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Going easy on preps?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Fuh Real, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. Fuh Real

    Fuh Real Guest

    I have always wondered this when it comes to writing preps. People say to not use too harsh of language when writing a story pertaining to a game in the high school ranks. Say "Never Win High" loses to "Steal Your Lunch Money High" 49-0 in football. Is it improper to use words like "slaughtered" or "dominated" or any other word that conveys meaning of absolute destruction? Then suppose SYLM High runs for over 400 yards in the game. Can you not say they ran through a "porous defense" or whatever may float your boat? Wondering where the line is drawn. But once they go to college, it is all fair game? Thoughts?
  2. Prodigal Son

    Prodigal Son Member

    I think you can describe the team as a whole as harsh as you want, but most SE's don't want you to do that with a specific player.
    I say the truth is what the truth is and if they can't handle it, they need to quit playing. Otherwise, shut up, grow up and play better next time.
  3. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    If you're covering a Division 1 athlete or a pro team, you can be somewhat critical.

    High school is a very different matter entirely. Those kids aren't supposed to be getting paid to play. Some of them will never set foot on a college field or court, let alone play professionally.

    Something like "With Podunk High needing a one-yard touchdown to beat Big City High, Johnny Halfback choked, losing two yards when he couldn't handle the handoff from Jimmy QB" is too harsh when writing preps.

    Saying "With the Washington Redskins needing a one-yard touchdown to beat the Dallas Cowboys and advance to the playoffs, Clinton Portis choked, losing two yards when he couldn't handle the handoff from Jason Campbell" is fair game if you get someone saying he choked and you attribute the quote.
  4. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I see dominated in prep copy all the time. In forever's example, I'd probably go with "Podunk came close to grabbing victory as it drove to Big City's one with less than a minute to play, but a bad handoff between Timmy Quarterback and Johnny Halfback on fourth-and-goal allowed Big City to hang on to a 24-20 win."

    You have to say what happened. There are ways of doing it. I'd never write in a gamer at any level the word choke.
  5. Moland Spring

    Moland Spring Member

    Not just for preps, but for all gamers: Do we really need to describe a 49-0 loss? Does our adding "pulverized" or "dominated" or "slaughtered" really add to it? I mean, the reader can read. Does 49-0 not say enough?
    I just don't think it adds anything.
  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    "out-manned" is a good word. "out-classed" is not.
  7. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I think it does, maybe not always in reference to the scoreline, but maybe in regard to a particular matchup.

    Big City High's offensive line dominated Podunk's defensive front seven, allowing Johnny Halfback to rush for 326 yards and six touchdowns in a 49-0 win.
  8. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    GB is exactly right. The uglier it is, the more you just stick to what happened.

    Trust me, the score says more than you could in 15 inches of copy.

    Tell the reader why the score ended up the way it did.
  9. The only mandates I received were the following:

    1) No graphic verbs in headlines, such as slaughter, mutilate, etc. And when the team covered is the Indians, never use scalp.

    2) Just tell what happened. Be creative with the writing, but don't editorialize.

    3) At this level, never refer to anything as "great."
  10. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    What if the kid is a top 100 college prospect? Even if it's preps, if they're acknowledged as a hot recruit and a "great talent", I think you can make some exceptions to this.
  11. EmbassyRow

    EmbassyRow Active Member

    You sound a lot like my high school football coach. Maybe that's why we went from 30 players my freshman year to six by my senior year.

    Last time I checked, sophomore running back Tommy Jones from East High and senior middle hitter Julie Jumper from St. James Catholic aren't getting paid to play. They're high schoolers. Teenagers. Pressure positions in extracurricular activities are completely new to them, unless they'd been in the National Spelling Bee or the Little League World Series. A fumble or error might cost them a starting job, but it's not going to affect their livelihoods.

    As long as it's not an off-the-field-drinking deal, or something like it, you give 'em the benefit of the doubt.
  12. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Active Member

    I've told this story before, but at my college newspaper, tacked to the department bulletin board, there was a photocopied headline from the 1970s when my school played another with the nickname Indians, the story was headlined "Indians Burnt at Stake"
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