1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Funny how this keeps happening

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MU_was_not_so_hard, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Today I worked on a story about the local 1-AA football coach applying for another job.

    In simple format -- I saw original link to story saying coach had applied, talked to A.D., said coach and a couple other people at the school I cover. I get home tonight and see Web cast of evening news. Essentially its the exact same form I've taken with my story.

    Now, knowing everyone at my paper would not feed this to local news, I'm curious how this continues to keep happening with one (but not both) of the TV stations in the area. When a similar situation happened over the summer, it seemed as if the TV station identified above was right on my ass every time snippets of info got out to certain people.

    There are numerous people I consider to have leaked this, including the A.D., the SID, et. al. (The A.D. did this with the person I replaced when the reporter broke a new big-name basketball hire; the SID is pissed at me because he knows I don't need him for snot and have not "asked his permission" to talk to coaches and administrators).

    So, how do I go about resolving this? Is this simply a question of me asking too many people questions? Is there really anything I can do.

    (As an aside: the TV station tonight fudged some numbers that I'll have right in the morning and if anyone actually looks at it, knows they fucked it up.)
  2. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    Tell them that if this continues, the next time you have a story nobody else does, you'll run it without their comments and get their reaction for the day after. Explain to them that you've gone to them in good faith, you don't appreciate your scoops getting out and that you feel the need to start protecting your work. Simply put, once you get a story confirmed, you're not going to be giving a heads up anymore. Be professional and firm about it. Don't make it a threat. See if things change. If they don't then you're already moving forward with conviction of your new policy. If things do change, then everybody gets along.
  3. LemMan

    LemMan Member

    Not trying to argue. Just asking a question - can we really dictate who the school wishes to share its news with? If I were to break a story, do I have the right to ask my sources, "Hey, let's keep this between us?"
  4. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    How is it a "leak" when the A.D. tells the TV station something but not when he tells you?
  5. jambalaya

    jambalaya Member

    And how would you call this fair reporting? I'm not sure you'll earn respect with any of the people you cover pulling this kind of attitude.

    The above have happened to me on more than one occasion. Yeas, it doesn't feel good when it happens. But this is what breaking news on the net is for, although people have scoffed at that idea on other threads.
  6. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    And Jumb -- that was probably my only realy mistake yesterday. I wanted to get it online early in the day, but I was also doing a basketball game and couldn't finish writing what needed to be done before the game started. That is actually how we started "getting around" the problem over the summer when the same TV station was doing the same thing.

    Lem and 1st: My problem with this is that after doing the leg work, getting the background, etc, and because I talk to the A.D. for his take on it, essentially he turns around and makes sure the TV station has everything I'm asking about.
    He doesn't owe me a damn thing. But when he chooses to answer his phone and take my call, there is absolutely no reason for him to hang up, dial the TV station (who -- by the way, does all the coaches' shows) and tell them what we talked about.
  7. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    If they have a partnership with the station as you say (the coaches' shows), then he actually has all the more reason to make sure they are not out of the loop. That's what partners do for each other. Either way, he has no obligation to you and I don't see you having any recourse other than sitting on it until the last second before asking all your questions. And I suggest you ignore the moronic proposal to withhold seeking comment from them unless they agree to some kind of exclusive.
  8. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Which, I have learned, is why you try to call after the 10 o'clock news has signed off.
  9. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    Fair reporting is getting the story right. It's not about calling all parties involved to get their reaction and/or blessing. Nail the story down and run with it. What's unfair about that?

    As for attitude, I'm not a big fan of an SID's or AD's philosophy of torpedoing my work when I come to them in good faith.
  10. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    You can't control whom the school shares its info with. But you can control who YOU share YOUR INFORMATION (i.e. hard work, sources) with.
  11. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    I said nothing about "agreeing to some kind of exclusive." It's about professional courtesy, that when I come to you with information I have, I don't expect you to give it to my competitors.

    That's just good business. The school would be wise to heed that because if you stop coming to them in advance, they no longer would know when stories are going to break. If they're smart businessmen they will want to preserve an open relationship with the local paper for that reason alone -- so they don't get surprised over their morning coffee.

    I've been in this situation before. This is just about the only way to handle it if they keep stabbing you in the back by sharing your labor with somebody who clearly hasn't done the work.

    Another way is to have your story written, wait until the 11 o'clock news is over (or whenever your late local news is) and call the AD at home the moment they sign off and then insert his comments. See how long it takes for him to come to you with a compromise.
  12. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I work at a weekly and there have been at least four occasions where I had a big story about Local U first ( I know I had the stories first because I surprised the interview subjects with the information) and after contacting the proper parties for comments a press release comes out the next day, thus alerting all of my competition, some of whom were able to go to press before me (one competing weekly comes out the day before us and there's also a daily that was able to get the stuff in first). I know the school is trying to control how information comes out and put its proper spin, but it gets quite frustrating.

    I have asked people to keep it between us. Sometimes they do, other times not so much. Not much I can do except keep busting my ass.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page