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How do I respond nicely to this parent?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cadet, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    My paper's policy is to run non-varsity prep submissions (club teams, JV and freshman teams, etc.) as agate-style briefs. They are rewritten for brevity and style. It is usually limited to who scores, how they did it and who prevented the opponent from scoring.

    There is one local club U19 boys soccer team, and a dad has been sending in submissions. They are poorly written and of the "whole team played hard" variety. He tries to list every player.

    Tonight I got an email from him saying that it's OK that the briefs are rewritten, but he doesn't want me to take any of the names out. His reasoning is it's a nice way to "reward" the kids for their "hard work" and that he's trying to make sure each kid has his name in the paper X amount of times this season. These are not small children, these are high-school age players who I'm sure won't get their feelings hurt.

    Now that we are into spring sports, I'm at the end of my rope with parents. I know we've all heard this crap before, but my brain is fried. Please help me come up with a civil response before I lash out and say something I'll regret.
  2. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    when you can't write anything nice, don't write anything at all
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Not an option. I'm expected to respond to stuff like this, per the higher ups.
  4. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Explain that. That's all you need.
  5. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Short and sweet, Cadet.

    Thank him for providing the information and explain that the paper's policy is to keep the briefs short and to the point because of space limitations and the volume of game results that you must get it. Tell him that you treat each result the same, trying to keep a consistency in the length of each so no one gets preferential treatment.

    If he still doesn't get it, you're response to his next complaint can be that if he doesn't like the paper's policy he doesn't have to submit his results any more.
  6. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Dear Dad, Thank you for your note. I wish we had room for all the names of all the kids who play so hard in this community--all 4000 of them!--but I'm sure you can understand that it's just not feasible. Whenever possible, we'll try to make room for your submissions, space permitting. Regards, Cadet
    PS, if you have a problem with this, please log on to sportsjournalists.com to express your opinion, the folks there understand completely.
  7. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    There has to be a nice way to say you're running a news publication, not a phone book.

    But lump me in with the "brain-fried" crowd. Been that way for too long ...
  8. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Give him a hug.
  9. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I've been traveling too much. It really wears you down. I don't see how people on MLB beats do it...

    (and dooley, I think you're just projecting your own frustrations there ;) )
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Nah, just taking the gimme.
  11. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    Does you paper run photos from these same type of non-varsity sports? If so, tell the dad at the end of the season he can submit a group photo and all the players names will be listed in the cutline.
    This has worked to calm down the crazies at most of the papers I've been at.
  12. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Well played, then, dooley.

    Chaz, that is an excellent suggestion. Pacify dad while allowing me to edit.

    See? This is why I need you all to be my brain tonight. Thanks.
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