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Dealing With Access Restrictions To Players

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by EagleMorph, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. EagleMorph

    EagleMorph Member

    As a spin-off to the big beat/little beat thread, one of the major problems in working a big beat in the modern era is access. Gone are the days where you could snag a manager or player in the hotel lobby. Everything is now coordinated at the major college and professional level: Player availability, coach availability, assistant coach availability.

    And when they are available, you often have a pack of reporters surrounding each one. It's not a conducive environment to banging out that wonderful feature or off-day story you have in mind.

    So, how do you deal with access restrictions and get what you need?
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    If you're covering colleges, I would use the parents as a resource. You'd be surprised what kind of info you can get out of a parent who trusts you. Also, who better to vouch for you to the player? When I covered colleges, I got my best information from a couple parents who liked and trusted me because they liked the features I wrote on their kids.

    If you're covering a pro team, you should be making the rounds with the agents on a regular basis. A lot of the bigshots (Rosenhaus etc...) may not return your call, but sometimes it's the agent who only has a couple clients who can help you the most. There's give and take there, but if you're smart about it, you can usually use it to your advantage.

    There are some legendary beat writers who barely attend practice and still break more news than the others on the beat.
  3. JimmyOlson

    JimmyOlson Member

    I second Mizzou on parents of college players. Huge, huge source. Never underestimate, too, how much you can learn and report just by watching and observing. Being a reporter isn't just jotting down quotes from a press conference.
  4. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    After they know you, get numbers/email. You have to be able to reach players on your own to confirm a piece of news or whatever. That's the only way to circumvent restricted access.
  5. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    This -- and I'll add Facebook/Twitter to numbers/e-mail -- but choose your spots wisely.

    Don't circumvent on stupid, minor shit. You might blow your wad, so to speak, on something minor and can't go that route when you really need it for something major.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    There's one school where they have someone who goes through every player's FB and Twitter account to delete/block any member of the media who has friended or is following them. I'm guessing it's not the only place that does that.
  7. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    Players' families. Good source, but still third hand. I don't abuse the parents and call them for every little thing. Parents are like agents in the pro ranks.

    Of course, the perfect scenario is an assistant coach, but they are so scared for their jobs these days I guess, they are petrified to talk.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    When I covered colleges, I did a feature on a kid and I interviewed his mom for the story. This was an elite high school player and she said, "You're the first person to ever call me."

    She would call me anytime there was news. She was always right. Obviously, I would verify it elsewhere before running it, but the looks I would get from the coaches were absolutely priceless.

    One time I thought she was wrong and she said, "I'll have my son call you." He called me 10 minutes later and verified it.
  9. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    I love how coaches think their so smart and then they try and play it off like you don't have a source or say something like "your source is inaccurate."

    Some don't even know that parents talk to reporters. Coaches think that the media is a nuisance, they have no idea that the parents want everything in the paper and that it's important to them. Funny dynamic.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Boosters and regents are another big potential source when you're covering colleges. I know the thinking is that they'd never say something to damage "their" team, but there's a lot of egos there and you get one telling his cronies, "Watch me get something in the paper."
  11. Cape_Fear

    Cape_Fear Active Member

    I did a story and talked to a minor-league baseball player's parent this year and she ended up friends with me on facebook. She tipped me off that her son was possibly going to play in the Australian Pro League this winter, made for a nice note before the end of the season that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise since the organization didn't want to say anything about anybody's winter ball plans.
  12. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    There really not so smart?
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