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A reader e-mail that irks me...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jay Sherman, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    Got a letter from a parent about a cross-country meet I covered the other day. Said parent forwarded the e-mail to my SE, EE and our publisher. ::)

    It was a huge XC meet, with 50+ teams (eight local teams), and I mentioned that the star runner for said parent's son's school was out with an injury. Also mentioned the top runner for that team and how he fared. Mind you, this wasn't a piece focused on this HS...

    Wow. Just wow. I don't plan on writing back, but who does he think he is? So what if I asked the kids where their teammate finished? The kid is the all-area runner of the year, sue me.
  2. Dickens Cider

    Dickens Cider New Member

    What a bullshit e-mail. Everyone knows Todd Flanders smells.

  3. You're right, the letter is irritating as hell, but you always write back. S/he took the time to write you, you write back.
  4. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    I think that Barry Sanders kid should try out for the football team next season. He'll be a senior, plus he has his name going for him.
  5. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    Seriously, forget the names, I'm tired and didn't feel like making 50 BS names up. I need some legitimate discussion on this. I'll write back but today was my day off and I want to see if my SE mentions it.
  6. Dickens Cider

    Dickens Cider New Member

    Write-brained is right. Guy took the time to write, it deserves some kind of response, even if it's of the "Thanks for the feedback" variety.
  7. FuturaBold

    FuturaBold Member

    I really think there are form letters out there that parents pick up and modify to fit their various teams and sports, because we've all gotten some form of this type of response at some point ...

    I purposely sought out the names of all the offensive linemen for a particular football team a few weeks ago because they played well and helped pave the way for the offense in a big win. I get a letter the next week saying that "there were a lot more people who contributed to the win than the ones you mentioned," blah blah ...

    you can't win -- cover the story as best you can and as fairly as you can and as thoroughly as you can, and then give people who write you letters like this a good audience so that they feel heard and then move on ... otherwise you'll go mad...

    Sometimes you may actually learn something good when these folks vent -- other times people will never be satisfied no matter what.
  8. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    I do agree that some sort of response is necessary, especially when someone took so long to put that together, attach his name and send it off. He didn't come off mean or snarky to me and probably could have easily tucked a few "motherfuckers" in there, but that wasn't the case.

    Also, not to bust your chops, but yeah, I don't necessarily think it was a good idea to pick out the high school kids only to ask where the other kid was. Sure, he's an all-state runner, that's fine. But the coach just seems to be the more appropriate, logical choice.
  9. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    A few years ago, I received an e-mail from a parent who was upset that a piece I did on a sectional wrestling tournament focused too much on the brothers who made it to the finals, one winning a title and one placing second, and not enough on the team's fourth-place finish in the tournament and all the kids who didn't place as high and helped the team finish fourth (Funny, a few weeks before that, when the team won the league title, the coach trotted out the "second place is the first loser" cliche. If that's the way he feels, why big up a fourth-place finish?).
    One thing I learned on SportsJournalists.com is not to get into a pissing match with somebody on e-mail. God only knows who else sees the e-mails. I replied with a "Thank you for your feedback" e-mail and invited him to call if he wished to discuss the matter with me.
    He never called. They usually don't.
  10. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    I've received far worse letters than that. It comes with the territory. I always reply, even if the person is being a jerk. If they are wrong about something, I politely point that out. If they point out something I missed, I thank them and make the correction. I always thank them for reading the paper.
  11. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Right on, Zebracoy. And that letter's not too bad, though it would have been more helpful if he sent it to you prior to the season; it read just like a preview.

    How many cross country meets do you have to cover? Because, likely, that'd be my last one until the postseason (not just because of the letter; it's cross country).
  12. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I find it's also best to sit on the e-mail a day so you're not typing with fresh emotion.
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