the end of the year I had been relegated to doing write ups for freshman football and occasionally the horoscope. Since I never attended a single football game, the accuracy of my reporting on that topic was roughly the same accuracy you would have found in my horoscope column.

The other thing they teach you in those journalism classes is the “five w’s” – that’s basically a simple way of getting you to remember to include “what, when, where, why, and who” in all of your reporting.

Personally, I think it’s a weak literary device to mention having learned something (and then ironically choose to ignore it), only later to mention another thing that you’ve learned (and further ironically choose not to disregard the next thing).

I’m above that kind of thing, clearly- especially when giving you information on something as important as the Mitchell Report.



Major League Baseball contracted former United States Senator George J. Mitchell and his firm, DLA PIPER US LLP, to conduct an independent investigation into the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball.

Dozens of major league baseball players were named in the report, some who had been named before, and some who were being named for the first time.


The Mitchell Report is a 300+ page report (around 400 pages if you count the appendices and the introductory papers). It cost Major League Baseball at least 20 million dollars to have produced.


The report was compiled beginning on March 30th 2006 and released December 13th 2007.


This investigation touched every team in MLB and every city they were in. It spanned country wide and included assistance from federal agencies and intra-state organizations and operations.


The stated purpose of the Mitchell Report was to investigate the problem of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, and further to make suggestions as to how the problem can be solved.


Of course, just like any story, there’s more than just the who/what/when/where/why. And I think that some of the statements made by this report are inaccurate and more than a bit loaded. Over the next week or two, I’m going to be doing my own report on the Mitchell Report, and it’s going to be stuff you’re not going to get anywhere else…so make sure you’re with me throughout the week.



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