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Hiccup on teen mom feature ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MCappy, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. MCappy

    MCappy New Member

    First-time poster, long-time troller ...

    Was excited about feature on this teen mom. Ace pitcher on the HS softball team with 2yo girl. Chaos all around her except when she's pitching - just her and the catcher's mitt blah blah blah ... BUT then I ran across a problem I haven't encountered in 14 years doing this: Incest. Her 35yo uncle is the baby's daddy.

    Write around it, leaving a key detail out of the story? Include it with the young lady's permission? I mean, isn't incest illegal? Just stick to sports, leaving the kid part out of it? Editor suggested scrapping it, but that's not an option in my mind. This girl deserves a feature and is willing to open up with me about it. Just not sure she understands the possible/likely repercussions.

    I keep debating myself on how to handle it. Any and all feedback is much appreciated.
  2. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Now that's a question!

    ...which I haven't a clue how to answer. Can 'o worms.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Enjoy your first-place APSE award.
  4. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    I don't touch the baby-daddy. Not even close. I leave people either guessing, gossiping or clueless. But I don't throw that into the mix. She may not realize it, but if that becomes common knowledge, it throws a whole nother layer of screwed up to her life -- as if she doesn't already have enough of those layers.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    If she's 18, you absolutely have to pursue it. Have to.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    That's a tough one, Cappie.

    I assume the girl was under the age of consent. So in addition to incest, you at least have a case of statutory rape.

    So I don't see how your write the story and leave out the father.

    I would proceed carefully but if the girl and her parents are willing to talk about it, you've got something there.

    Of course, if they are somehow all on good terms with the uncle, you've got a real mess on your hands.
  7. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    You could ask if the father/uncle is in the girl's life anymore. If the answer is no, just say the father is out of the picture.
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    The legality, both re: age of consent and incest, all depends on state law.

    You've got to at least pursue the story and then make a decision. You don't know enough now. You don't back off just because it's uncomfortable or unseemly. News side wouldn't.
  9. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    I see that point, DW. But even if she's 18, I tend to treat high school kids a little different. 18 or not, I still consider them kids.

    Great story or not, do you want to be the guy who turned her into "the chick who sleeps with her creepy old uncle" as she walks down the hall at school?

    It's still a great story without the criminal/incest layer. Now, if the baby was a result of a rape and the uncle is now in prison, there is a chance to approach it with an angle to show she is not simply some backwoods hick sleeping with her uncle, but more a victim of a horrible crime and now she's found a way to deal with the situation and even escape it temporarily when she steps into the pitching circle.

    But I tread very lightly on adding another level of ruin on the lives of high school kids ... even if the ruin is of their own making.
  10. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    Even if the girl is over 18, the daughter is 2. If you go with the incest angle, don't include the daughter's name or it follows her on Google the rest of her life.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I don't think that athlete-with-baby is necessarily a great story. It's one bump up the continuum from athlete-of-the-week feature, but still fairly common.

    I know where you're coming from, Idaho, and I respect the empathy. I have it, too. But that's where the journalism skills come in. She can absolutely be a sympathetic figure in this piece, flaws and all.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    This is a big reason why the Internet is frustrating to me, as a journalist. There have been multiple occasions where I had a source who would have been willing on great stories, important stories, but they didn't have the nerve to go through with it because they didn't want it burned into Google for eternity.
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