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Barry Bonds headlines (real ones)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Chi City 81, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Unless you ran a column addressing such issues to complement the coverage.
  2. pallister

    pallister Guest

    I already said almost that exact thing last night. Our original plan had the asterisk used as part of a staff-generated column on 1A, and, as was discussed between News and Sports, that would allow Sports to stick to the historic/news aspect of No. 756, with any bells and whistles (graphics, info boxes and such) they wanted to use. They were completely separated. Ultimately, space issues on 1A led to us just running the column with a regular headline and subhead.
  3. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    I am torn on the astericks.
    In the historical perspective, no matter what happens, he has this record. As hard as people try, they can't take that away. Even if he's convicted of some drug charge, can they go back and say the record isn't yours? You going to take the home runs away? If you do, you're goign to end up taking a lot of stats away from a lot of people, and of course, you can't really do that because he hit the homer, it happened. The outcome of the game was effected. You going to go back change team's W-L? World Series?
    So historically, when we look back in 20 years (and A-Rod doesn't break the record), it's in the books as Barry Bonds. So the timeless quality of the page should be there.

    But on the other hand, we are relevant to the day. That's who we are and what we are. Next week, the fact Tiger hasn't won a major this year heading into the PGA is irrelevant, as is yesterday's Brewers' score. But both make the paper. It's not about the timelessness quality so much as about relevance. The fact is today, even as Bonds blast the homer, the cloud surrounds him. That's just as relevant as the home run.

    So, not really sure where this leads me, but I think if it's my choice, I leave the astericks out.
  4. aeroking

    aeroking Member

    If you think there's no place for an asterisk, or some other expression of the bigger picture with Bonds passing Aaron, you might as well go into PR. We wonder why newspapers are out of touch with readers. How many of our readers' first reaction was, "cool, there's a new home run king," and not "who cares, he's on roids" or "sucks that the roids issue will keep dogging him." I'm guessing next to none. Either way, the home run was inevitable, the issue that surrounds it is exactly what every newspaper should have been tackling.
    Congrats to the NY Post and Daily News for taking it on, and Bakersfield for really doing so in a pretty clever way (asterisk as a refer to another story).
    This isn't 1955, when newspapers were the final word on yesterday's news. We need to help jumpstart conversation and make our readers turn to us for a reason other than reporting straight news.
  5. MertWindu

    MertWindu Active Member

    Oh spare me. Maybe we're supposed to "start the conversation," but not with pure assumption and conjecture. Putting an asterisk suggests that the record counts only conditionally, and at the moment, that is false. It is an official record, and until Major League Baseball wipes it off the books, it stays an official record. I don't like it, I'm 98 percent sure Bonds took PEDs, and I wish he didn't own the record. But he does, and we don't get to make blanket statements with elements of our copy that are news-oriented to say he doesn't. An asterisk doesn't suggest suspicion, it suggests fallacy. Until you have proof that the record is false, you are infringing on the ethics upon which we base our work.
  6. The Charleston Post and Courier did something like that. 756 with an asterisk, and then:

    Bonds creams record homer,
    clears Aaaron on all-time list

  7. Yikes.

    Hope they spelled Aaron correctly, at least.
  8. Yes they did.
  9. fromdawntodesk

    fromdawntodesk New Member

    This story is NOT about a home run. And it's NOT about whether Barry Bonds did, in fact, take steroids, although his well-documented admission to using substances widely known as the clear and the cream sure suggest he did.

    756 was about a record, perhaps the greatest record in sports, a record set with honor, falling to a man nearly universally BELIEVED, if not understood, to have set it through illicit and unfair means. The asterisk used in many papers merely represents the almost unanimous doubt about the record's integrity. It doesn't say, "Yeah, but he cheated." Any decent headline writer can expand on the asterisk in a deck in such a way that clarifies it responsibly.

    Doubt permeates this record. It will forever, no matter what happens next, no matter what Bonds' defense, no matter the evidence, no matter even if that evidence were entirely on his side, which it's not.

    To fail to acknowledge that doubt in the headline is to fail to acknowledge the real story. You're not convicting the guy of anything; you're choosing not to ignore the elephant in the room.

    You think if Mark McGwire -- who, by the way, never explicitly said he used steroids -- came back next season and hit 74 homers, that any paper in the country would simply swoon and run with "74!"?
  10. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    For as long as this event has been inevitable, the question of "Is this record legitimate?" has been changed to "Would you put an asterisk on this record?" By putting the asterisk in the first thing readers see, many readers may think the publication is taking a stance of recognizing the record as illegitimate.
  11. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald: Front page refer under flag: 756 with Bonds pic in color, Aaron in gray screen.
    Head on sports front: Clear the way for new HR king
    Subhead: Bonds creams historic No. 756 deep into the night
    Surrounding the story: asterisks with the explanation that they totaled the number of homers he'd hit since 2001, when he hit 73. Separated by years, too.

    Chicago Sun-Times: Front page refer at bottom: Broken record / Bonds hits no. 756
    Sports front: Broken record, with a picture of Aaron hitting No. 715 and a mini-editorial saying "Bonds' feat has forever tarnished the most hallowed mark in American sports." (Guess they're not betting on Rodriguez to keep homering.)

    Chicago Tribune: Sports front: 756* The blot heard 'round the world

    Daily Southtown: Front page: New HR King: Bonds hits No. 756
    Sports front: 756 / Hammerin' Hank's home run record bites the dust / Bonds launches historic shot into right-center field

    Four ways to handle it in Chicago. But wasn't it dead center? AP said right center too.
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