Author Topic: Nashville media: sickening  (Read 21585 times)

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Offline Eric P.

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Nashville media: sickening
« on: October 01, 2006, 10:38:07 AM »
Can somebody please tell me why anybody in the Nashville media who sat on the story all week that Vince Young would start Sunday is still on the Titans beat?

This is a disgrace as far as beat reporting is concerned. Letting a coach stifle the distribution of the biggest sports story of the year in your area? You should all resign right now. Pathetic.

This is buried at the bottom of the Tennessean story that ran ON SUNDAY!

Fisher told them Tuesday or Wednesday that Young would start!


On Monday, Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said Collins would start against Dallas (1-1), which is coming off a bye week.

But it became clear during practices that the Titans planned to go with Young, who worked with the starters and handled the majority of the reps each day. Collins, meanwhile, worked primarily with the scout team.

Practices are open to the media, but Fisher threatened to close them if any outlet reported the division of practice-field work between Young and Collins before Saturday.

Media covering practice are generally prohibited by the team from reporting certain details that could impact competitive advantages.

Less than a third of NFL teams have open practices.

Offline SF_Express

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2006, 10:46:44 AM »
So Eric, you're saying that for a one-off beat, they should have violated their implied agreement with Fisher, and by doing so, gotten practices closed to them for the rest of the season?

Sorry, can't tell if you're in the biz, but if those guys are in there with certain ground rules understood, you don't violate those ground rules for one story.

EDIT: Unless that story is the biggest in the history of the franchise, and I'm trying to figure out what that would be.
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Offline Eric P.

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2006, 10:52:44 AM »
There is no agreement with the coach of a team you report on...unless you work for that team. If you have one, you aren't giving your readers the truth. You've lied to your entire audience all week. Where's the credibility in that?

And if you're worth anything as a reporter...you're getting this story from another source if you can't get the coach to say it on the record.

And that's a chicken shit insertion in that story to attempt to let readers know why they didn't do their job...which is to tell them the true story.

If he closes practices...so be it. But it will be the last straw for him in a real media market if he tried to control the media like that.


Offline Hank_Scorpio

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Offline SF_Express

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2006, 11:00:30 AM »
Couldn't agree less.

Yeah, there are no other NFL coaches in other markets who control the media in this fashion, guys like Coughlin, Saban, et al.[/sarcasm]

I'll guarantee you that there are beat guys in "major" markets who are allowed to watch practices with the stipulation that they're not going to report certain things.

It's not even as simple as getting it from another source; how's the coach going to know you just didn't go ahead and write it?

Sorry, you might not like it, but working relationships between coaches and reporters include some tradeoffs -- and not just in Nashville.







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Offline espnguy

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2006, 11:03:44 AM »
Sorry, Eric, while I applaud your ethics, you also might be a little naive about that. Bill Parcells is legendary for that kind of stuff, and yet he's still around and prospering quite nicely. And guys who've tried to go up against him either aren't on the beat any more -- or they agreed to his conditions. It's called "going along to get along." I agree with the other poster: you don't want to blow your access or ability to do your job for the rest of the season over one incident. And, sorry, this is not a major, earth-shattering revelation that there's a change at QB. It happens all the time. I once covered a team that had four diff. QBs, and we never knew from one week to another who was going to start.

Offline Eric P.

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2006, 11:04:53 AM »
SF,
This guy locked the doors...told everybody to turn off the cameras and recorders and threatened the media.

If I'm the SE, you are at best covering youth sports the next day...most likely you're working somewhere else.

And if the SE knew about this and went along with it, he should be held accountable as well.

You CANNOT let the people in the news control the news. Journalism 101.

Chi City 81

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2006, 11:09:23 AM »
If I'm the SE, you are at best covering youth sports the next day...most likely you're working somewhere else.

Then it's a good thing you're not the SE.

Offline SF_Express

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2006, 11:10:19 AM »
Eric, I'm going to modify my stance slightly by making it more of a question:

Is access to practice worth the tradeoff of, as espnguy says, going along to get along?

If you decide no, then you go ahead and tell Jeff Fisher: "Go ahead and close your practices, because I'm not going to be handcuffed as to what I can report."

Or, you accept access along with the understanding of what you can and can't report from there.

If you're the SE, you can make that call and then live with it one way or another.

I haven't been on the NFL beat in a long time, and I guess it's up to the beat guys to tell us whether that access is important enough to come to an understanding like this.

Where I'm not softening is the idea this should be some kind of indictment of the Nashville media. This happens all over the place.

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Offline Eric P.

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2006, 11:19:03 AM »
SF,
From what I've been told by respected NFL beat writers, approximately two thirds of nfl teams close their practices. And frankly, I don't care if 100 percent of them are open.

As a reporter I'm doing whatever I can to get that story in the paper.

And I doubt anybody can tell me what a bigger story in Nashville this year would be then your No. 1 draft pick taking over as starting QB for the NFL franchise.

This is the story of the year for them.

And Nashville may not be the only place this is going on...but if it's going on anywhere...I'm appalled by it in any fashion.

Offline SF_Express

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2006, 11:28:51 AM »
SF,
From what I've been told by respected NFL beat writers, approximately two thirds of nfl teams close their practices. And frankly, I don't care if 100 percent of them are open.

As a reporter I'm doing whatever I can to get that story in the paper.

And I doubt anybody can tell me what a bigger story in Nashville this year would be then your No. 1 draft pick taking over as starting QB for the NFL franchise.

This is the story of the year for them.

And Nashville may not be the only place this is going on...but if it's going on anywhere...I'm appalled by it in any fashion.

OK. But these reporters, in this situation, were pretty much stuck.

Now, if they want to go to Fisher next week and say, "Close your practices, that access isn't worth what it costs," then fine.
"In this world ... you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -- Elwood P. Dowd

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Offline fever_dog

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2006, 11:39:56 AM »
the only problem i have is the tennessean reporting their "agreement" with the titans. that makes no sense. it makes the paper and the titans look bad. the last thing you need to do is to flaunt to your readers that you are withholding info.

just "break" the story saturday and everything is fine. this goes on with every major beat.

Offline deportes

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2006, 11:45:04 AM »
i agree with eric. it's a big story in that town, and you can't let a coach or organization dictate what is news and when it should be reported.

espnguy, your mentality is the reason why a lot of folk in news see sports as the toy department.

broadway joe

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2006, 11:47:52 AM »
What's the point of having access to practice if you can't report a story like that?

Offline Ben_Hecht

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2006, 11:47:52 AM »
What bullshit.   Run with it, and dare Fisher to cut you off.

Way things are, you'd only have to endure Jeffy through the remainder of this season, anyway.
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Offline Twoback

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2006, 11:54:22 AM »
I think Fisher abused his agreement with the media, and I believe the reporters should have gone ahead and written it. It's one thing to agree not to report that a coach grabbed a player by the facemask and told him he was a weenie. That's the kind of thing that a coach can protect by closing a practice, and therefore it's the kind of thing that should be covered by an agreement such as this.
What Fisher did here was use this agreement to protect news that might have leaked out through the normal course of reporting. The reporters were stuck; they had to make a choice between reporting the story or getting the practices closed. Fisher knew that, and he played them. I'm a believer in a fair and working relationship between coach and reporter; in this case, I'd have told him to stick it.

Offline SF_Express

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2006, 11:58:27 AM »
I'm not understanding this, exactly.  ???

I mean, I understand how people are uncomfortable with this, don't get me wrong.

But the two parties here -- Titans/Fisher and the media -- have a deal. You can watch practice, but you can't report specifics about those practices.

This has been going on for a while, and as noted, is the case in other places.

I don't even think it's right to write the story with the understanding that you lose open practices. You've got a preexisting deal, and you'd be breaking it. I don't think that's ethical.

I certainly wouldn't be shocked if this agreement is examined again next week. But I just don't think it's as simple as, "Fuck it, run the story."
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Offline SF_Express

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2006, 12:00:35 PM »
I think Fisher abused his agreement with the media, and I believe the reporters should have gone ahead and written it. It's one thing to agree not to report that a coach grabbed a player by the facemask and told him he was a weenie. That's the kind of thing that a coach can protect by closing a practice, and therefore it's the kind of thing that should be covered by an agreement such as this.
What Fisher did here was use this agreement to protect news that might have leaked out through the normal course of reporting. The reporters were stuck; they had to make a choice between reporting the story or getting the practices closed. Fisher knew that, and he played them. I'm a believer in a fair and working relationship between coach and reporter; in this case, I'd have told him to stick it.

Well, fair enough, but let me ask you this, just an example on a lesser scale.

You're watching practice, and the team works on a double reverse out of a kickoff return.

I think it's clear the understanding would be that you wouldn't be reading that in a notebook the next day.

Maybe it IS a matter of scale, but if you don't report that, do you report that Vince Young took snaps with the first team for the most part?

The more I type about this, the more I can see both sides of it. But again, I think these guys were stuck this week. They had a deal.
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Offline Eric P.

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2006, 12:03:38 PM »
SF,
Maybe this wasn't clear...especially from the Tennessean story...but Fisher actually closed doors and said to reporters, they should turn off recorders and cameras and if word of this gets out he would close practices. Then he proceeded to tell them that Vince was starting on Sunday. This was Wednesday.

Offline SF_Express

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2006, 12:06:09 PM »
SF,
Maybe this wasn't clear...especially from the Tennessean story...but Fisher actually closed doors and said to reporters, they should turn off recorders and cameras and if word of this gets out he would close practices. Then he proceeded to tell them that Vince was starting on Sunday. This was Wednesday.

Well, so he gave them off-the-record information. Happens all the time, right?

I mean, the alternative would be to say, "Sorry, guys, we have to close practice today."
"In this world ... you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -- Elwood P. Dowd

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Offline Vic Mackey

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2006, 12:07:32 PM »
I'm also with Eric P. on this one. One of my responsibilities is covering a football team that allows media at its practices. When that team tells us not to report certain things, it's talking about trick plays -- which is perfectly acceptable. I can't think of another example. (And from what I understand about TV production meetings with coaches, the rule is you don't talk about something you're given until it happens.)

Now, Jeff Fisher has been pretty good with the media over the years. Sounds like he is cracking under the pressure. But for everyone to go along with this is wrong. Someone had to sit down with Fisher, Titans pr -- whoever -- and fix this.

Come on, even Parcells allowed cameras to follow Terrell Owens at practice this week.


Offline Pringle

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2006, 12:10:03 PM »
I hate when sources do this. "I'm about to tell you something juicy, but you can't write it until (blank)." I'd rather they not tell me. Fischer should have closed practice this week. I think he thought he was being a good guy, though. I'm not sure he realized the spot he was putting the beat writers in.

Offline fever_dog

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2006, 12:10:16 PM »
well, off the record is off the record. nothing you can do about that.

Offline daemon

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2006, 12:24:16 PM »
SF -- here's the problem: Even if Fisher had closed practices, there's a good chance this would have come out anyway.

There are 58 players at practice. Chances are pretty good if you ask the right questions during the week, you can figure out which quarterback is taking the majority of the reps with the first team.

What would a reporter have done if Keith Bulluck had come up to him and said, "Vince is taking all the reps in practice. I can't wait for him to start on Sunday. Kerry Collins sucks."? Ignore it?

Any way you look at it, assuming it happened the way Eric P said, the media conspired with Jeff Fischer to withold information from the public.

As a sidenote: Coaches like Fisher are morons when it comes to this shit. Did he really think that surprsing the Cowboys by starting Vince Young would reflect on the scoreboard? Give me a fucking break.

Offline Michael_ Gee

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Re: Nashville media: sickening
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2006, 12:35:29 PM »
       He TOLD them? Off the record in that event means "a source close to Titans coach Jeff Fisher said Vince Young would start Sunday."