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Finding myself on the other side of the story

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bill Horton, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. Bill Horton

    Bill Horton Active Member

    I guess I never really thought about this, but I ended up on the other side of a story this weekend when I read a newspaper story about my son's first victory in a college cross country race.

    He was a pretty good CC runner in high school but there were better runners and better stories so the local papers never wrote about him. No big deal. CC and high school distance running doesn't get much coverage anyway and within that genre there were better stories that needed to be told.

    But all of a sudden he sends me a link on Sunday morning. It's to the paper in the town where he ran and won a college race. I knew he had won but I didn't really think there would be a story.
    But there it was ... quotes from the boy, mention of his PR and a picture of him just about to overtake the guy he passed with about a quarter-mile to go.

    I read the story as both a parent and a writer and came away thankful that my son had a decent quote in the story and came off looking like he might be a pretty good runner and a good kid. I thought the writer did a good job with the story, which also covered the team and individual angles.

    The only advice I ever gave my son with the media was to be respectful and considerate and just be himself. It looks like he did that.

    But I've got to tell you ... as someone who's in the business, it was just plain weird to read about my boy in a newspaper.

    Not bad, just weird.
  2. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    Now complete the journey to the dark side and call your hometown paper to complain that they didn't write about him.
  3. Bill Horton

    Bill Horton Active Member

    No ... I'm ... using ... the .... force ... must ... not .... dial ... phone ...
    Seriously, he didn't warrant a story in high school. There were a lot of runners more deserving. Besides, who wants to read about high school CC? I didn't and I had a son running.
    It's the world's worst spectator sport. You need a helicopter to enjoy it.
  4. Happened to me a couple years ago. And at my own paper.
    Middle FB kid, the reporter told me, was a good quote.
    Who knew?
  5. Bill Horton

    Bill Horton Active Member

    FB, as Spurrier would say, we coached 'em up.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Full of blarney.. a chip off the O'Block...
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    On my first paper the publisher's kid deserved Athlete of the Week for some high-jumping accomplishments. Sports editor said we'd better clear it with the old man. I asked the publisher if he'd "mind" if we chose his son. Publisher said, "Is anyone else as deserving?" I said not really, told him about the other contenders. "Well, then," he said. "Well. Well, this is a very proud moment. I'll have him call you when he gets home." I've always respected that publisher -- wanted the honor for his kid, wanted to make sure no one else deserved it. Publisher got fired a couple years later for not wanting to hack the shit out of the staff after the paper was sold, and he left the business to work as an accountant. He was not a newsroom guy, but he clearly got it.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Outing alert: Frank did not work for a JRC shop.
  9. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    and seriously, be proud it wasn't for something bad he did.
  10. Bill Horton

    Bill Horton Active Member

    good point ... he's not going to the Olympics or anything but he works hard, it means a lot to him, it's paying the bills and it's teaching him a lot of important life lessons. As a dad, I can't ask for anything more.
  11. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Our lead prep writer (90 high schools), last season his son was a sometimes-starter on the offensive line for one of the area's strongest programs. He handled it the right way. He did not cover their games, he wrote basic game previews, did not ever mention his son. When they played, he went to the games and sat in the stands and did not cover any game that night. But he did cover other games on nights his son's school was not playing.
    Then, his son tore up his knee. The next week, he wrote a first-person column about seeing this happen and the emotion involved. It was probably one of the best columns he has ever written and certainly got a lot of sympathetic comments from around the area, even from people who claim that "he doesn't like our school."
  12. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    I know how this feels. Whenever my paper covers events at two different sites, they inevitably talk to one of my parents because they're very involved.

    Since a lot of the old photogs know my parents, my dad has ended up in quite a few pictures. I get a kick out of it, and everyone loves my dad.
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