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Effing news "reporters"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by greenlantern, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. greenlantern

    greenlantern Guest

    So Saturday night, a 16-year-old in our coverage area was killed in a car wreck. I get word of it Sunday morning from my parents who live in the same town, so I come in Sunday afternoon to work and tell the guy in charge of the news desk that day about it.

    He has our lone reporter that day call the small-town police department for the accident report, but no one was around at the time that could send it to us. As someone from the same town, I'm not surprised this is the case on Sunday.

    I figure someone will make the call on Monday and get the story in the paper. After all, we usually cover a dead teenager story. (More on that in a minute.) But do they do anything? Nope. The same people in Monday are the ones that were in Sunday.

    I ask them if they got anything on it since the funeral is coming up the next day. The "reporter" says she halfway heard something about it on TV (on Monday). Not that that made her think, "Oh, I should call the P.D. back again and get something on that." They also say it's too far away to go to the town itself, despite it being only 20 minutes ago.

    I found some info on the kid on OUR obit page. God forbid someone use a little common sense to look in OUR OWN DAMN PAPER!

    After showing them the obit, they decided they'll try to do something the next day.

    Here's what really pisses me off. In the past year, we've had at least three high school athletes have died in the past few months. Since they're athletes, the news desk (who has six or seven reporters and two editors) pass the stories over to sports, even if it's a day when the staff is down to the bare minimum. Yet, somehow, we find the time to cover the story of the death and the funeral.

    But when a non-athlete dies, they don't find it worth they're time, despite knowing it always gets a ton of hits online.

    It just makes me wonder what we're paying our reporters for. It sure as hell isn't getting the news.

    And by the way, just to clarify, I didn't know the kid. I just don't want people to get the impression that a kid's death is not important if he/she is not an athlete.
  2. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Laziness and no one higher up chewing on their ass.
  3. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Obviously depends what the circumstance is, but teen killed in car wreck in your coverage area? Yeah, we're gonna cover that.
  4. editorhoo

    editorhoo Member

    Sort of like the reporter who goes to cover the school board meeting, comes back to the office and says he doesn't have a story because the building burned down, and there was no meeting.
  5. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Dead teen stories are like catnip for editors. I know I've covered way too many than I would have liked. So what did the paper cover instead of the dead teen? And I say this only half-seriously, why do stories like these always mention how "popular" someone is? Like that makes a tragic death that much worse?
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    If you can;t twitter it, it's not worth covering...
  7. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    I hate it when I present a golden news tip to the news desk and they fucking sit on it until the competition gets it.

    "Oh, he's a sports guy 'What doe she know?'"
  8. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Here's something similar that happened to me.
    I was working at a suburban paper, not where I lived. A friend from another paper had gone to high school in our circulation area and kept in touch with his teachers, especially his journalism teacher. So on a Sunday morning, this friend calls me and tells me that his old high school's basketball coach, who was in his 30s, missed the game Friday night. Saturday, they discovered him dead at his apartment.
    I had to work the Sunday night sports desk, but that morning I called in so they could start working on the story. I get to work about 4 p.m. and am told, "You know more about this story than anyone else here, we want you to do the story."
    Well, it was bullshit that I, a rimmer on the sports desk, had to track down this story, but I did it the best I could. And Monday there certainly were words to the SE and the ME about who should do what.
  9. Lieslntx

    Lieslntx Active Member

    I guess the one paper that I worked for took these deaths more seriously. I remember they had a death chart. Since it was posted in such a place that the editor could view it from the window in his office, and my desk was right in front of his office, I was like four feet from that thing. They actually had a little column to put the school a teenager (or god forbid a child) attended. I used to freak every time a reporter walked up to that thing. I always looked at their hand to see if they had a marker (new entry) or if they were empty handed and were just needing to refer to it. It took me at least six months to reach that point that it no longer bothered me and to view it for what it was and not get too creeped out about it.

    I know this really has nothing to do with the original thread topic. But I just know that I will never forget that chart. I don't recall a teen-aged death ever being treated lightly.
  10. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    GL, your news department clearly dropped the ball on this one. However, without knowing your coverage area and its size, is it possible they are short-staffed as well? I cover cops and gov't now and sometimes there simply is not enough time in the day to properly cover what needs to be covered.

    I'm not excusing your news department, but just as sports is understaffed these days, so are we on the news-side.

  11. We have a LOT of those reporters working at my shop.
  12. ink-stained wretch

    ink-stained wretch Active Member

    And we wonder why no one is interested in reading us.
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