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Desire to seek apology from player's parents

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

    I made a mistake in the weekly sports roundup I write on the only high school we cover.

    Instead of writing that Smith (not her real name), made fives saves in the second half, including a late diving save to preserve the tie, citing the coach for that information, I wrote that it was Jones (not her real name), the other goalkeeper.

    The mistake came because I was going too fast and was cutting and pasting instead of typing out the words.

    Smith's father, who is the president of the board of education emailed the publisher, writing, "really crappy reporting here and if it is coming from team managers, I think (the school's principal) should know about it, so I am copying him."

    Smith's mother, then wrote in saying, "I would think you ought not to bother reporting facts if they are not accurate to begin with."

    I am going to write to a correction, because that is the professional thing to do. I am also going to ask the publisher if I can write both parents, demanding an apology for their extreme criticism and telling them their daughter's name will not appear in my coverage until I receive a written apology from both of them.

    In my 13-plus years of writing these weekly roundups, I've just had enough abuse from these parents. If they had simply written to ask for a correction, that would have been fine. However, these parents went way too far in what they wrote to me and in contacting the principal.

    The parents in this community have far too much power. I don't seem to have any power. I want to have some power.

    Your thoughts?
  2. Parents can write the meanest things. If I were you, I'd hold your breath until they apologize.
  3. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    I would run the correction and ignore the parents. Nasty letters are part of the job so why let them rattle you? But, if the publisher gives you the green light to respond, I would have him or her read the letter before you send it.
  4. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    Write a short correction of one or two sentences and move forward. Be fair, ignore the parents but hold no grudges, let your work speak for itself.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    This is awesome moral high ground for someone who was in fact wrong in the first place.

    You should tell them that unless you get an apology, you're going to sneak into the bathroom and write "For a good time, call (Smith). Not (Jones). (Smith)."
  6. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

    I was planning to email the publisher the email to the parents before sending it to them. I won't send it to them until hearing from him.
  7. Mr. X

    Mr. X Active Member

    My mistake did not call for the type of response I received.
  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    You need a vacation. Or a career change.
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Does their kid get in the paper all the time, or was this a rare time? Because if it was rare, I'd be pretty pissed off too. If her name is in the paper all the time, then the parents are overreacting.

    Run the correction. Don't demand an apology, because you're the one who messed up. if you see the parents, make an apology, and be done with it. I've had times where I've messed up, and gone right up to the parents and admitted I screwed up. Strangely enough, they seemed to appreciate it.

    If they continue to be abusive, then you notify your publisher.
  10. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Just write a correction that the goalie was whomever and keep it moving. Do not compound the mistake by mentioning the other person's name. Do not ask the publisher for permission to write the parents and above all do not write the parents. Mistakes happen. Learn from it.
  11. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Run the correction. That's all that's due.

    If you want to write a letter, take full responsibility for your error and let the parents know it wasn't the team managers' fault. That is what happened, isn't it?

    It would be childish of you to demand an apology from them. They don't owe you one. They were right. Over the top, but right. If they want to apologize to the team managers, that's their business.

    You could write a similar note to the high school, though, apologizing that you screwed up and they got blamed for it. But why would you do anything but run a correction?

    Also, how was the mother's criticism extreme? She asks that if not bother reporting if you don't get your fact straight. That's some good advice.
  12. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Mr. X, I hate mistakes. We're imperfect people trying to be perfect in this business and sometimes, we fail. You're making too much of this. The publisher got a letter. If you're good, and doing your job, he'll get many more. Hang in there. This Too Shall Passs.
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