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At what point should you as a reporter point out the wrong call was made?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Spartan Squad, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    Here's the scenario:

    During a high school tennis match, a kid hits a shot that goes into the corner, but stays in by a few inches. The opponent who was running down the ball hesitates a few seconds then eventually says it was out. The point would have been the 40th (on a 15, 30, 40, 45 scale) and he did score the next point which would have given him a 5-4 match lead. The ball was more than clearly in and I even got a player on the player's team that benefited from the missed call to admit the ball was called wrong.

    Here's the question:

    Do you speak up during the match that the wrong call was made? I don't know how it's done elsewhere, but here in CA there are no line judges, it's up to the players to police themselves. What makes it even worse, the kid who missed the call went on to win the game and pulled off the set to clinch match not only for him but for the team (it finished as a 4-3 win for that team instead of a 4-3 for the home team). Is there such a time when you should speak up? Is it ever appropriate? I, obviously, didn't speak up and the coach was irate afterword because he knew the call was blown. What would you do?
  2. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    You can't say anything during the game. The reporter, no matter what, cannot influence the outcome of the game. Period.

    Want to point it out in your story? By all means.
  3. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    The coach should speak to the official if he wants to argue a call. It's certainly not a reporter's place to do that.

    If for some reason its incumbent on spectators to do this, which seems insane anyway, I'd leave it to parents and others. Not the reporter.
  4. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's your place to speak up during competition. That's the coach's job.

    I do, however, believe you should report particularly egregious calls in a game story, but only if it factored into the result. The problem with that is the officials almost never are available for comment, which really isn't fair.
  5. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    There are no officials there. With seven matches going on at the same time, there's just no way to expect those things to get enough officials to man the game. Even one couldn't see everything. The coach said it's up to a player to protest a call and ask for someone to act as a line judge, be it a coach, parent, teammate or whom ever. In this case the player was too timid to argue.
  6. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Geez, WHY is this considered a varsity sport? What a joke. Sames goes with making JV volleyball girls call the backline. Just BS.
  7. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    I've never covered tennis with officials on each court, and I've covered it in three different states. I actually can't think of a regular season match where I saw one. Even state tournaments I've worked haven't had them across the board.
  8. TopSpin

    TopSpin Member

    If you’re there as a reporter, then just report and steer clear of becoming an official. The minute you start down that road, you become part of the story.

    I agree with DeskMonkey1 and would put the details you described in the story. Use that platform to point out the lack of line judges.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I believe call-your-own has been the standard in youth tennis for quite some time. I remember stories about the junior John McEnroe being well-known for favoring his opponent, to his own detriment, if the call was at all close. I do not know the setup of tennis now, but this wouldn't be unusual for the history of the game.

    However, I call bullshit on your (or anyone's) belief that you can state as fact that the ball was in and the call was wrong. Nobody can say that without video evidence.
  10. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I disagree with your second statement. If the call was clearly wrong and you're 100 percent sure, you are obligated to report your observations, especially if the call impacted the result. Otherwise, why are you even there?
  11. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    100 percent sure is impossible.

    Go see how many baseball coaches, or reporters, or fans are "100 percent sure" that the runner beat the throw to the bag at a high school game. Some of them would even be from the other side.

    It is absurd to think you can sit there and be the undisputed word on something like that.
  12. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    100 percent sure is not impossible. Don't be ridiculous.

    In baseball, I've seen players called out at home when they touched the base before the ball even got to the plate. Foot on plate, ball not there.

    In football, I've observed a player step out of bounds, then go on to score a touchdown because the referee missed it.

    In hockey, I've seen a high stick hit a player's face that wasn't called.

    In basketball, I've seen a basket called as good when it clearly came up short and moved the net, but the referee had the worst possible angle at it.

    This reporter saw a ball in a tennis match land clearly in bounds. If you're not reporting that, you are not doing your job.
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