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!

How would you handle this in the newspaper and on message boards?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by #52 Psycho T, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. #52 Psycho T

    #52 Psycho T Member

    So tonight, we get a high school girls basketball fax from a local team that is now 13-1.

    I take note that two of the starters (Player A and Player B) didn't play. Player A is the best player on the team and probably in the league. I point this out to one of bosses. Later, talking with a girl from one of the schools that plays the 13-1 team during the season tells me the reason the two starters didn't play without me asking. She tells me the two girls were smoking weed at Player A's house when Player A's parents came home to find Player A passed out. Player A was taken to the hospital for possible overdose and is in ICU.

    I pass this information onto the same boss and he immediately asks me to call the head coach. I think he's asking me to call and ask him if they were caught smoking weed (my heart started to rush a bit). He then says just to ask why they didn't play.

    I called and asked the coach and he said "It's nothing I can comment on." I ask if it's an injury and he said "It's kind of a team thing right now."

    One of the guys I work with said we should have changed the headline to "____ smokes ____" (___ being the two teams) but apparently we couldn't do that.

    Now comes my question. Would you post it online in a message board? Would you post that the two players didn't play? If the two players are out for the season, do you make note of it somewhere in the paper?

    I know for sure Player A is 18 years old, and a recent graduate of that school said Player B is 18 years old.

    Please give me your opinions and I'll tell you what I did.
  2. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    Unless you have concrete proof, as in a police report, no way you can or should run anything about weed. You should say they didn't play and that the school declined comment in the meantime.
  3. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I would simply post that the two players didn't play and give the quote from the coach. I'd also try to get in touch with Player A and Player B to see if they'll talk. They probably won't, but you never know.

    You really can't print the accusation about smoking weed *right now* because it's hearsay and can open you up to a libel suit.

    Having said that, definitely keep looking into the situation. If they show up in the crime blotter, you still have to be careful to write that they're accused of using drugs rather than they did them. Even using the word "alleged" doesn't cover you in a potential libel case.
  4. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I'd say there's more to the story than you've been told. An overdose of weed lands someone in the ICU? I'm not buying that for a minute.
  5. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    Unless you can get someone on the record, or someone in position to know what happened (not just a player for another team who heard something) talking without attribution, you can't write it. The fact that Central HS played without its top two players is worth noting, as simple fact, and then you work your ass off tomorrow to get the real story on the record.
  6. #52 Psycho T

    #52 Psycho T Member

    If I hear a rumor that they are suspended, should I try to get a story on that then?
  7. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    If you can get someone on record, yes.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    It's possible, if the weed was tainted with some terrible shit.

    A good friend of mine in HS was in some bad, bad shape after smoking weed laced with rat poison. (Thankfully, she was and is fine)
  9. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    As far as msg boards: DO NOT post anything on them regarding the alleged smoking of weed. Your IP can and will be traced, and you're fucked.
  10. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    Yes, you should try. But don't print a word unless you have something more than a rumor, if you value your job.
  11. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Absolutely no on the message boards. That's almost really immature stuff, in a way.

    Work your ass off to find out what happened. Coaches, assistants, parents, siblings, etc. Get the jist of it. Then make sure someone with some kind of authority can confirm the story.
  12. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    A bad fuckin' guy that's who.

    She was on our buddy's couch and her breathing was realy shallow. We were all scared shitless.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page