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Another reason to not watch local TV news

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HanSenSE, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    One of the girls basketball teams we cover is among the top teams in the state and usually spends most of its pre-league season at out-of-town invitationals, mostly to get good competition. However, with finals and the holiday season upon us, it played in a local tournament this year and drew a small-schools opponent in the first round. You can guess the result: One of those only-in-girls-basketball 100-point margins in which the losing team not only couldn't get out of single digits, but made just one field goal the whole game. It wasn't a run-it-up job, the winners lifted the press after 5 minutes, just a classic mismatch.

    Anyway, day after the game my phone rings. It's one of the local TV stations looking for a story on the game. And this is what bothers me: First they ask if we talked to anyone on the losing team and if they had any reaction. Uh, no ... they're from outside our area. Then they started asking if we had any contacts with the winning team. Of course I do, but I'll be damned if I'm sharing them with the TV guys in this market. So I say I have another story to work on and hang up, quickly!

    Sorry, TV guys, it's not my job to do your legwork, and if you don't have your own contact lists with local schools, I don't feel any obligation to share with you. You need to talk to someone at the schools, grab a phone book or Google it up. Or did you miss the day they taught that in J-school?
  2. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    TV guy here...

    Yes, I agree with your take on this.

    I can't say I ever called a newspaper sports writer "to dig for info" unless I have prior contact with that person.

    No, it's not your job to do the legwork. Not at all.

    However, I always found myself with plenty of assistance from just about every print reporter I came into contact with. The print reporters I'd run into were never afraid to drop a few hints or minor scoops my way.

    On the flip side, I'd often get those scores on the air for them by 10:19...especially if their deadline was 10:45 or so. Worked out well for both sides.
  3. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Exactly. I'll bail someone out with a score, and during the playoffs, I'm more than happy to lend a hand to an out-of-town paper that's not sending a reporter (since I've gotten the same courtesy from other papers -- passing it forward, so to speak) ... but pumping me for souces? Send me one day's pay and you've got a deal.

    Saw the story on their website eventually.It looks like it was done by one of their news reporters, since most of the sports guys were at Podunk State's bowl game.

    They did what they should have in the first place, head out to the second day of the tournament with a crew, talked to the winning team's coach, and a player and the coach of the team that was playing that night, but not the team that got beaten badly. If they didn't want to be on camera, they didn't mention that ... but they should have.
  4. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    At one of my former shops, there were two local-yokel TV stations that covered high school sports and we used to delight in giving them inaccurate information when they'd call to ask us for stuff. Used to happen every Friday night during football and basketball season. I don't think they ever caught on.

    But one of my recent favorites is a web startup in my area that asked us if we could give them a phone list for all the local football coaches. Sorry fellas, I have a tough enough time getting that info together myself. You're on your own. I don't mind helping someone if it's mutually beneficial, or if I can tell they're in a bind. At one place I worked we covered a league where three of the schools were in our coverage area and three others were covered by another nearby paper. We'd trade facts and figures with them on a regular basis ... if one of their teams came in to play one of ours and they weren't staffing it, we'd toss them a box score, and they'd do the same for us.

    But if it's obvious you've made no attempt to assemble information on your own, I'm not going to help you. You don't do a story by calling another media outlet for information.
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