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Dear dimwit on the phone

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Starman, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Some Sections in California started play this week, the rest will follow next week. Regular season ends around Halloween. Temps may still be in triple digits in the Central Valley until the end of September, plus air quality issues.

    Whole idea is to get Section playoffs, then state bowls and finals, done by mid-December.
    maumann likes this.
  2. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    In Oregon, prep football has gone to a state ranking system quite a few years back and since then most leagues have split into divisions. The result being that the non conference games are every bit as important as the league games as far as landing a spot in the playoff bracket. Most teams here will play 5-6 non league games and 3-4 league games.

    I like the switch. Meaningful games every Friday.
  3. Tweener

    Tweener Well-Known Member

    A guy emailed me the other day to ask why he found only light coverage of a team that hasn’t won a game since 2016. Compared it to the heavier coverage of a team that has lost twice over that same period.

    Come on, man.
  4. Dog8Cats

    Dog8Cats Active Member

    That ain't fall. Damn right. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Glad to know I'm not alone - but I was at seemingly every place I worked.
    bueller and Batman like this.
  5. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    Learning to read a calendar is hard, apparently.
  6. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    That happens a lot in my area. The fans from the county seat school demand the paper be a homer rag for that school and that school only, and complain bitterly when there's *any* positive coverage of the outlying county schools (who have similar-sized communities and similar enrollments, and have subscribers to the paper, too), even though one of those hasn't lost a regular season game in seven years and the county seat school is coming off an 0-10 season.

    Many, many emails to my desk used to end with YOU ARE THE [CENTRAL CITY] PAPER whenever we had coverage that was more favorable about the outlying county teams. I always responded with, "we are located here, but we have subscribers throughout the entire county and cover all four schools equitably, without favoring one ... and two of the other schools are from communities as big as yours." That tends to placate most, but the town is really parochial and way too many people have a "if you're not 100 percent for us, you're against us" mentality.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  7. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    "You're the Podunk Times!" emails would come in occasionally after I dared to go over and cover a game at the county's only other high school. I only ever did that when Podunk High had the night off. So these insecure jerks felt threatened by coverage I only was able to offer about four to six days a year (in person; the coaches were great about sending stuff over the rest of the time).
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    News side too. At my last stop, when I was on news desk, both Hometown High and Next Biggest Town High had their graduations the same night. We gave Hometown a big spread on the cover and Next Biggest Town a similar-sized spread on the B section front, with a skybox teaser. Next day, unfortunately, I was on the end of a telephone tirade from an irate Hometown High mama, because she had planned to laminate the front page for her graduated spawn, but we ruined it for her with the skybox tease.
  9. SFIND

    SFIND Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I sometimes have to do the exact opposite and remind some readers of the (much smaller) county schools that we are the Hometown Newspaper and not the Podunk Village Newspaper. I get occasional complaints about covering Hometown High -- which is over triple the enrollment of the next-biggest high school -- and not covering one of the Podunks.
  10. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Well, I unwittingly stepped in it this week and angered the Dimwit Facebook Hordes.

    County High and City High are playing their rivalry game this week. As usual, I wrote a preview story specific to each team, instead of a broader overview of the game. For a couple of reasons (biggest being I was having a hard time catching up to City High's coach), the County High preview ran on Wednesday. It was rather mundane. If anything, it dwelled on County High getting blown out last week. The thrust of the article was that playing a rivalry game was a good opportunity to snap out of the funk from that loss because the players would be more amped up and focused this week.
    When the story was posted to our Facebook page, all hell broke loose.
    Some City High fans -- one in particular, who riled up the masses and turned into the Pitchfork and Torch Distribution Specialist -- started ripping the story as "biased" and seemed to think it was going to stand as the only preview for the game. When I tried to head it off quickly and point out that the City High preview was coming later in the week, it inspired conspiracy theories about how I personally have always hated City High, our paper has always had a bias toward them, how I "degraded" and was "disrespectful" toward City High in the County High preview story, how we weren't really going to run anything until people made a stink, etc.

    Among the gems:
    • Someone ending their post with "#ShameOnYouBatman"
    • A person repeatedly insisting "he got his facts wrong" by citing facts that were in the story
    • Someone insisting that I never planned to write a City High preview, even though we've done it this way for years and I write one about them every week.
    • The usual "You should support both schools!" argument, even as they claim the story is overly biased toward one of them.
    • Someone wondering why the picture with the story was from last week's game instead of, apparently, a game that hasn't been played yet.
    • After I posted that the City High preview would be published on Friday, people asking why I would publish it on game day. We're in Week 3 of the season and have run at least one preview every Friday. I think last week or the week before it was even County High's preview.
    • Long-held grievances about how I've been a jerk in interviews that, to the best of my recollection, have no basis in fact. I pride myself on professionalism and don't have any major problems that I know of with the coaches in town.
    • A City High grad who worked as an ad rep at our paper for at least 10 years, a lot of them with me, claiming there is a long-running institutional bias against City High dating back to when he was in high school in the 1980s.
    • Another person blaming me for bringing down the quality of the entire school district that both schools are a part of.
    • Other general potshots at the quality of our paper.

    Where I stepped in it was letting the social media rock hit me just right between the eyes. I should have just let it go, run the second story, and let it fade and I didn't.
    My weekly column runs on Thursday, so as this was unfolding yesterday I took the opportunity yesterday to address it. I sarcastically mentioned that I must really hate City High if I've written hundreds of stories about them winning games and titles over the years (probably my biggest mistake; I'm not sure the snark came through clear enough in print), reiterated how and why we run two previews for this game, and wrapped it up with how social media is a wonder of modern evil.
    As you can imagine, it went over like a loud, juicy fart during the quiet part of church.
    Today people (including a couple of players from City High) are taking some personal shots at me and my appearance, calling my column childish (probably fair; I should have taken the high road in hindsight) and continuing on the other themes from yesterday.

    Where this whole thing has really gotten under my skin is with how stupid and ignorant it all is. If I'd written something controversial, gotten something blatantly wrong, misquoted someone, I could understand it. If it's on me like that I'll suck it up and take the heat. But to have something blow up like this over a run of the mill football preview story is so asinine that it's infuriating.
    I want to reach through the screen and strangle some of these people for being so stupid or, failing that, respond to all of them individually and point out their stupidity. I know that'll only make it worse, though. The mob has spoken. Twenty years of trying to build a solid reputation in this town and in 48 hours it feels like it's all been flushed away over something I still can't grasp how anyone could possibly have been upset about in any way, shape or form.

    People suck.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  11. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    If it’s any consolation, your relationships and hard work over the past 2 decades have not been flushed down the toilet. Not by a long shot.

    I’m assuming this is the first time you’ve interacted with any of these — hmm, let’s be delicate — shitstains on the good name of humanity? If so, fuck em. If anyone only cares when they’re mad, they don’t care.
    OscarMadison, SFIND and Batman like this.
  12. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Most of them. Some of them, I recognize their names as former athletes. Some of the things they're saying I did -- and it's nothing sleazy, just "He was rude when he interviewed me," or "He wrote about A and B when C and D happened," that sort of thing -- I think they might be confusing me with some of our former writers and just swirling "the paper guy" into an amalgam character in their minds.
    One guy, for example, was talking about stomping on my toes with his cleats on the sideline of a football game, which I do remember. Someone followed up about how I was mad he wouldn't help me move a table for an interview, which I don't remember and isn't something I would probably even ask for help with. I'd just do it.

    It's just disturbing, I guess, because reading the comments is a little like eavesdropping on an unflattering conversation about yourself. I also hate it when people are mad at me and I don't know why, or they're mad at me for a stupid reason or a misunderstanding. Some of the stuff they're saying runs totally counter to how I've always tried to conduct myself and run our sports section, and it makes you wonder where the hell it's coming from. Are they confusing me with someone else? Is that how they perceive me or the paper, and my own perception of how I'm doing things is way off? Are they just feeding off the other comments?
    You want to point out how full of shit they are or ask them when this or that happened to try and set things right, and there's just no way to do it.

    FWIW, I had a good talk about it all with City High's coach on Wednesday when I finally caught up to him for our weekly interview. One of the people who posted something was his daughter, which he wasn't thrilled about. He graduated from City High in the 90s and explained it's a long-running inferiority complex the school has in regards to County High, especially when it comes to this game, and that filters through a lot of different aspects of life.
    That was before the column came out, but he hasn't sent me any angry texts or called me today, so I guess we're still OK. I'll find out for sure tomorrow if I'm standing on their sideline during the game and they start running power sweeps in my direction.

    Sorry for the long posts. I actively try to avoid situations like this and this is the first time I've ever really been here. It shakes you up a bit.
    Slacker, spikechiquet and jlee like this.
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