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How to (not?) cover the NCAA tournament

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    My local paper had a surprise team make the NCAA tournament, very unexpected.
    The team played Friday. Paper had a gamer, a notebook and stats. Started on the cover and filled a complete page inside.
    Looked exactly like how they would have covered it if they were, but the story didn't have a dateline because they didn't send anyone. They covered it off the TV and picked up quotes from past game press release, I guess, the story didn't say.
    The story didn't indicate that they weren't there and it never said how the material was gathered. No wire contributed line or coach reached by telephone after the game.
    I think this is shockingly misleading and incredibly poor. And this isn't some tiny circ weekly. The paper is a metro with an average circ of over 200,000 daily.
    So what say SportsJournalists.com?
  2. TheMethod

    TheMethod Member

    If there was no dateline, it's implied they weren't there. I don't really care how they got the quotes, as long as they're not passing off someone else's work as their own, which they aren't.
  3. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    Without question it's misleading.

    And it's not excusable just because they left off the the dateline. (You seriously think readers are up to date on newspaper ethics? Like they would say, 'Ah, no dateline. That means they weren't there and just took this off TV."

    If you cover an event this way, it has to be CLEAR that you weren't there.
    If you take quotes from a press conference you did not attend, you have to make it CLEAR you are doing so.

    If you didn't attend the game and got the coach on the phone afterway, you have to make it CLEAR that that's how it went down.

    Otherwise, you're intentionally misleading your readership.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Was anything they reported not factual? Not seeing the problem.
  5. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    Silentbob: "You're intentionally misleading your readership." Excellent point.

    Just be honest and straight about the little things. If you're willing to deceive on those, what else?

    Bottom line: To knowingly mislead your readers is a no no, and it sounds like the shop in question above did just that.
  6. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    My thoughts, too. Is it something I would have done? No. But they didn't do anything necessarily wrong.

    It is interesting that a paper of that size did something like that, though.
  7. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Not all newspapers even use datelines.
  8. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I highly doubt that most readers would either know the significance of a dateline or give a shit if there were.
  9. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    This. I don't think it's misleading when the readers wouldn't even consider the issue, and I doubt most of them would care if they did know. Insider perspective makes this look worse than it is.
  10. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    I just have one question --- if they didn't staff the game themselves, how could they possibly make sure that any and all references to turnovers, missed shots, fouls and other negative plays by the home team out of the story?
  11. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Even people who didn't have a newspaper background noticed.
    The argument that readers are so dumb they don't notice datelines or bylines is, I'd contend, false.
    And this is the same paper that got in hot water when a columnist wrote a live, on the ground in Haiti column. The only problem being the columnist didn't leave the office and it was a staggering work of fiction.
    Not traveling, and covering a game off TV is fine, as long as you note it somewhere in the story.
    It just seems dishonest.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Did the story have a byline?
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