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|| News Item: Posted 2004-06-21

My Top Ten
My all-time favorite Sports Shooter Newsletter stories

By Brad Mangin,

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Robert Hanashiro.
It all started on August 28, 1998 when USA Today staff photographer Robert Hanashiro wrote this sentence:

"After covering four NFL pre season games in four different stadiums on the west coast, the one thing I can say is that the new "network zone" on the sidelines has been a total bust!"

Thus began issue number one of the Sports Shooter Newsletter, the monthly vehicle that spawned two years ago this month. The first issue contained nine articles/briefs, all written by Hanashiro. This collection of stories was emailed out to about 20 of his friends in the business.

Little did he know the monster he had created. Seventy issues and over 1,000 stories later the newsletter gets emailed out to more than 7,000 readers worldwide and is posted immediately here on, illustrated with photographs.

It has been my pleasure to help Hanashiro solicit stories from friends and colleagues.

I am responsible for archiving each issue on the web. It first started on my website (it was Joe Gosen's brilliant idea to start a web-archive of the newsletter and illustrate it with photographs starting with issue #5 on February 4, 1999.)

We have been fortunate to have many friends help us along the way by writing stories and columns to educate, enlighten and entertain our readers.

While the name of the newsletter is "Sports Shooter", we have covered more than just sports. Sure, we have had definitive articles on how to cover golf by Sports Illustrated's Robert Beck (Tips From the First Tee: The "secrets" to successful golf photography: ) and (Swinging Back: Robert Beck's rules for shooting golf: ) but we have also had wonderful pieces by Rod Mar about life away from the job (Family Man: mixing work & family: ).

There have been technical stories about new cameras by Sports Illustrated's Peter Read Miller (Viva the V?: ) and (It's In The Files: A D-60 Users Report: ). We have also had film reviews by Fleer's Don Smith (New Transparency Film Pushes the Limit: ).

Our friend Mongo Johnson has come through with some fantastic travel tips ranging from fan favorites "Road Warrior: Mongo Sneaks Past Security at the Democratic National Convention" ( ) to "Road Warrior: Traveling REALLY Sucks Now" ( ).

Mongo has also chipped in with some fine cold weather tips (Road Warrior: Middle Layers for the Olympics: ) and (Road Warrior: Cold Weather Gear for Salt Lake City: ). He also shared his expertise by sharing some cool Christmas gift ideas (Road Warrior: Mongo Approved Christmas Gifts: ) and (Road Warrior: Annual Holiday Gift Guide (or Dear Santa --- Please read This!): ).

We have also been privileged to have freelancer Rick Rickman pen dozens of fantastic columns about surviving in the turbulent world of freelance photography. Rickman's columns, "Let's Talk Business" have been so popular that he has become one of the most requested speakers at the annual Sports Shooter Workshop and Luau.

Starting with his first column in Issue 14 way back in November of 1999 (Let's Talk Business: Sports Photographers are Ill Informed About Business Practices: ) to (Let's Talk Business: Hold on to the Rights of Your Film!: ) Rickman has given so much of his time to better educate students and working pros so they can be more effective in an ever-changing marketplace.

Rickman has never been shy about sharing his personal life with our readers, like in this column about negotiating (Let's Talk Business: Negotiations! It's Just Like Slow Dancing: ) and this inspiring column (Let's Talk Business: When Things Get Bad... Go Surfing. When Things Get Really Bad, Go Surfing a Lot!: ).

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at all 1,000 plus stories and select a few of my favorites that many of our readers might have forgotten or never seen before.

The following is my list of the Top Ten Sports Shooter Stories of All-Time:

10. Running with The Razor
By Gary Bogdon, Orlando Sentinel
Issue 16 Posted: January 24, 2000

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat

Photo by Dilip Vishwanat

Jonathan Daniel at the "old" Soldier Field in Chicago.
Leave it to The Razor to get pulled over on the highway for eating chicken and dumplings. I love this story because it shows Bogdon's true sense of humor and his joy for life... and good food while on the road.

9. Da Tale of Two Cities, Ya Hey
By Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images
Issue 46 Posted: August 31, 2002

This was the first time JD wrote for us and it was sure worth the wait. The Chicago Bears had to play their games during the 2002 season at the University of Illinois in down state Champaign and the Packers were opening up a renovated Lambeau Field in Green Bay. JD let us know how much he enjoyed the changes.

I am a huge JD fan and love the way he writes. My writing teacher at San Jose State always told me that the best writers write the way they talk. I am here to tell you that Mr. Daniel's sense of humor and Chicago-speak really comes through in this funny and VERY informative story. Leave it to JD to quote the movie "Semi Tough" and describe the smell of pig manure.

8. Working Wireless
By Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press
Issue 20 Posted: May 30, 2000

Photo by Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

Photo by Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

Clockwise from left, AP photo editor Tom Stathis, AP photographer Kevork Djansezian, AP photographer Mark J. Terrill and Lakers center Travis Knight pose in Los Angeles.
This ground-breaking story nearly shut down my old website when it was linked from My bandwidth went through the roof.

Using an Apple Airport device to trigger overhead remote cameras during the NBA Playoffs received a lot of attention worldwide.

It is hard for me to believe that Mark first wrote this story four years ago. I learned a lot from Mark's piece. Of course I am a lazy-ass and never tried any of the cool things he describes, but I still think it's cool.

7. Twenty-Six Days in FLA
By Vincent Laforet, New York Times
Issue 26 Posted: December 20, 2000

Vincent Laforet's coverage of the 2000 presidential election in Florida was a unique look inside a wacky story that went on for nearly a month.

I learned so much from Vince reading his story. After seeing this stuff on the news every night it was refreshing to read about what was really going on from someone who was there, trying to make good pictures.

6. The Strike Zone
By Rod Mar, Seattle Union Record
Issue 26 Posted: December 20, 2000

Rod Mar's passionate, inside look at the 2000 Seattle newspaper strike gave us a glimpse of a difficult time for many journalists in the Pacific Northwest.

Rod talked bout the possibility of being laid off and replaced by a scab photographer. He said he loved his job at the Times but was willing to put his job on the line to support the 1000 plus union members. I wonder what the rest of us would do? Rod says he can't wait for the strike to be over- thankfully, three and a half years later it is, but I am sure the scars remain.

5. Z-Man
By Dave Newhouse, Staff Writer, ANG Newspapers
Issue 16 Posted: January 24, 2000

Veteran Oakland Tribune sports columnist Dave Newhouse wrote this in-depth profile on Bay Area legend Michael Zagaris. The Z-Man has been the team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Athletics since 1979. In a former life Z worked for Bobby Kennedy.

"Z-man has partied with rock stars after filming them. Chris Isaak crashed at Z-man's house. Z-man hooked up Canseco and Madonna," Newhouse says. Want to read more? I thought so.

Photo by

Chris Covatta
4. Oh Canada, We Stand on Guard for Thee
By Chris Covatta
Issue 17 Posted: February 23, 2000

It took Austin-based freelancer Chris Covatta’s story to generate the most emails we have ever received when we published his diatribe against traveling north of the border into Canada.

We thought this piece was funny, because we know Covatta. Many of our friends to the north disagreed. They let us know with some fun letters to the editor:

We Got Mail!
By Robert Hanashiro
Issue 18 Posted: March 23, 2000

I had to personally deal with many of the emails that came from my site that was housing the newsletter archives at the time. It was NOT pretty. Trust me, if you had the pleasure of enjoying a cocktail, some good BBQ or a cigarette with Covatta you would not be mad at him. He is a talented and funny guy who has taught me so much in this business, going back to our days at The National Sports Daily. If our friends from Canada are still upset with Mr. Covatta they can contact him through his member page here on the site:

3. Trophy Kissing Picture Hard To Swallow
By Grover Sanschagrin
Issue 42 Posted: May 02, 2002's own Grover (before many of you knew him) came through with this humorous, tongue-in-cheek analysis of a wire picture by Associated Press staffer Rich Pedroncelli. This article is a must-read. Even if you read it two years ago you need to take the time to back and read it again. Priceless.

The funniest thing about this piece was the reaction it received - especially from the people who thought Grover was serious.

Photo by Mickey Palmer

Photo by Mickey Palmer

John Iacono at the 1999 World Series in Atlanta after his surgery.
2. Wild Throw
By John Iacono, Sports Illustrated
Issue 15 Posted: December 23, 1999

Johnny Eye's personal look at what he went through after getting hit in the face by an errant throw from Andy Fox during the 1999 National League playoffs showed what a wonderful sense of humor he has and what a gamer he is.

Johnny's jaw was broken in several places, yet he was at the World Series in Atlanta two weeks later- working from a safe overhead spot. Those of us who know Johnny, and many others who have never met him, will enjoy this story.

1. The Event That Changed My Life
By Mickey Pfleger
Issue 31 Posted: May 29, 2001

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin

Mickey Pfleger, right, and his son Tai at a 49er game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
Mickey's poignant account of everything that happened to him after he was hit by Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, through his brain surgery to remove a tumor, was heroic and inspiring.

There are wonderful images that help illustrated this story, including the amazing picture by USA Today's Jack Gruber of the collision between Pfleger and Gonzalez.


There are many other great stories that I have left off my list, but my hard-ass editor made me keep it to only ten.

The full list of all past newsletter issues starts here:

Our database grows every month when the new issue of the Sports Shooter Newsletter comes out. Search through the stories and come up with a list of your favorites, and list them here:

If you'd like to get the newsletter sent directly to your email, click on the link below:

Contents copyright 2018, Do not republish without permission.
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