How sports journalist Justin Toscano presses on

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

It’s the middle of March and I’m sitting at a desk in a room at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Venice, Florida. I’ve been here for a few weeks. My suitcase is off to one side, my backpack off to the other. I’m working on a story when it hits me:

This is everything I’ve ever wanted to do in life.

Here I was, in a hotel room, as the beat writer covering a Major League Baseball team for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, doing what I love: Telling a story. Six-year-old me would have pinched himself.

Growing up, I was always known as the sports nerd. I loved reading the newspaper in the morning and watching SportsCenter before school. I could tell you stats and tidbits and the names of players you never thought you needed to know.

I always knew I wanted to be a sports reporter but, as a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State, I drilled down on my purpose.

As much as I loved sports, I became more interested in the people I covered. I saw how stories could inspire as much as inform. I knew the average reader couldn’t hit a baseball 450 feet, but perhaps they could relate to someone who did, through my storytelling.

That is why I do this.

In an era often defined by clickbait in our industry, I believe in the power of storytelling. I think it’s possible to provide wall-to-wall, daily coverage while writing stories that make the reader feel something. People care about other people.

I love how this job allows me to cover everything for a passionate fanbase. I can tell you why the Braves signed a certain player and when an injured player could return, but I can also dive into how a minor leaguer is carrying on his family’s legacy or how the general manager became one of baseball’s top executives.

The generosity of our subscribers allows me to provide this in-depth, purposeful coverage on one of baseball’s best teams. It’s the reason I can travel and follow the team daily for the entire season and during the offseason. To those who have subscribed, I want to offer a sincere “Thank you” for your support.

I’ve spent many hours, nights, weekends and holidays at the ballpark and on the road working. To some, this would become exhausting.

To me, it’s a dream come true.

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