By: Rayna Aivazoglou
On October 31, Frank Litsky, internationally recognized sports-journalist, and retired president of the New York Track Writers Association, won his own shiny gold medal, the 2013 George Hirsch Journalism Award, not for running a marathon but for his “excellent long-term” writing about the runners who had.
“Through pen and paper, Frank captured the best of our sport in words that captivated so many over six decades at the New York Times,” said CEO Mary Wittenberg as she announced his award. Since the early 1900’s, The New York Track Writers Association annually recognizes journalists with the George Hirsch Award, named after the chairman and Board of Directors of New York City Runners, for their excellence in sports writing, reporting and broadcasting about marathon running.
“We know Frank, really, as the dean of track and field journalism” says the New York Times. The award recognized Litsky for his sixty-two year prolonged contribution to sports-journalism, in which he wrote eight sports almanacs, including the 1975 coffee-book table “SuperStars,” in addition to 3,700 newspaper articles, covering over 15 Super Bowls and 8 Olympic events.
Litsky, 87, began writing career young age of 8, in his hometown, Waterbury, CT. After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1946, he joined the United Press Bureau in Hartford and within a year was recognized and promoted to United Press’ wire service’s main desk in New York City. Soon after, his real career as a sports-journalist sparked in 1958 when he joined the sports staff at the New York Times, quickly covering beats in many sports (with a specialty in track and field) with distinction.
“I have been involved in this organization from the start… I reveled the glory days of Bill Rodgers and Grete Waitz. I have suffered with the impossible situation brought on by Hurricane Sandy… so thank you all for this [Girsh] award, and for allowing me to be part of your history and your glory.”
PR and Media Relations Coordinator of the nonprofit organization, New York Road Runners had the opportunity to interview Frank Litsky and discuss his career as a journalist, in honor of the Girsh award.
Huvane: How does it feel to be the recipient of the Girsch Award?
“I felt and still feel incredibly overwhelmed, proud, thrilled, grateful, and humble to be honored with such a prominent [Girsh] award,” he told Huvane.
Huvane: What advice can you give journalists’ today?
Linsky: “We, journalists, we are in the business of seduction… seducing readers. Write good, write clear, write concise… no one wants to read circles of nonesense… add a sense of humor and get out.”
Huvane: What do you think the key components of your success in writing have been?
Linsky: “The key to success in sports-journalism… I’d say having a “fearless” attitude by taking risks. Push Boundaries. Get in that locker room, whatever it takes, that way you get to establish business type relationships with athletes themselves. That’s what makes a good story.