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Anyone else getting bombarded by angry parents?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by FuturaBold, May 8, 2008.

  1. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    Gosh, guys. I really hate to break this to you.

    This phenomenon is not limited to sports.

    Try explaining to a business owner why the brief he submitted needs to be turned over to advertising. Or why a brief didn't run in the business section due to a lack of space.

    They're everywhere.

    *heavy sigh*
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Both teams were in our primary coverage area. We pitched it as a battle of unbeaten teams. Plus, the small-school team really was a good team, and we thought they had a shot at winning. It was the biggest game of the day, so that's why we sent the staffers.

    Thing is, we were damned if we did, and damned if we didn't. Last I checked, sportswriters aren't the ones playing the games. It's not our fault that the game became a blowout.
  3. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    I get a parent being disappointed that something isn't in the paper when they hoped it would be. But what I don't get is the leap that it takes to get from there to the irrational demand that the kid/team "deserves" coverage.

    I played soccer in high school and all my local paper ever did was a call-in roundup. Never staffed games until the playoffs started. I got my name in the paper a couple times, which was a thrill, but I never felt like I "deserved" it, or that my team was being slighted if other games were highlighted.

    Seems like the big issue with the spring sports is that in many areas they don't generate anywhere near the amount of attention as football or basketball. I think there's some jealously going on with a lot of spring sports parents. If Johnny Jock is a stud football player, he gets featured all the time. If he's a stud baseball player or tennis player, there aren't nearly as many people interested or attending the games. Little bit of an inferiority complex, I think.
  4. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    This may sound like I'm a pointy-headed Gannettoid, but here I go...

    Would it help if the paper, perhaps in conjunction with the schools in the coverage area, had a seminar, say, twice a year, to explain to parents how coverage decisions are made, who is expected to call in scores, the best way and time to get a hold of reporters, etc., and then have a Q&A afterword?

    I can hear it already -- isn't that inviting parents to bitch at me for two hours? Maybe. But parents (and many coaches) don't know exactly how an item gets into the paper. And maybe the coaches can explain, too, that college recruiters usually aren't looking at newspaper clips (they're looking at YouTube?) to make their decisions. This wouldn't be a session where you get to wag your finger at parents, but an open-arms discussion of how things work. There might be some kvetching, and it wouldn't prevent every call. But at least now parents would get some insight, get to know you, and get everybody's concerns out when tempers aren't so hot.

    One of the most important things would be not falling into the trap of arguing with parents or overly complaining about your limited resources. However, there would be ways to do this skillfully without being confrontive.

    As I say, it wouldn't solve every problem, and some of most unreasonable people will be unreasonable. But I wonder if this would defuse some tension, and even get some parents on your side.
  5. Bill Brasky

    Bill Brasky Active Member

    The problem is the people who are the worst pain-in-the-asses about that kind of stuff would never ever go to a workshop on how to deal with the media.
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    In a way, I wish I were bombarded by angry parents. It'd mean people are reading my newspaper.
  7. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    We're in the home stretch, boys and girls.
  8. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    JBHawkEye, do you work for the Hawk Eye in Burlington?
    I graduated from Danville back in 1987 and Central College in Pella in 1991. Work out in Ohio now.
    I often tell baseball and softball coaches and ADs about how Iowa has its baseball and softball in the summer. At first, they look at me with a perplexed expression, but most, after thinking about it, say they would like Ohio to do the same. Never once saw one our games in Iowa postponed or cancelled because of snow, but I've seen it happen in Ohio.

    I also tell them about how Iowa (at least when I played) lets kids who graduate eighth grade play on the high school team, basically giving that kid five seasons worth of baseball or softball. That really throws them. And, yes, I did that. I moved to town my eighth grade year too late for the cutoff to play Pony League, but the high school coach told me I could play on the high school team once I graduated eighth grade and officially became a freshman. It was a great five years.
  9. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    I work for two papers in Ohio (long story, better suited for another topic thread).
    The parents of a softball player at one our area schools keep sending us E-mails about how we don't cover (as in actually attend a game and send a photographer, as opposed to the round-ups and boxscores we've printed EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEIR GAMES) their daughter's team. The father even grilled us once on why we didn't have their game in the schedule (it was an oversight, I believe because of a weather-related rescheduling) because -- get this -- he used it to know when his daughter's team played. I suppose asking the coach or daughter for a schedule was out of the question.
    Of course, said daughter's team is one of the worst in the area and not worth the gas money it takes for the roundtrip of a writer and photographer to cover their sorry team.
    The parents even complained about how we didn't cover a win by their daughter's team over an area league team, which is, believe me, the WORST softball team you'd ever have the misfortune of seeing (THAT team's lone win this year snapped a 72-game losing streak).
    Did I mention the coach of the first team (the one with the parents who seem to think we shun their daughter's team, despite the round-ups and box scores from EVERY SINGLE GAME) sends in the boxscores of said team in alphabetical order.
    Yes, that's right. ALPHABETICAL order.
    And then, as with many coaches, it's left up to us to add up the totals.
  10. editorhoo

    editorhoo Member

    I think I feel your pain on this one. ;o)
  11. FuturaBold

    FuturaBold Member

    I'm afraid I've got you beat on worst softball team ever. I cover a school that won their first softball game this season in more than seven years. The team they beat is a first-year program. There was one year, a coach was telling me, the team didn't even SCORE.... take that ...
  12. Futura, the team you mention wouldn't happen to be from the local high school with the huge superiority complex, would it?
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