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Dear dimwit on the phone

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

  1. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Family-owned paper?
  2. Kolchak

    Kolchak Active Member

    I don't remember if I already mentioned this or not, but a reader thought Pro Sports Team was playing badly because we kept writing about how bad they were. So we need to be more positive and they'll start winning. His words.
  3. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I'm reminded of when I worked in Arizona, getting a letter to the editor complaining a story we ran on the Diamondbacks was too negative and we should fire the writer. It was a bylined story from Mel Reisner of AP.
  4. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    I don't miss the phone calls from readers wanting to talk with the person who wrote an article who didn't get the concept that the article was from AP and the reporter didn't work in our office.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Whenever I get those about the local high school teams I always respond with, "I work with what you give me."
    SFIND, jlee, fossywriter8 and 2 others like this.
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    How much overtime pay do you have to allocate to this project?
    Batman and Baron Scicluna like this.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Thankfully, it wasn't mentioned again.
    We did one a few years ago, might have been eight pages, when one of our teams reached the football state championship game. We had a season's worth of game stories, features and pictures to repackage for that one, though. I can't imagine trying to fill 16 pages with a minor sport that only competed in five or six meets that we'd barely covered. Even with a couple of hastily-produced features and lots of pictures and ads we'd still have been 8 or 10 pages short.
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Saw the subhead on this story and of course thought of this thread.
  9. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    I bet this story will get some kids scholarships!
    OscarMadison and HanSenSE like this.
  10. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    A year or two ago, some guy in town started up a web site to compete with our paper. Dude mostly hustles after scanner calls, which I'll give him credit for. Day or night, he seems to find time to drop what he's doing and chase down every wreck or crime in town, usually accompanied by a Facebook Live video and a story relatively light on details. He's largely a one-man operation on that stuff, and I don't know how he finds the energy to do it.

    Several things about his operation annoy the shit out of me, though.
    He likes to mention we're not locally owned (we were bought by a chain in 2013 after more than a century of local family ownership) as if everyone working at the paper is operating in another state. Our shortest-tenured person in the newsroom has been there two or three years, which might be the longest we've gone without any turnover in my 20-plus years here.
    We also had a kerfluffle a while back with a fatal wreck where we had a picture of the car -- a black SUV in a ditch that could have been any one of a hundred black SUVs in town -- posted to Facebook with our story, and people treated it as if we posted a picture of a bloody body.sS While shooting his video from up the street, Web Site Guy tried to take the high road by saying, "Unlike other news outlets, we don't show the vehicle." Not two weeks prior there was a shooting where he was early on the scene and he posted pictures of them loading the corpse into the coroner's van. A few weeks before that there was a non-fatal wreck where he was practically filming from inside the car.
    He's friendly when I see him around town, but I want to kick him in the balls. His entire operation was founded on the premise that we suck and any schmoe can do what we do, and do it better. He doesn't do it better. It's an insult.

    Now he's branched out by hiring a sports guy who is absolutely terrible. Bad or mediocre writing is one thing, but this guy offers no details in his stories, gets facts wrong (he posted a preview story about a game played on Thursday, and among many mistakes was including that it would be played on Friday at a different field), regularly spells names wrong, the works. All stuff that if we did it, people would rightly roast us for. But instead people pat him on the head and say, "Good job! Great story!"
    Every like and "attaboy" this guy gets kills my faith in humanity.
    OscarMadison and cyclingwriter2 like this.
  11. NNDman

    NNDman Member

    What continues to make me shake my head is how two human beings watching the same football game cannot come close with final stats and scoring plays. I have 12 teams in two leagues and once district play begins I typically get two reports on each game (one from each team) although some teams don't track the opponent's stats for some reason. Here's an example: Team A reports the game's first TD as being a 12-yard run. Team B reports it as a 17-yard run. I covered a game a few weeks ago in which both teams also emailed their stats. I had the winning team with 222 total yards. The losing team reported 212 yards for the opposition (close). The winning team? 297 yards!!!
    MNgremlin likes this.
  12. stix

    stix Active Member

    Oh man, that's the worst.

    We have a guy who does that to some extent in my town, too. I'm in a fairly large city, so it may be different, but this guy is always on social media ripping our crime reporters, etc. He often throws out erroneous reports and jumps the gun on shit when he doesn't have it right, and he's always in the comments when we post stuff on social media.

    I'm not that bothered by it (also cause I'm the SE and this guy doesn't do any sports stuff), but our editors get annoyed, and rightfully so. You've got some guy posing as a reporter getting all sorts of shit incorrect about crime stories and such. Not that I excuse mistakes in a sports story, but if you mess up some sames and locations in a football preview, it's not gonna hurt the greater good of the community. But mis-reporting crime stuff can be dangerous. He's thrown stuff out on social before that creates inaccurate stuff to spread like wildfire. I guess with social media, any idiot thinks they can do our job.

    Frankly, I'm so short-staffed that I'd probably be happy if this guy volunteered to write me a state XC preview or something.
    OscarMadison and Batman like this.
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