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I got into a yelling match tonight, am I wrong?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by GVLakerGuy, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. GVLakerGuy

    GVLakerGuy Member

    I had a blow-up with the news editor tonight. Am I right or am I making a big deal over nothing.

    Our parent company requires all of its papers to submit entries in its awards competition. Last year (before I arrived), the news editor neglected to submit the papers entries and got his ass chewed. This year he has waited to the last minute to get on this.
    It should be noted, he is heading this because we are currently in-between MEs. In fairness he has had to pick up a lot of slack over the last couple of weeks, but we all have.
    Anyway, the rules of the contest require all entries to be accompanied by a letter from management, i.e. publisher and/or ME, or in our case, the news editor, explaining why the writer is worthy of the award he/she is being submitted for.
    Tonight he wanted me to write the letter of why my entries should win and he would sign it at the bottom.
    After mulling it over, I said I was not comfortable writing my own letter. I just have a hard time writing something and having someone else out their name on it. Especially considering this contest did not pop up unexpectedly and it’s his and the publisher’s fault for being caught with their pants down. Others have helped out in compiling their submissions but I strongly feel if management is required to do the write-ups then they should do it. I consider what the NE has asked me to do something close to, if not out-right, plagiarism.
    God forbid some of us peons gets a kind word said, or written I guess, about them from the higher-ups. (Not to mention I hate writing about myself and sating why I should win this or that, but to me that’s beside the point.)
    Anyway, I told him I was uncomfortable with the situation and big blow-up ensued (partly because he’s and ass in general and stressed and I won’t back down from him).
    Am I in the wrong here?
  2. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    20-20 hindsight---you shoulda just bitten your tongue and done what he asked. It was for a good cause (including your own), last-minute or not, and regardless of whose fault.

    If going to stand up for fair play or whatever you want to call it, pick a better circumstance, such as when he or she tells you the cleaning crew has been fired and until a cheaper one is hired, you need to empty office waste baskets and replace the tp in the bathrooms.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Yes you are wrong.
  4. pallister

    pallister Guest

    I would feel uncomfortable writing that, too. But getting in an argument in the newsroom, especially if it's with someone higher in the chain of command (regardless of their relative merits) is never a good thing. There's always a better way to handle a situation. And don't assume to know how much slack someone has to pick up. Everyone assumes they do as much extra work as the next guy when a newsroom is shorthanded. But there are always a handful of people who pick up extra slack for those who pick up no slack at all. Not making a judgment as to where you or the NE fall in these categories. Just sayin' that comparing workloads when shorthanded is a recipe for disaster in any newsroom.
  5. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    At my paper, if we want to enter a contest, we have to type up and sign a letter explaining the circumstances surrounding the writing of the piece, then the editor adds his own signature. No big deal. I would prefer to do it that way rather than depend on a letter from a higher-up who may not know dick about the story in question or why it was written or why it deserves anything more than a place at the bottom of the birdcage. The way I see it, if you don't want to blow your own horn, don't expect someone else to do it for you.

    Besides, it doesn't matter why they're scrambling at the last minute; the fact is they're scrambling and if they ask you to help out, you help out. Later, after it's over, you can look at bringing up the subject and your discomfort. I honestly don't think tonight was the right time. Even if a shouting match had not ensued, I wouldn't have counted on them forgetting your refusal any time soon.

    Which brings me to the most important point -- you have absolutely everything to lose and nothing to gain by blowing up at a supervisor. They might be the world's biggest dickhead/bitch, but don't expect to come away from it without some repercussions. I know it may have felt really good at the time and/or immediately after, but you might as well paint a huge bulls-eye on your back.
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    If the NE told you to do something and he's empowered to do so, then do it. Unless it's illegal.

    Later, I'd make a point of my discomfort.
  7. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    in a joking way, i'd said ...

    Look, I ain't got time. Just do it please. And anyway lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

    but how bad was the yelling? F-U you M-F-ing M-F-er? That bad?

    I ask because my wife says i'm yelling at her when i don't even raise my voice.
  8. wicket_the_ewok

    wicket_the_ewok New Member

    Like with anything, you have to choose your battles. This wasn't one worth fighting for.
  9. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    you want to draw up battle lines over this? good grief.
  10. jimnorden

    jimnorden Member

    fuck that. it's ok to stand up for yourself every now and then.
  11. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    You are wrong. What he asked for is not unusual and also reasonable.
    I think reporters who are focussed on a single beat or just a few fail to recognize just how difficult it is for editors to keep track of myriad stories, beats, departments.
    I've written more than a few letters of the kind you describe and found it a real struggle to remember enough of the details to do the letter justice.
    Having the person who was most closely involved with it put the letter together makes sense.
    That said, I would never sign my name to it unless I agreed with it, and there were times when I reworked it, but having someone else put the details together merely allowed me to do the million other things on my plate.
  12. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    I've had extensive experience as both a sports editor and sports writer, and when I was an editor, I was struck by how MANY writers expect editors---even editors with management responsibilities---to practically wait on them, to do research for them, to put together breakouts for them, to do this or do that, and editor be damned if they end up in a time crunch to the dismay of the writer. On the other hand, the writers who gripe loudest when an editor is "waiting until the last minute" are the ones constantly busting deadlines and squawking when their precious, golden copy gets cut when they submitted a 30-inch story when 18 was asked for. Yes, we writers work long and unpredictable hours, but I"ve never met a hands-on editor who worked just 9-to-5, not even close.
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