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God has a good arm.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HeinekenMan, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    He throws touchdowns in Super Bowls and so forth.

    Apparently, he also has a good foot. I'm doing a story on a local soccer player, and the kid insisted on playing up his new-found religion. He took a leading role this year, instituted pre- and post-game prayers and convinced several players to join his church. It's all good and well, but he puts God into nearly every sentence and credits his Holiness with every good thing the team accomplished. Will his focus on doing God's work take away from a story that's supposed by about sports? I mean, it's somewhat inspirational. He went from the bad kid to the nicest kid in school.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If you are doing a story on the kid and he instituted pre- and post-game prayers and got kids to join his church, yeah, I think you have to get into his religion.

    Sounds like it could be a good story. What prompted this change? How do temmates feel about it? Any offended?

    Doesn't mean you have to have a whole slew of quotes praising God, though.
  3. God doesn't care whether Upper Armpit High wins state. She has more important things on her mind, I suspect.

    If the kid converted tio Islam, and credited Allah with everything that had gone on in his life, would you pepper the piece with "praise be to Allah" in every quote?

    Keep Jesus out. Please.
  4. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    I'm sure she does. = )
  5. What he said.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    For those who want to keep religion out, how do yo write a story about this kid and keep religion out?

    Why would you want to read a story on this kid that just talks about how many goals he has scored or something?
  7. terrier

    terrier Well-Known Member

    Hey, the kid has a constitutional right to look like a pompous ass if he wants.
    If he makes God (or Allah, or Wicca, whatever) the 12th player on the field and has gotten other players on the team involved (ask them, in case star player's hyping it), that's a legitimate part of the story.
  8. Trouser_Buddah

    Trouser_Buddah Active Member

    You're doing a story about this kid...This is what the kid is about. So that's what you write about. Simple. You can't eliminate an important part of what makes your subject who he is simply because it annoys you or goes against something you believe in.

    If this kid told you that he felt a certain training technique was vital to his skills and that he used a traumatic life experience to motivate him, you'd most certainly write about it.

    But because there's a general cynicism about religion, you will ignore something that clearly has impacted him, and in his mind, is crucial to where he is in life. And if that happens, you are not painting an accurate picture of this kid.

    And before I get jumped for being a Jesus freak, this is about journalism, not religion.
  9. Taylee

    Taylee Member

    I wouldn't make it the focal part of the story. You mentioned he changed. I'm sure that went beyond religion. Volunteers with area youth, hasn't gotten arrested in 18 months. Stuff like that you can elaborate on without making it a religion issue. But I agree that it has to be mentioned because that was his motivation behind the change.
    We cover a Christian school and almost every kid quoted wanted to "thank God" or "honor God." Only on rare cases do those make the story.
    Another story: Football coach and our reporter attend the same church. Football coach asks reporter why his quotes about God aren't ever in the paper "especially because we attend the same church." Reporter, much to my delight, responded: "Well, coach, almost everyone does that now. It's almost a cliche."
  10. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I think Trouser Buddha has good advice on this one. We all know that God doesn't care about soccer. But five of the kid's teammates went to his church had their souls "saved." I think God might care about that.

    For the record, I'm an atheist, and I think the kid is crazy. But I'm trying to be open-minded and do the right thing. It seems that his faith in God is part of the story, so I'm planning to lead with that.
  11. I'm not particularly religious, but to ignore someone's life-altering faith journey in a profile, even a short one, is not just lousy journalism, it's astonishingly arrogant.

    Whether we agree with it or not, an athlete or coach's relationship with God can be profoundly important. I did a story a couple of years ago about a college basketball coach who was born again, and his Christianity had almost everything to do with giving him a baseline (no pun intended) to reconstruct his life.

    I think we can use a little moderation -- I don't like it when they credit God for the winning touchdown pass, either -- but it seems to me as if religion has had an effect on how HeinekenMan's soccer player lives his life. I think HeinekenMan is using the right approach.

    There seems to be a real awkwardness about this subject among reporters, because they just don't know a whole lot, or enough, about the subject. Yes, I know: some athletes and coaches lay it on pretty thick.

    But sometimes a reporter can find out a lot about a Christian athlete simply by asking his/her favorite Bible verse. I've found they're only too happy to tell me, because they're witnessing the faith, but it's interesting to look it up when I'm writing the story, because it tells me a lot about their approach to the game, or to life.
  12. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    You know, what you SHOULD have done is taken his Bible and pissed on it. That'd show him. How dare he not keep his mouth shut about his faith? Everyone knows the only time to talk about God is if you have a loved one ill, then it's okay to ask for prayers. Otherwise, keep your fucking retard beliefs out of the way of the normals.


    Look, if being a born-again Christian means that much to him, how the hell (as it were) do you not make it an intergal part of the story? If he attributed his success to yoga or Buddhist chants or straight edge, would you be so concerned about it?

    There's this ridiculous fear, manifest here and in other places, that every time someone talks openly about Jesus as their lord and savior, it's some sort of codeword that starts a Falwell/Robertson Seven-Days-In-May takeover of the country. There's a lot of good people who have good stories in which Jesus is inextricably intertwined, but we're scared that by mentioning that part of it, we're promoting Christianity as a state religion. And that's just overboard.
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