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I know you aren't supposed to put yourself in the story, but....

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DGRollins, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. DGRollins

    DGRollins Member

    What if your experience reporting the story demonstrates something that is central to it? Can you bend the rule then?

    I'm writing a story about racism directed towards Aboriginals in hockey. I have some good stuff from people that have experienced racism in the game recently and some comments from those that are fighting to get rid of it. It's not my story, but, I feel that some of the stonewalling I've received in reporting the story illustrates a reluctance to deal with the issue--one of the themes of the article.

    This is a potential lead I've written:

    Would this lead be appropriate? Is there a way to get to the same point without using the dreaded I? I’d appreciate any comments.
  2. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    well, i'm sure some will disagree with me, but i think it's ok. just ok, though and here's why:

    if this is the best example you can come up with - rather than a player's anecdote about racism - then your story probably isn't great. this lead is more suitable for a sidebar about racism in hockey being a taboo subject, not for the story about racism in hockey.
  3. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Could make for a sidebar.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think it could work but the second graf threw me anyway.

    Why not do the you:

    You'll likely hear a cheerful voice when you call the Northern Ontario Hockey Association.

    Tell them you are calling from an Aboriginal publication and the cheer ends.

    "I know what you are calling about," etc. etc.
  5. I'd lead with the stuff you have, not the stuff you don't have. It sounds as if you have people making allegations of racism, which to me sounds as if it could be newsworthy. I'd start with that, then get to the part that no one is returning your phone calls seeking comment on the topic.

    I don't enough about the topic to say much more than this, but people who don't return phone calls about a race-oriented topic are not necessarily racists. Maybe they are, but maybe they have other reasons for not wanting to talk. It's dangerous to make assumptions.

    One other thing: You mention a letter, but you don't say what's in the letter. That's one thing you do have -- go with that.
  6. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I have no particular problem with you being part of this story. There might be a better anecdotal lead. But I could see this starting another section of the story.
  7. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    You + story = Column.
    And that's not a bad thing, but it seems like there's more here than a one-and-done story. It might hurt, but maybe the first story you write will be a little dry, although it doesn't have to be, depending on what's in that letter and what kinds of anecdotes you have from players. Then you can do a column/sidebar on how some officials don't want to address the subject or might be trying to dodge it and use your phone conversation there.
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Have to disagree. There's nothing wrong with the writer being part of the story -- judiciously -- in narrative journalism. It's been done by some of the best ever.
  9. DGRollins

    DGRollins Member

    Doubt I'm in Hunter or Tom's category yet, but I think it's important to try stuff. And I agree that a dry, straight approach might be more appropriate too.

    Which is why I brought it here. I'm glad I did, because the responses have been helpful. Having a second read of it makes me realize that it's not the lead. I'm not sure I would have seen that without the help of those here, so thanks.

    I'm going to go with an anecdotal lead from the perspective of a father that wrote the letter that ended up in my hands. His memory of driving home from a game with his 13-year-old son after the son had been called a "bush nigger.” The father played junior hockey in the '70s and dealt with the racism he faced the way you would expect a junior hockey player in 1973 to deal with it. Dad thinks the world has evolved and wonders why the sport hasn't.

    Since I posted this here, I'll post the final product when I'm done.

    Thanks again.
  10. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    sounds like a good idea.

    and not to be a total prick but hopefully you wrote 'antidotal' instead of 'anecdotal' because you were typing fast.
  11. DGRollins

    DGRollins Member

    Dotal is a Canadian term that means “hockey, good.” Therefore, racism in hockey would be anti-dotal.

  12. The letter sounds as if it's an effective way to jump in. Good luck.
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