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Guess what? It's about access.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Leo Mazzone, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Leo Mazzone

    Leo Mazzone Member

    I'm working on a story involving a basketball player at a D-I school who left the team for "personal reasons." The player is international and his time at said school didn't go well. Another international player on the team has thrived, and so this piece is to be about how one was successful and the other didn't work out-- how each dealt with the transition international players must make while bouncing around prep schools and handling the recruiting process.

    Anyway, I ask the SID if the player who left is officially off the team. He is. No practice, no games...nothing. OK, I say, so I can contact him outside of your jurisdiction? NO, SID says.

    "But he's no longer part of the team, correct?"

    "Right, but he's still under the umbrella." Whatever the hell that means.

    SID tells me I can submit questions through her via e-mail and she will send me said player's responses. I don't like this idea and tell her as much. No matter. I can't talk to the guy, she says.

    His side of the story is important. The obvious reasons for leaving are that he has sucked at this level and injuries have wieghed him down. But I think there are family issues in his home country as well and want to know whether he plans transfer, go home or whatever.

    I e-mailed the guy, telling him what I was working on and how he could contact me. He replied that he was working some thngs out and that he would get back to me.

    Am I going about this the right way? Any other suggestions?

  2. e4

    e4 Member


    people, especially college kids, are able to speak for themselves. journalists should never go the submitted questions route, because it only weakens the journalist and journalism.
  3. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Under the umbrella? Well, I guess you could interpret that as the SID and the school "taking care of its own," so to speak, but this sounds like complete bullshit to me. Honestly, I don't know why you'd ask for her permission, unless you needed to get his number from her or something.
  4. e4

    e4 Member

    "under the umbrella" means he won't say all nice things about the school/program/coach so the SID is running interference
  5. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    I'd worry about you if you hadn't contacted this guy.

    I don't know where you all run into these Nazi SIDs, but son of a bitch, that "same umbrella" bullshit is laugh-out-loud funny.
  6. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    There are times where it serves you to go through an SID, especially if you wanna cozy up to them. This is not one of them. In fact, I'm kind of shocked you sought permission from the SID to talk to this kid. You have a right to track him down, and he has a right to speak or not to speak with you.

    SID can't enforce the "you can't talk to them" crap. The only thing an SID can do is suggest players and coaches boycott you if you run afoul of the "rules," and that boycott will end the second the SID sees your paper no longer is covering said team.
  7. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    That umbrella, we employed it, by August she was mine. [/hollies]
  8. Leo Mazzone

    Leo Mazzone Member

    She also asked why I wanted to write the story, because he was off the team. I told her that was the reason why. No one else was writing it. Another similar player had thrived in the same situation. Guy that left the team was no scrub at previous stops.

    It's sort of like a Guns, Germs and Steel look at college basketball. Why one society boomed and another didn't.

    "There are plenty of other original stories you could do," she said.

    Yeah, on this size roster?

    And to clarify a bit, I went through her first to try and get it set up as easily as possible. I'm not relying on the blessing of media relations.
  9. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Next time, she needs to learn how to play dumb a little better.

    "Now, why would you want to write about news?"

    Thanks, Leo, for the clarification. Should've figured you weren't just sitting back and waiting for the SID to give her blessing.
  10. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Here's one way to try it:

    When you talk to the other international on the team (with Frau SID's permission) ask him if he knows what's up with the other guy or how you could contact him for his side of the story. You'd be surprised how quickly some athletes give out teammates' cell phone numbers.
  11. Gotta love the SID who asks: "Why are you writing that story?"
  12. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    Remember: They set the rules. You never promised to follow them.

    Not only that, but this rule is bull shit. Once they're off the team, it's free reign. Call him and don't feel bad about it.
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