In time for the coming frenzy of fall sports activity in St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch is adding two high-octane journalists who are returning to their home state.
The Cardinals are driving toward another playoff run, the Rams are gearing up for their home opener in two weeks, Mizzou football opens next weekend and the Blues training camp is around the corner.
Great timing for sports columnist Benjamin Hochman, a prize-winning columnist at the Denver Post, and Ben Frederickson, a Sedalia, Mo., native who has been working at the Knoxville News Sentinel, to dive into this flurry of local sports this week.
Both are Mizzou Journalism School graduates with an understanding of our local sports scene. Both bring a passion for sports that will span media forms, including print, video, blogging and radio along with their presence at stadiums and arenas across our region.
Hochman, a 1998 Clayton High School graduate who has won six national honors from the Associated Press Sports Editors, will write a print column four times a week while also producing prolifically for our digital editions and social media.
“I try to write something I’d want to read, if that makes sense. I feel many writers settle on sentences or wedge in clichés, so I try to force myself to make my columns a fun experience for the readers,” he said.
“To me, the modern sports columnist must be interactive with his or her readership. In my final column for The Denver Post, I made sure to thank the Twitter community, explaining: in 2015, the sports columnist no longer is some high-and-mighty lord of the typewriter; he or she is part of the social media society,” he said.
“Twitter is the virtual sports bar, and I love hanging out there with fans, swapping opinions, making obscure ‘Seinfeld’ references and just being part of the sports culture, every day, in real time.”
His interests and talents extend beyond the sports world, including his performing stand-up comedy and taking improv comedy classes.
“I must also say that I take pride in writing occasional columns that challenge readers to think outside their comfort zone. We all love sports, so I try to look at complicated issues through the sports lens, such as gay rights and acceptance, bullying and other topics,” Hochman said.
“There will be days when readers will get mad about that day’s column topic — perhaps they won’t agree with it — but I encourage readers to challenge themselves by reading the column, because issues in our beloved sports world can actually help make us better, more-rounded humans.”
And how does he feel about his homecoming?
“I hope my passion and pride for my hometown will come through each sentence I write. I get the St. Louis sports fans — I was raised by them and grew up with them. I know our town’s sports history, nuances and traditions. My excitement level to start writing is bordering bonkers. I think it’ll be a hell of a fun ride.”
Frederickson gained firsthand experience with the St. Louis sports scene when he served as the Rick Hummel summer intern at the Post-Dispatch in 2011. He will be the first former Hummel intern who has worked under a scholarship from the Baseball Writers Association of America to be hired full time at the Post-Dispatch.
His online sports commentaries and analyses will publish digitally throughout the day on topics from local interest to those in the wider sports world. Sports fans love to chat and engage. He will be an active voice for our digital readers.
Most recently, he worked as the beat writer covering the University of Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville.
Starting this week, sports fans will begin to see his work on STLtoday.com and the Post-Dispatch mobile sites and apps.
FALL ARTS SECTION, EVENT
In Sunday’s A&E section is our annual Fall Arts Preview. Fall always is busy for local arts and entertainment groups, so you’ll want to keep our guide handy. The section includes comprehensive listings of upcoming theater, concerts, dance, visual arts, music and family events. Our staff also introduces readers to five women leading local arts organizations: Felicia Shaw of the Regional Arts Commission, Suki Peters of St. Louis Shakespeare, Kathy Brown of 100.3 the Beat, Marie-Hélène Bernard of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Cara Starke of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. You will find the Fall Arts Preview on Go! Magazine’s new mobile app. If you have not downloaded it, you can find it free on the App Store and Google Play.To help christen the big fall arts season, the Post-Dispatch threw a party with Go! Magazine and Feast — our inaugural Fall Arts Preview event last Wednesday at the Luminary on Cherokee Street.
About 400 people reveled in a night of food and fun with local artists, performers and restaurateurs. The event included live music by Jazz St. Louis, live art by painter Zack Smithey, dance performances by the Big Muddy Dance Co. and Karlovsky & Co. Dance, an interactive mural by Paint the American Arts Experience and scary stories by St. Louis Storytelling Festival’s GHOST Project.
“It was great to see so many people from the arts scene at our event,” said Gabe Hartwig, editor of Go! Magazine. “It was the perfect atmosphere for mingling, learning about local arts groups and enjoying the work of some talented performers.”