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E&P story: Sports whiffed on steroids story

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Del_B_Vista, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. JK --
    I know about the public-private split.
    I post the amendments only to point out that government doesn't have to aridge our rights these days -- although it's trying its hardest -- because we're more than willing to let it subcontract the job to almost anyone.
  2. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Evan Weiner made the right call: "It was and is a law enforcement issue." Employers have no right to invade an employee's privacy without his/her consent. In the case of professional sports, it's a collective bargaining issue. Drug testing cannot happen in this environment until a consensus is reached within a bargaining unit that the employees (players) believe the need for testing as a way to ensure fairness of play outweighs their rights to privacy.

    A lot of this is an excuse for Conress not doing its job (how many substances banned by other sports were available at GNC?) and law enforcement, which never felt compelled to crack down on the use of illegal drugs in sports.
  3. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Are Gary Jacobson and Tracy Ringolsby still beat writers who do game stories?
  4. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Berry,

    Further, the case can be made that employers have a reasonable right to negotiate with an athlete a contract that prohibits him from engaging in physically risky behaviors. To a significant extent (injury, illness) steroid use is probably as risky as sky-diving and arguably more so.

    Also, someone buying goods or services has a reasonable expectation that said stuff is not stolen, fraudulent or illegitimate. I'd suppose that a steroid-assisted athlete is selling a bill of goods to an employer--promising something that he can't deliver cleanly.

    YHS, etc
  5. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Employers and employees have the right to negotiate all of the issues you raise. I agree 100 percent. Of course, compromises by both parties are usually the result in these types of negotiations. Management doesn't get everything it wants, nor do employees.
  6. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    Playing a little Devil's advocate here, but wouldn't a story about steroids in baseball be considered a big development on the beat?
    I think, as reporters and editors, we are hesitant to suspend feeding the daily machine - main, side, notebook - covering the x and o of a sport - rather than pursue something a little more significant or worthwhile.
    Doing the daily beat work has its hurdles and can be time consuming, but it is easier than real investigative work. We often look for the path of least resistance and then rationalize that we didn't have time,
  7. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    My reply to Evan Weiner:

    Your comments would be right on the mark if you had written them in 1956. Since you wrote them in 2006, I suppose it might impress some teachers at a faculty party or members of a journalism seminar panel where most panel members aren't working journalists who cover a regular beat.

    From your comments, it appears you have little knowledge about baseball beat coverage. You quoted three people, only one of whom has a daily beat doing game stories. Stories for the next day's paper usually have to be done very quickly after the game ends. The only people on a newspaper who have to do that on a regular basis are police reporters and reporters working on election night. Even election stories frequently have much of the material written in advance. Very few next day stories have any detailed analysis about why a bigger turnout in one area swung the election result, and a lot of political reporters have no clue on those things.

    Because of extensive travel, people get burned out of a regular baseball beat fairly quickly. A CJR article in the late 1980s or early 1990s made note of how few writers would stay on the same day-to-day beat for more than 10 years.

    The comparison between the Hall of Fame and declining jobs in newspapers seems completely unrelated. To vote for the Hall of Fame, a writer must have covered baseball regularly for 10 years or more. Most writers do take this very seriously and, as a result, there is integrity in selections made by the writers. This is a service to readers because readers take it very seriously.

    There is a difference between being a fan and being a homer or apologist. Movie critics are, at some level, fans of movies. They want to see good movies and don't like bad movies. A lot of them like the idea of seeing a movie in a theater rather than on DVD. I might disagree with that and make a reasonable argument, but some people feel a connection with a real theater. If you didn't like movies, you probably wouldn't do a very good job or provide value to readers.

    If you don't like baseball, you aren't going to do a good job as a baseball reporter.

    A better argument can be made that a lot of people covering baseball don't understand the strategy or the finer points of the game. In a lot of cases, the problem isn't that those covering baseball are fans. The problem is they aren't big enough fans and don't understand a lot of fundamental things.

    Why is this important? If you wrote that a Senator was elected in 1982 and the correct year was 1980, few people would notice and those who did notice would most likely be political veterans who are into power politics. If you wrote that the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 1982, you would receive a lot more e-mails and phone messages calling you an idiot because you didn't know the Phillies won the 1980 World Series.

    (continued on next post)
  8. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Moreover, your comments about writers being ill-equipped to cover matters such as drugs, law, and anatomy would lead me to conclude that you have never spent much time in a newsroom. The old joke that people take journalism because they can't pass a math class has a good bit of truth. It is not uncommon to find people in news departments who can't give you the percentage of eligible voters if there are 1,000 eligible voters and 640 actually vote. I know because I was usually the person who was asked to figure that out. And there are a lot of reporters who have no idea of the mechanics of sewer systems or other public works projects. Somehow, they manage to provide a capable story.

    Too much to ask for real journalism from writers when there is a game going on? Have you followed coverage of politics in the last 10 years? In a Congressional race, it is not unusual for there to be no more than two or three articles where a challenger is given any sort of forum to an incumbent, usually in the last two weeks of a race. This is probably responsible for the increasing proportion of Congress members who win with more than 65 percent of the votes and the fact that there is lower turnout. An even bigger joke is an executive editor, who after a campaign where very little is covered, will write or direct his editorial page staffer to write something about our duty to vote. I wouldn't want you to write something like that though - heaven forbid you should speak truth to editorial power.

    You seem to want it both ways. On the one hand, you are critical because baseball writers didn’t find the story about use of steroids, as if a player would volunteer information that they used an illegal substance. Then you blame writers for being upset because somebody cheated.

    In the real journalism of which you speak, journalists often know things are true but can’t provide enough proof to have the story published. Welcome to real journalism.
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