1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

High School coaches blowing you off

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mrudi19, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. mrudi19

    mrudi19 Member

    Has anyone ever had a high school coach blow you off? This came up for me tonight covering a high school girls basketball game. It's our main high school too in the area, so a majority of our readers read it. The team is bad at 4-12 and the coach had talked to me after every game, but declined comment after a loss tonight, and of course mentioned that in the article. I did have quotes from the road coach and our paper has a policy where we don't talk to high school kids after a loss. I don't think he has a problem with me, just didn't want to say something that would get him trouble (he has in the past for making comments in the paper). What do you do in that situation? I guess I probably could asked the assistant coach for a post game interview.
  2. Petrie

    Petrie Guest

    Two things:
    1) In that situation, try the assistant. Not an ideal source, but it'll at least get you by.
    2) An even better solution would be to get your paper to change a senseless policy. Suddenly kids forget how to talk if they lose?
    Will they enjoy talking about a loss? Of course not. Will they do it? Absolutely.
  3. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Definitely talk to the assistant. There really isn't much else you can do given the paper's policy regarding players on losing teams.

    I've only had a coach refuse to speak to me at all once, and that was a protest. His team got a crappy district playoff seed and he blamed the local media, so he promised he would not talk to us until his team's run in the district playoffs was over. I just ignored it and talked to the players. They ended up winning their district. I was really tempted to not talk to him that night, but I figured it wasn't worth writing a weaker story just to be petty.

    Another time a coach was so pissed after a loss that he said almost nothing to me, then refused to let me talk to his players. I didn't think he was particularly rude about it, but his wife did. She was standing nearby and she apologized for him. Funny thing is, most of the time, he was one of the most accommodating coaches I have ever dealt with.
  4. Brad Guire

    Brad Guire Member

    Sure. Not a big deal though, just go talk to someone else.

    And your paper won't let you talk to kids after a loss? I'd try get the glass office to re-evaluate that. That would be like my boss telling me I can't talk to the prosecutor after the deputy D.A. blew a conviction by causing a mistrial (true story). People lose. That's life.
  5. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Only happened once in my second stint as a sporto. They didn't play well and he probably didn't want to say anything. I wrote it without him and mentioned it in the storry. There were no hard feelings about that, just thought the readers should know.
  6. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't call that "blowing you off."
    Blowing you off would be if a coach acknowledges you, then complete ignores you after a game.
    And regardless of the paper's policy, you should always talk to your local players first, then the coach.
  7. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    Almost 20 years ago, we had a boys basketball coach who got PO'd before the season and vowed not to talk to us, nor would he allow us to talk his players.

    His team went 0-21.

    Twenty-one times, we approached him for comment... and he refused all 21.

    All 21 gamers included the sentence, "Pudunk coach Joe Asshat refused comment."
  8. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    If a guy talks to you 99 times and the 100th is a bad night and he doesn't, no big deal. If you approach him on a given night and he says, "I really just don't have anything to say." No big deal.

    If it's a guy who regularly acts like a dick, call him out that he refused comment.
  9. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    Joe: Couldn't agree more. This guy had been prickish many times in the past, after almost every loss, in fact.
  10. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    Sometimes people just don't want to talk.

    Obviously if it's a going concern, you might want to talk to the AD about it, and also let your boss know because readers aren't going to understand *why* there's no local team quotes, just that there aren't, so be prepared for possible backlash. But even the most quotable people have nights where they can't or won't comment.

    In that case, you do the best you've can with what've you've got and move on. Most times it's nothing personal and a reflection with their anger or frustration about the night's events.

    The "don't talk to kids after a loss" policy is silly, but I also understand at some level why it's there -- some boss probably sees it as exploitative of a kid's emotions, and some readers would be there too. Not saying I agree, and I think we've all have great quotes come from high schoolers after a devastating defeat, but at least I understand what they're going for. Plus I'll be honest, I've made kids relive losses minutes after they've happened, and I'll think to myself "is this really worth it to make them go through this? Does the story benefit THAT much?" But you use your judgment.
  11. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Wait. You dont' get your jollies making a kid relive a loss, just minutes after it happened? Shit, that's one of the remaining perks of the job.
  12. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    It happens. No big deal. The same coach may talk to you again. I remember Alonzo Mourning's high school coach wouldn't talk to the press and his team won a state championship and was runner up Mourning's senior season. Talk about difficult. Try writing about a winning program whose coach or players don't talk to the media.
    As for your paper's policy, it's foolish. I'd love to know why it is in place.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page