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Is it our job to recognize athletes?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by williemcgee51, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. Covered a HS all-star football game recently. Wrote a feature on one of the players who was raised by his mother and grandmother, then earned a scholarship to the local FCS school a couple days before the game. Get an e-mail from a mother of a local who is playing in the game saying, 'Don't forget to recognize little Johnny. He's worked just as hard as the others.'
    Game goes into OT and I write a quick, thorough story on a tight deadline. Open my e-mail the next morning and the mother of little Johnny says, 'Nice recognition for Little Johnny. No wonder I am cancelling my subscription to your paper.'
    I mentioned his name (he was a lineman who barely played) and said he was part of a line that did not allow any sacks. I felt I should mention all the area kids (three) who played in the game.
    Here is my question -- is it my job to recognize this kid? I thought I was here to report the facts. This is not a high school newspaper.
     
  2. DougDascenzo

    DougDascenzo Member

    No. Your job is to write a compelling story people will want to read.

    Never let an idiot parent dictate your coverage. There are way too many of them out there and you'll never be able to please them all.
     
  3. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    "Names and faces" journalism is just bad journalism.

    Publishers tell you it sells papers, but while it might sell 1-2 more newspapers to the kid who gets in the story, going out of your way to "recognize" people can lead to crappy writing (as you try to "recognize" everybody) which will turn the vast majority of your readership somewhere else.
     
  4. jps

    jps Active Member

    she won't cancel. that takes effort, and 9 out of 10 don't wanna give it.
     
  5. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Within reason. Name-checking all 150 people who suit up for a regular season football game is unrealistic and overtly pandering. Mentioning the four kids who were named to a state all-star football game is not unreasonable (though I'm a fan of making a bigger deal out of their being named in the first place weeks before the game than anything they do in the game, since rarely are they doing anything out there than a) having a little fun and b) trying not to fuck up their college ride by blowing something out in an exhibition game.
     
  6. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Yes and no. Would you even be covering the event if local players weren't there? Always ask why you are there to begin with. Yes you have to recognize the fact that John Doe, Joe Blow and Timmy were representing their schools, and should focus a lot on their performances, but it shouldn't neccesarily overwhelm the story nor should parents dictate your story.

    An all-star game especially a high school one, is different in this aspect. No one cares who won. NO ONE. Really. Not even the players, coaches or parents. I've been to my share of the all-star games down here and couldn't tell you who won most of them.
    Who was there and how they performed is the main story. But don't try to name everybody.
     
  7. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    If you've just got three or four locals in an all-star game you're covering, I would do a short breakout box detailing what each one did:

    Johnny Jocksniffer, Podunk

    Threw six interceptions, fumbled twice, and broke his leg.

    Then you are free to write the best angle from the game, without getting bogged down in irrelevant details. But you're still able to recognize that Johnny Jocksniffer was there, and participated.
     
  8. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    But the result of the all-star game generally doesn't mean shit. You put the score in for the sake of completion, but nobody stays up wondering if North beat South or if East finally got back at those assholes in the West. Game coverage is pointless. And the best angle in that case is always going to be local, be it area kids or be it area/region colleges who have kids in there.
     
  9. bigbadeagle

    bigbadeagle Member

    She'll cancel. But it appears she was looking for more than mere recognition that little Dillweed got in for two snaps. He got the attention he merited.
    Well, if she cancels, she'll be guaranteed to never read of his exploits again.
     
  10. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    She could go online for free.
     
  11. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    When I was the SE at a one-man shop, I always followed up on the people that said they were going to cancel their subscriptions. Of the almost 15-20 I got in a year and a half there, only one actually followed through. It is just the only jab a parent has at us, but I don't think they realize that it won't keep us up at night.
     
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