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Gaining the public's respect

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    What can I do to gain the public's respect?

    It seems like I'm only as good as my last story to them.

    If for one week a certain team isn't mentioned (either because of space reasons or inability to contact the coach) some parents become livid. (I've tried to solve the space problem by writing a second, longer version for the paper's Web site.)

    In a related question, how does one build a reservoir of good will with the readers/players' parents? Our cityside columnist has tremendous respect because people fear his wrath. Plus, he can make mistake after mistake, and it doesn't matter. I think part of it is the difference between being a columnist and reporter. My opportunities to criticize are limited (in a way they could be argued I have NO opportunities to criticize) and I cannot threaten to not write about someone. If they do something newsworthy, I have to write about them, otherwise that would be considered less than professional and leaves me open to being beat by the competition.
  2. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Find an underaddressed PC issue and jump on it HARD.
  3. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I think a writer gains the public's respect by writing good, fair stories. I also wouldn't really worry too much what the public thinks about you unless it might cost you your job.
  4. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I doubt it would cost me my job as I have built up a good measure of goodwill with my boss, but it could hurt in getting another job.

    The public here can be very vicious, and negative comments can quickly spread, including to a potential employer.

    I'm trying to get out of this profession, but want my remaining days in it to be as pleasant as possible.
  5. Bubba Fett

    Bubba Fett Active Member

    If I cared what some of my readers thought about me, I'd have left the business a long time ago.
  6. Breakyoself

    Breakyoself Member

    you have to realize you will not please everyone, and the ones you hear from are most likely in the minority. unfortunately, the minority is the most vocal about these things. nothing you do will change them, unless you only cover their team and if you only write good things. that won't happen, therefore every other week they will hate you. don't sweat it. we all deal with it.
    if your boss likes you, and you get along with coaches, that should be enough.
  7. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Time to get fitted for a "Thick Skin Suit."
  8. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    That's what I was going to say. As long as you're doing your best and you know it, you're going to unfortunately piss some people off. That's just the nature of the deal. Look past it and move on. You can't appease everyone.
  9. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    So there is nothing really I as a reporter can do to gain respect.

    Just doing my job competently will keep the wolves at bay.

    When the situation arises about their child's sport not getting covered, just play the Internet or coach card, right?

    Just as I have challenges when I draw criticism, I also felt really uncomfortable when an athlete told me how happy his parents -- one an elected official -- were when he led the roundup after setting a track record.

    I didn't know how to react. I think all I said was, "I led with that because it was the most newsworthy feat of the week."

    I said to myself, "Your leading the roundup means very little in the overall scheme of life, other than making your parents feel good with their warped set of values and giving them something to brag about to their friends."
  10. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    Please provide details.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Start by not worrying about prep parents. Someone, somewhere, is always going to complain -- no matter what you do.

    "Respect" is not built by appeasing the vocal minority. You'll learn very quickly that you can't be everywhere you want to be, you can't cover every game you want to cover, you can't write every story you want to write.

    - Focus on the stories that matter. The important stories, the biggest stories, the best stories.

    - Focus on fairness, not equality -- covering the 0-10 team as often as the 9-1 team is equal, but it's not fair. Doesn't matter "how hard our boys work" ... you can't justify the newsworthiness of covering an 0-10 team as much as a 9-1 team, objectively speaking. The player that scores 30 points is going to get more writeups than the player that scores 2 -- that's the nature of news. Don't sweat it, and don't waste your time trying to convince parents of this. They'll never get it, and it doesn't matter if they do.

    - Focus on building relationships with your sources. Readers don't "respect" the cityside guy because of his wrath -- they respect him because he's probably fair to his sources. He gives people a chance to respond. He always returns phone calls. He isn't trying to appease anyone. He always shows up to take the heat the next day after he's written something negative. Things like that. THAT's respect.

    But you don't get that by worrying about building up "a reservoir of goodwill", because you're not there to please people. You don't get that by "threatening not to write about someone", using the power of the pen as a sword. You don't get that by criticizing in a column if you haven't put in the time doing the reporting first.

    "Respect" is not something you gain. It's something you earn.

    And what you're trying to gain -- appeasing prep parents -- that's not "respect", either. Besides, it'll never happen. So don't sweat it, ok?
  12. Breakyoself

    Breakyoself Member

    that's a quality answer right there.

    and if the complainer is a woman and sounds hot, u can always say you'll sleep with her for better coverage of her kid.
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