I’m Joan Niesen, a sportswriter who hasn’t been writing nearly enough lately. Since the beginning of 2020, I’ve been working on a narrative podcast (more on that later, maybe, if you stick around and subscribe), which has been an incredible learning experience. It’s also been a weird mental shift: instead of having multiple bylines a week on a variety of subjects, I’ve been deep in the weeds on one story—and, well, I miss writing.
Let’s rewind: I was a staff writer at Sports Illustrated for six years before going through a journalism rite of passage—the layoff—in October 2019. Prior to my time at SI, I worked at The Denver Post and Fox Sports, and over the course of my career I’ve written a little bit about everything: the NBA, the WNBA, the NFL, the NHL, MLB, golf, college football. Since getting laid off, I’ve realized how much I took my platform for granted; if a subject moved me, my editors would almost always let me write about it. Not having that has been jarring, and it spurred me to start this newsletter.
What you’ll get:
Sports (and sports-adjacent) columns will land in your inbox once a week—and sometimes more often. Looking for a game recap or x’s and o’s? This probably isn’t the place for you. My writing will focus primarily on what happens off the field, everything from COVID-19 to labor unions to sexism to crime. It’ll be similar to this piece about Urban Meyer, or this one about Kobe Bryant’s legacy. I’ve always prided myself on looking at sports through a unique lens and questioning conventional wisdom, and I want to keep that up here. I also want to push myself to write about things other than sports, so watch out for my thoughts on books, current events and who knows what else.
If you like the newsletter, send feedback. If you hate the newsletter, send feedback. Maybe also unsubscribe. I’m not out to upset people.
For now, Open Field is free. At some point, I’m going to start charging a monthly fee, but I’ll give you plenty of warning beforehand and will still offer some pieces for those who are unable to pay.
So, yeah, I think that’s it. Enter your email below to subscribe, and… let’s do this.