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Advice for athletes dealing with the media

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Canuck Pappy, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. Canuck Pappy

    Canuck Pappy Member

    A hockey coach who I've interacted for a long time asked me to speak to his players during their training camp about how to interact, talk and answer questions from the media.
    I won't be talking long, about 10-15 minutes.
    I think it's a great opportunity...but I am not sure where to start, other than telling them to be truthful and sincere.
    Also tell them not to rush their answers and feel that an interview is really just a conversation between two people and not to force the sound bite.
    I will also tell them that while dealing with the media can be a grind, in the long run it can help their and the team's exposure and in turn sell more tickets and get more attention from the public.
    If you could speak with athletes about how best to interact with the media what would you tell them?
  2. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    Don't bring your kid to the post game interview.
  3. Be honest. And just don't be a dick.
  4. TopSpin

    TopSpin Member

    Honest answers are at the top of the list, but lose the following tired clichés:
    • Take it one game/day/week/month/season at a time.
    • It is what it is.
    • At the end of the day.
    • We control our destiny (incorrect since destiny by definition is predetermined).
    • I’m here to do whatever I can to help the team.
    • It’s a blessing.
    • Next man up.
    Hell, the above can be made into a quote often found out of a locker room: “It’s a blessing because I’m the next man up. I’m here to do whatever I can to help the team and take it one game at a time because at the end of the day, it is what it is. We control our destiny.”

    Probably more clichés out there, but that’s my .02 cents.
  5. ChrisLong

    ChrisLong Active Member

    They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like us.
    Unless it's a nudists camp volleyball game, then it's: They take their pants off one leg at a time, just like us.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think you could spell out the what off the record means. For example, if they talk at length about say some decision of the coach's then say that's off the record, that's too late (unless you want to be a nice guy).

    That agreement needs to be spelled out beforeheand.

    I would tell them not to be afraid to show some personality.

    Also, if they have a problem with something you write, they should let you know instead of letting it fester.

    Every reporter can tell you numerous instances of something innocuous in a story that turned into a big issue. Maybe you talked to a player's "father," and t's really his stepfather and now dad is giving him grief. Whatever. Best to get it out in the open and avoid a repeat.

    Good luck.
  7. ringer

    ringer Member

    I totally agree with posts above re: killing cliches, explaining the rules of OTR...
    I'd add
    - Relax
    - If you don't understand a question, ask for clarity.
    - Know now that you may get asked the same question a jillion times. Try to be polite about it. Better yet, try to be original. But never lie because, unfortunately, sloppy reporters don't fact-check. Also, you should be the best source for your own personal information, so there's a premise of trust.
    - Do your best to stay on point.
    - If the reporter clearly has done no homework, it's okay to nicely mention if you have a website that has basic info.
    SFIND likes this.
  8. TexasVet

    TexasVet Member

    I've passed along info to high schoolers that because you trust me you can't trust everyone. For example, I know what to censor what they candidly say, but any future reporters might not do it. Sometimes we are the first reporters that some guys will ever talk to, and it's always good to help teach and craft them along the way.

    And like y'all have said, tell them to relax and just have a conversation. Sometimes I've videod the interview and played small clips on my social media. It's surprising to see how much more savvy the athlete gets in their interviews over time.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I am uncomfortable deciding to "censor" what a young athlete might say because it is in some respects at odds with your role as a reporter.

    What I would do for someone without a lot of experience in a one-on-one is repeat it back.

    So you say the coach took the team to a strip club after the game? You OK with me quoting you on that?

    It lets them know how their words might sound in print and also gives them a chance to say, "No. He took us to get strip steaks." So that may save you embarrassment too.
  10. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    It should be common sense to know if something like that should be quoted. Ask if they can clarify something, but don't make them sound like an idiot or embarrass them in print just because you think it's your role as a reporter to report anything they say.
  11. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    If these are high school kids, most of the points here are valid for interacting.

    If this is a college hockey program, I might add this. Being somewhat colorful and quotable can also help for that first civilian job in town once hockey is over.

    There is some value to being visible on a team.
  12. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Before speaking on record:
    -- understand who the media member is and the publication she represents;
    -- find out the topic the media member would like you to address; and
    -- feel free to decline if it's not a topic with which you're comfortable or don't want to publicly address.
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