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How to describe this situation?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by big green wahoo, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. There's a situation of alleged student misconduct at Institution Alpha. The administration has not and will not release names of players who will sit out upcoming games because of their participation in the situation.

    However, when Alpha's teams take the field without normal starters, it's going to be obvious to anyone who's following the general news that they were likely involved in the mess and are being punished.

    So... do you merely write that the team played "without a number of starters" and leave it there?

    Do you note which starters were missing and leave it there?

    Do you write which starters were missing and then, in a different paragraph, write that there's been recent misconduct at Alpha but the administration has not disclosed if suspensions were handed down or who they might have been given to?

    Curious if anyone's dealt with this sort of thing in the past.
  2. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    I'd write everything. Your audience will wonder why those starters weren't playing, though they probably already know.

    "Johnny Schmoe and Billy Smith were absent from Friday's game between Podunk and Podunk Catholic. The school announced two players would be suspended for Friday's game but, due to whatever rule they cited, they didn't name the players (or declined to name the players).

    "During the alleged incident, the Podunk students did..."
  3. The school has not and will not even admit that suspensions have been handed out, even though it's obvious that some have. It's a private institution.

    There is a view on this that says you don't want to in any way connect a player to the incident when it hasn't been publicly confirmed that he/she was involved.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would be careful in leading a reader to the conclusion the the starters not playing were being punished as part of "the situation." Johnny QB could just be hurt or something.
  5. Morris816

    Morris816 Member

    Has there been a story written about the incident in question? Or is this just something you learned about through a source who was giving you background info?

    The best thing to do would be to ask the coach why the starters in question didn't play. If he says, "No comment" then you can acknowledge the starters who didn't play and write that the coach declined to say why.
  6. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Yes. Be very careful. Just because they didn't play, you can't assume anything. And someone you might not notice as much could be the one in trouble. Do not imply in any way that the kids are suspended unless you know that. If you write it how bforb said, you are definitely implicating them. I would ID the kids who did not play, but if you don't know why, don't speculate.
  7. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Like Morris said, after its over, ask the coach why certain players didn't start. I would first focus on asking about those who did "Coach you had a lot of different guys starting tonight. How did so and so fared in hist first start, or how much did this effect the play." Etc... get him talking about the team first so he's not on a defensive right off. Then ask why those guys started. He may say no comment, or say "an off the field incident," etc. Then report what you have. DON'T report what you can't verify or any unconfirmed accusations.
    You might also talk to the players who started that game, though I'd be careful if they tell you why another player was suspended. You can use that info to ask the coach "Hey Joe said he started because Mark was suspended due to XXXXX, can you shed any light on that?"

    Tact, not confrontational.
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