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Column about obnoxious / abusive fans

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ColbertNation, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    I need thoughts on something that happened this past weekend. We're a six-day a.m. that doesn't publish on Saturdays, so all of our Friday night games go in Sunday's paper. My reporter came back from the boys game Friday between Team A (home) and Team B (road), which are bitter rivals (always makes for a good story). He told me that the fans were particularly horrible at the game, especially team B's. They were shouting obscenities at the refs all night, and the JV squad was flipping off the home fans. After the game, Team B's fans apparently started dogging their own players, telling them they had played "like girls." I told him to write a column about it, which he did (he actually stayed until 2 a.m., writing that and his gamer).
    When I got into the office on Saturday and told my EIC about it, she cringed -- not about the crowd, but about the fact that I told him to write a column. Long story short, the column didn't run today. She doesn't want to run it without some kind of verification from one of the coaches or a school administrator, preferably from Team B. Is it just me, or is this just the biggest slap in the face to my reporter? He's reporting what he saw and heard and basically being told that his word isn't good enough. The thing is, who is going to verify this? Team A isn't going to tell the paper that their bitter rivals were behaving like chowderheads, and Team B certainly isn't going to say that about their own fans.
    To me, my EIC is just being over-cautious. I trust my reporter, and would like to run the column (which didn't name any individuals, but referred only to the fans in general).
  2. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    No quotes from fans, players, coaches, security?
  3. ECrawford

    ECrawford Member

    What you call timid, I'd call responsible. Any decent column about this event would quote someone from Team B reacting to the abuse or its own players actions, and preferably some of the fans, too.

    Regardless, it sounds like something that needs more than one voice, especially if a reporter is writing it -- even as a column.

    As a reporter, I never had any luck being my own source. That whole pesky matter of attribution, you know. Just because you see or know something doesn't mean you get to run it into print. That's what separates us from the, well, whoever it is we are separated from. If this situation was so heated and overwhelming, why was it not the focus of the gamer, anyway?

    But I've sure been in your shoes. And I've complained. And I've had editors tell me if I wanted to get it in, then to get off my lazy ass and get it cold. It's a good lesson to learn. If a kid flips off a bunch of fans in a game setting, it's a good idea to ask the kid, his coach and maybe some of those fans about it.
  4. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    Team B's coach refused to comment on anything after the game b/c they lost.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    ColbertNation pulls out a missile and destroys his credibility with the EIC.

    I'd suggest scrapping the column, updating your resume and sticking yourself with a fork because you're done.
  6. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    DyePack, you wound me.
  7. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    Did the players have anything to say about it? What about the AD, principal or superintendent?
  8. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    who the fuck cares what the AD thinks at this point? the writer saw what s/he saw and if s/he's comfortable writing a column, write the damned column. a different writer should do the follow with quotes from both sides.

    btw dog, your editor slapped you in the face, not the writer, and she has no desire for her newsroom to come off as a "real" paper. at my place, only one topic is off limits ... shit that isn't true. but, our writers also gotta live with what they write.
  9. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    Truth isn't relative when it comes to making subscribers happy. Just nice, positive news about our kids!
  10. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Your first mistake was running to the EIC. That's gotten many a piece of mine killed through no fault of my own. Do your own fact-checking and trust your judgment.

    It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
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