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Feeling my publisher wants me to write the word rumored in a story

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I feel my publisher wants me to write the word rumored in a story about the selection of the new football coach at the only high school we cover. (I got that feeling through an e-mail he sent me.)

    I feel it is wrong to write the word rumored. (Problem is getting people to talk on the record.) Hopefully more people will talk on the wrong so I can avoid using the word rumored. The paper is a weekly so there isn't the time pressure that would be involved if this were a daily.

    Any suggestions on trying to not use the word rumored without enraging the publisher? One thing that just came to mind is to write is "Longtime assistant coach John Doe is expected to be named as the football coach of the only high school we cover, according to school district sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly?"
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Well, if you get nothing new, I definitely would go with the "is expected to" over rumored.

    From here, just report it as best you can and go with what you've got. Any chance people will be more forthcoming if they think the deal will be done by the time the paper comes out?

    My big fear on stuff like this is people "in the know" may hear stuff but it may be all BS.

    But when in doubt, go with the publisher.
  3. Avoid the word rumored, but if your newspaper/publisher is OK with unnamed sources, use them. Key word -- them. Don't let one person dictate the news without an independent corroboration. You have to judge whether those sources are credible, though.
  4. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Is it a scoop? You could use reportedly if its been in a local daily beforehand.

    Did the publisher specifically say you should use the word rumored, or just that you should write the story with or without confirmation on the record? Because there's a dozen ways to dance around the word rumored.

    Sources say John Doe will soon be named coach....John is known to have interviewed and looks like a credible candidate for reasons X,Y and Z...can you get Doe on the record confirming his hat's in the ring? Can you get the other off records to say why he makes a good candidate?
  5. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Holy CRAP do I hate rumored.

    Worked with a guy once who would say things like "The talk around town is..." or "People in the [league] are saying" and it drove me CRAZY. You don't write on rumors if you can't get it elsewhere. That's lazy.
  6. somewriter

    somewriter Member

    Instead of trying to determine what you think the publisher "feels," why don't you ask him?
  7. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    Because it's after 4 p.m. on a Friday and he's gone for the weekend.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Doesn't mean you can't call him to ask him if it's that important to you.
  9. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Rumored isn't a good basis to use for a story.

    If your publisher isn't accessible on weekends for a situation or issue like this, especially if you have qualms about it, then your publisher isn't a very good leader.

    "Rumored" feeds the public's perceptions about journalism being in the shitter.

    Discuss it with your immediate supervisor and go from there. Getting something on the record would be best and anonymous sources might suffice if allowed at your shop.
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