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Complaint calls

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I'm starting to wonder if there are some complaint calls and e-mails that I shouldn't even bother answering.
    The ones I'm talking about are the ones that wonder why there's no news about their kids' team in the paper (usually because we couldn't get results from the coach that week) and the ones where something is in the paper, but I didn't make as big a deal out of it as the reader felt I should have made out of it (We can't make a big deal out of everything. If you do, it loses it's meaning after a while and I'm not really a "shout it from the mountaintops" kind of guy).
    It seems to me that no matter what I tell them, they're still going to think the same thing: that I don't think their kid's team is important enough. One phone call a few years ago lasted 40 minutes. I couldn't change the caller's mind. The caller couldn't change my mind. Sometimes I wonder what good comes of these calls. The only reason I bother to answer them is because I know if I don't they'll eventually go over my head, but if the reader is going to look at whatever I tell them as a lame excuse, might it be better to say nothing?
    I know that many coaches won't discus playing time with parents. For many of the same reasons would it be reasonable to say I won't discus how things are covered with parents?
  2. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    I had an argument like this with a high school coach once. It was really ridiculous: I was calling her to set up an interview with her star player and she ripped into me for ignoring her and her team up to that point. The situation was that our regular beat writer had been hospitalized and we had been slow to pick up the slack.

    She said that wasn't acceptable and that if our pro football writer got sick, we wouldn't ignore the NFL. Then she gave me the spiel about how we were hurting her kids' shot at getting scholarships.

    I ended up hanging up on her. I still did the story, but expanded it to a feature on the two top players in the league, plus a sidebar on how the one had overcome a devastating injury (basically, a Joe Theismann-type injury). I wrote 30 inches total on the two stories and didn't mention the coach's name at all, which I suspected would really bother her the most.
  3. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Active Member

    There are some people you just can't convince. You can explain everything to them, and it goes in one ear and out the other (mostly because there's nothing in between).

    State your case, professionally. If they don't listen, move on.
  4. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Not knocking this thread. Just saying there's lots of people here who feel your pain...

  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

  6. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Well played. I'll bet you're right.
  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Well, that is the reason. If they don't like it, oh well.
  8. My most effective line of late: If you're son/daughter/grandchild is playing sports looking to get in the newspaper, they are doing it for the wrong reasons.
  9. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    taking that approach is cheap and petty, but damn, it sure does make a guy feel good when he kicks ass with the story.
  10. Damaramu

    Damaramu Member

    Unfortunately my publisher sticks up for the nutjobs.

    We had a kid doing well in cross country. I covered it as much as possible. There were more cross country stories than there had been in previous years.

    I was constantly attacked by this one kids mother for never going to the out of town meets. She tried to tell me they're fun and like a big party!

    Well she was basically mad I didn't talk about her daughter enough. I talked to the cross country coach and he said the girl didn't want to do an interview. She hated talking to the paper because she was afraid of saying something dumb and she just didn't like the attention.

    I go back and tell my publisher and he says "That's what the coach says! That's all according to him!" Like the guy is telling me one big lie.

    So I go back and interview the girl and you know what I get? "Yes." and "Ummm.......I guess." to all my questions. And they weren't even yes or no questions!
  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    The simple answer to that complaint is: You're right. We screwed up. We're trying to make up for it now, if you will let us.

    And if that doesn't buy you some civility, fuck 'em.
  12. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Send them a signed picture of your balls. They'll love it (them).
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