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angry parent threatens ad dollars...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by strunk_you, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. strunk_you

    strunk_you Member

    so some guy calls up saying we don't cover his kid's team. he gives the same tired lines — "they play just as hard, etc."

    background: it's a private school of 300+ that hasn't made the playoffs since switching to 11-man seven or eight years ago. it's the fourth smallest football team in our 12-team coverage area. the team has one of the best players in the county and is currently 6-0 playing against the weak competition in its league. all the other teams in the league are located far outside our coverage area.

    now, we've had problems getting their coach on the phone for a box and details on game nights. we once resorted to waking up the school's principal at 11 p.m. because coach wasn't returning calls for the third straight week.

    there was some back and forth. i try to talk reason to the man, explain our decisions and how we base them on news value versus resource constraints. we have one prep writer. he covers one game a week. and our college guy covers one other when he's not out of town with the college team. there are other games that better serve our county-wide readership.

    the private school, like many private schools, is known for well-to-do parents. so the guy hints that if private school doesn't get some coverage, paper will lose advertising dollars. i told him i'm not in the advertising department, and the editorial department is a separate entity.

    we talk some more. we hang up. agree to disagree.

    here's my dilemma: the guy was right. we are not covering his kid's school as much as we have in the past because of staff cutbacks. less people, less depth of coverage. we're offering less, so perhaps the paper does deserve to lose advertising dollars.

    but the people who are left after hiring freeze, buyouts and layoffs are working their butts off. i want to stand up for our work, but it's getting harder and harder. i'd rather tell the guy he's preaching to the choir, but i won't trash my own effort.

    anybody else get that torn feeling?
  2. EmbassyRow

    EmbassyRow Active Member

    There's nothing more frustrating than a.) private-school sports parents; b.) being woefully understaffed; c.) sticking up for the product when it's clear the highest of higher-ups could care less about the quality of local coverage.

    Keep your head up, keep fightin'. That's my $0.02. Best of luck.
  3. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Hey, you could direct him to your ad dept., so he can take out an ad to voice his displeasure like this parent.


    In all seriousness, Embassy's right. I've felt the same way in the past.

    Good luck.
  4. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    Just say . . .


    YOU, sir . . . are an ASSHOLE!
  5. CM Punk

    CM Punk Guest

    I'm in a similar situation. People are always asking me why we're cutting back and not doing as much. I don't lie to them or stick up for the paper anymore. I tell them that the paper wants to cut expenses and the local sports teams are not of importance to this newspaper. It's just something to fill space. I'll probably be laid off in the first half of 2009, so I really don't care if your team is covered right now anyway. It just doesn't matter. I am just a figure in a budget.
  6. strunk_you

    strunk_you Member

    yeah, this must be what it feels like to play for the royals.
  7. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Only they make a little more than 2 cents.
  8. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    it wasn't cool for folks to threaten to pull ads for coverage back when we had full staffs and it ain't cool to do as much now.

    the guy is a major cock.
  9. ScribePharisee

    ScribePharisee New Member

    It's a no-win situation. The publisher and/or your boss will go running up to this person on bended knee and blame you totally for the problem, expect you to solve it and do nothing about your resources. It's a cancer that started with the slash-and-burn, cover-my-ass tactics in the wine-sipping rooms at the top of the ladder.
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Is sex allowed in the wine-sipping room?
  11. Serious question: Why isn't it cool for people to threaten ad revenue? If someone has a serious problem with a product, shouldn't they threaten the ad revenue? In fact, wouldn't that be a good thing?

    Follow me here:

    1. Team isn't covered much anymore.
    2. Parent complains about lack of coverage.
    3. Staffer explains that cutbacks have forced coverage cuts across the board, and this is one result.
    4. Parent calls advertising department and threatens ad revenue loss because of the situation.
    5. Advertising department sees a clear example of how staff cutbacks can lead to advertising revenue streams slowing.
    6. Advertising and Editorial now come to Publishing with the same contention.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I have a problem with people threatening ad revenue because East Podunk Catholic isn't being covered.

    Advertisers place ads to reach an audience. With resources being cut, the sports staff has to cover what they can to appeal to the most people as possible. The small schools don't cut the mustard in that scenario.

    So the jerk parent is an idiot when it comes to business and advertising since they don't know what the ultimate purpose of an ad is.
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