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I work here too

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Precious Roy, Jul 26, 2010.

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  1. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    So we get this call at our paper tonight, and the guy asks for the SE.

    Guy: "Can I talk to (SE)?"
    Us: "He's not here tonight, is there anything we can help you with?"
    Guy: "Well, I don't know. I have all these scores from All-State, and I wanted to get them to (SE)."
    Us: "If you give them to us now, we can get them into the paper for the morning and have a story."
    Guy: "I guess that will be ok."

    Was like pulling teeth. We get calls like this all the time, with people actually hanging up on us because we are not the SE, and then we all get yelled at when he has too many bylines and we have none.
    What can we do to make this better? How do we get callers to understand that it's not a one-person sports department?
  2. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Has the SE been there forever and a day, so the coaches are very familiar with him?
  3. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Yeah, and I know that's the issue. However, if coaches want to get covered, why don't they give us the info too? Why wait till the news is old just so they can talk to someone else?
  4. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    Does your SE know about the situation? Maybe he can tell his sources that they should talk to staff? Hopefully, his ego isn't that huge. When I was a political reporter, people always wanted to give scoops to the No. 1 guy. He really helped me by telling people to call me instead.
  5. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Man, that sounds so tough! You had to tell that guy one whole time that you could take the results and put them in the paper!
  6. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    PR, I worked under two SEs where this was an issue. With one, he was winding down his career and was protective of his area. Good, good man ... there was no intent to throw anyone else in front of the train, but it didn't help when trying to get information from the coaches. With the other, he started viewing others as threats.

    Easier said than done on a message board, but the best thing is to try and exhibit some patience and hope that you stay there long enough, prove yourself to the people who count and cross fingers that enough people see your work that the communication walls come tumbling down.

    Get off your high horse. Precious Roy had mentioned that this has occurred on a frequent basis. Seriously doubt he has a problem with doing the work, but this situation can be exasperating. But keep up the snark ... it's not surprising in the least ...
  7. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Another take on this: I've worked as copy editor/paginator/etc. the past 5-6 years, but when all the sports guys are on the phone and it's a coach calling, I'll take down the box score and get a quote or two.

    It's always ticked me off to see other copy editors -- who often are waiting for sports to slap together gamers or roundups on a Friday night -- either let the phone ring without answering, or take a message for the swamped SE or sportswriters to call back.

    Granted, I've worked as a sportswriter and still occasionally cover games, but taking calls is not that hard, folks. If everyone else is busy, just talk to the coach and jot down the info.
  8. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    This sounds like a non-problem problem. Politely explain the situation. Explain to them you are qualified. And I can understand the frustration of your boss with the bylines. Don't give him a problem, bring him a solution.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Copy editors treat ringing phones as if they were hissing cobras.
  10. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Good one Ace. I'm an SE and we have the same sort of issue here. I have been at my present gig not quite four years and was at a competing paper 15 miles away for four years before that, so people are used to dealing with me. It's not a big deal though. You explain something to a person and they give the info to someone else. The only time it's really a problem is when someone calls at 8 a.m. asking to speak to the sports editor. Ain't gonna happen.
  11. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Who pissed in your cornflakes? I was just venting here, as we all do from time to time, about a situation that comes up at least once a week and more as the school year begins. I wasn't coming here to get someone to tell me that it's so rough to do my job, because it's not. I just came here to see if there are any constructive ways to get people to stop going to just one guy in our department. Obviously, the constant, "At least you have a job," argument is very valid, and I am excited to have one for sure, I just want to do it to the best of my ability and multiple people from this area not giving information kinda hampers that.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think PR's problem is that he worries that the paper may miss newsy items if callers only want to talk to Beloved Sports Editor, who maybe be off for a couple days or on vacation or drunk in an alley somewhere.
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