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Hockey team bans writer

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Gomer, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Go and read http://gdrinnan.blogspot.com/2011/01/editors-note.html

    Kamloops, B.C. writer Gregg Drinnan - one of the most widely-read junior hockey writers anywhere - is too negative according to the Canadian Hockey League team that he covers, so they've decided to ban him from interviews with their staff and players.

    The biggest issue here is that the Western Hockey League's own media policy is being breached here, yet the league hasn't disciplined the team (yet).

    I work in a WHL market and there's a writers group which we belong to that is helping to deal with this behind the scenes.

    In the meantime, have any of you dealt with issues like this before? How did it pan out and how did you go about solving them? To me this is a very scary situation because the team I cover could easily look at the situation, see the Kamloops team going unpunished and figure 'hey, we should do that too!'
  2. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    A few options that have popped in to my head:

    - Common editorial through multiple papers
    - Column about the situation
    - Multiple papers stop covering their teams for one day as a statement to the league
    - Do nothing and let the Kamloops paper, the team and the league deal with it

    The writer's group will file a complaint with the league, so that's a given.
  3. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I'm trying to figure out of he's a columnist or reporter?

    Because I think that could influence the situation a little bit, maybe not from the WHL standpoint, but his publication. Over the past couple of years, I've been contacted by media relations personnel who pretty much said "we didn't like the way you phrased that" in a column (not that I was saying was incorrect, but just that they felt it was too harsh of word choice), but never threatened to strip my credentials. I'm blunt in my writing and say stuff that ticks people off sometimes, but that's the way the business goes. Heck, I've even had coaches say to me months after a column, "Matt, when it printed, I was a little uneasy, but you were pretty much right on."

    I'll be the first to man up and eat crow if I'm wrong, but I'm not going to apologize for an opinion because someone doesn't like it. If he's a columnist, he should be able to spout whatever (well, to a legal extent) opinion about the team he wants. It may make people not want to talk to him, but stripping his creds is a little weird.

    I even covered the beat of a college team that lost 20 straight games. Was I supposed to say, "this team is statistically the worst in school history, but it's OK because this player did well so that's a silver lining for everyone?"
  4. ChrisRcc

    ChrisRcc Member

    This reminds me of a story I heard involving two Boston newspaper guys. Stan Grossfeld and Dan Shaughnessy were caught between a feud with the Sox and the Globe. Red Sox management banned the Boston Globe from the All-Star Home Run Derby because of the Globe's negative coverage of the team. However, Grossfeld was friends with Boston mayor Tom Menino, and he was able to get a cherry picker placed on a street near Fenway Park. As the owners watched the derby, they were shocked as Shaughnessy and Grossfeld rose behind the stands in the picker.

    Now, back to the hockey league. The local newspapers should stop all coverage to protest the move. Imagine when parents try to complain about local coverage.
  5. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    We're talking about papers with one or two-man sports departments here, so he's both columnist and reporter.

    There's two papers in Kamloops - a weekly and a daily. So far, Drinnan has done two gamers with quotes from the visiting team, and none from the home team.
  6. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Now ain't that just silly. If the story is with the visitors, then that's where it is. You would think someone in the upper crust of the team would understand that.
  7. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    No, I mean he's done two stories like that since being banned from talking to the home team. He's explained in the stories that the team has banned its players and staff from talking to him.
  8. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Good for Gregg, he's a good guy. Hey, if someone won't talk to you, you go about your business without them. Plain and simple.
  9. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Oh, thought the team was pissed about that in addition to the editorial. As Mark said, good for Drinnan.
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Ditto, and you let everyone know why the "home" team isn't being asked for interviews. And one more step...you keep bugging the home team's office multiple times a day until they relent this ridiculous policy...leave messages at the front desk, with the owner, with the GM with the head coach with the stadium janitor...and don't stop.
  11. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    BTW, this story has gone national, thanks in large part to Twitter. Drinnan is laying low until the league mediates a meeting between the team and higher-ups from his paper next week.

  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Drinnan's a smart guy. He'd rather not call attention to himself and let others lead the battle, I suspect.

    What people don't understand too often is that sometimes good reporting means being critical. It's not all shits and giggles, especially with teams that are struggling.
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