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Coach reaction

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by frogscribe, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. frogscribe

    frogscribe Member

    Putting this out for the board.
    I don't think I did anything wrong - just doing my job.
    But, I will let y'all decide.
    Situation:
    Last year I covered a state-champion softball team that had won 38 straight . This team had not lost a district game since 2006.
    This season, with only 3 returning starters from that team, it finally lost a district game. Not only that, but it lost at its new 3-year-old home field for the first time.
    In the opening paragraphs, I mention the loss was (team name)s first district loss since 2006 and first-ever loss on its 3-year-old field.
    A week later, I am covering the team, and after the game the coach took the girls into right field to give his usual post-game talk. When the talk is finished, I ask the coach (a guy I have always got along with) if he is ready to talk. He says yes, but asks me to keep my recorder off so he can say something to me.
    In an uncharacteristic fit (this coach is always Joe Cool) he said I hurt his girls' feelings with my last article (we are a weekly).
    Coach: "Why did you need to write that they had not lost a district game since 2006? That is not THAT team. This is a new team. Why do you have to be a drama writer? Does that make you feel big, to hurt these girls' feelings. They feel horrible after writing that article, especially after you reminded everyone that they were the team that got the first loss on our field. Such drama."
    Me (in a state of disbelief): "Coach, I just stated those facts to show how strong the program has been. I was just doing my job. You know I support the girls and always have. I can't help it that it was misinterpreted."
    He then gave me his usual patient, informative interview. We have talked since and it has not come up. What is strange is that I had a 20-minute conversation with him before that game, and we were in an area where no one was around (which begs the question, why didn't he say anything to me then?). When he was chewing me out his girls could see us. I think he only said anything to me because of what some of the girls said (most are sophs and juniors, and his daughter plays on the team) and he wanted to show them he was backing them up.
    I always give a coach on incident before I act on it. I have never had a coach who went to two incidents with me, and honestly, in 15 years there was only one other similar situation.
    I say I did my job and handled his bitching quite well.
    But I will leave up to y'all.
    What does the board think?
     
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I think you shouldn't have said "You know I support the girls and always have."
     
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think the girls felt bad after being the first to lose and he tried to stick up for them in a public display with you as the bad guy.

    Look, you are going to write things that people aren't going to like. As long as you are fair and accurate, you should let the ruffled feathers slide off your back.

    The coach sounds like he is letting it go. You shouldn't worry and shouldn't let it affect your writing in the future.

    Look at it the other way. If the team had set a state record of winning 100 games in a row over 4 seasons, would you refuse to mention it because it wasn't this team that won the first 87? No.

    Keep it up.

    (Oh, and I agree with IJAG on the other thing).
     
  4. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Active Member

    I thought that, too.

    Other than that, nothing wrong with stating the fact in your story. In this business, facts often make people unhappy. But that's how it goes.
     
  5. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Yeah, I definitely cringed when I read that.
     
  6. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    I'll fifth that. But you're fine, and hotshot coach wanted to make a point. All is well.
     
  7. frogscribe

    frogscribe Member

     
  8. frogscribe

    frogscribe Member

    I think I just goofed up my last post
     
  9. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Was 2008's team 2006's team?
     
  10. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    I'm at a small newspaper, too, frog, but I don't tell people I "support" the teams I cover. Saying things like that will make people go off the deep end when you have to write about something negative, because they'll wonder why you're "not supporting the kids."
     
  11. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    frog, we've all worked at small papers, and some still do. You may feel closer to some kids than others, you may wish good things for them. But you can't say it, because like Barsuk said, they come to expect something different from you.

    Other than that, you did everything right. The fact had to be mentioned.
     
  12. frogscribe

    frogscribe Member

    Good point. Again, it probably came out of my mouth because I was in shock that it was brought up (my post on this matter was accidently double-posted by myself and appears as a quote).
    No emails or phone calls about the matter, just the coach complaining to me.
     
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