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Jerk coach or me making a big deal?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Illino, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Illino

    Illino Member

    I do senior features every week at my paper, and tonight I approached a basketball coach about one for the first time (he had none last season). I've written 40 or so of these stories the past year and have no problems until now.

    Me: Can I swing by practice tomorrow to talk to Player for a senior article?

    Coach: No, I'm not doing those, man. [spins and walks away like he a cocky jock]

    I'm more confused/aggravated about the way he acted afterwards, but am I looking too deep into this?
  2. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Ask him again in a few days. Meanwhile, be preparing for the same answer.

    When you get it, already have a strategy. Talk to parents, friends, teammates, opposing team players and coaches, the kid who keeps score -- as many other types of people as you can (for all of the senior features, not just one).

    Somewhere in the story write that the coach declined to comment. Ask him each time you do a story, and when he says no, print that.

    Talk to teachers. Administrators. The mailman. Anybody. The kid's boss where he works. Don't make it about basketball. Make it about the kid. Go through the school administration to set up the interviews.

    Think outside the box. You'll have a better story anyway. You don't need the coach. It won't hurt for him to know that.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Like Johnny said, you don't need a coach's comment to do a story. If he refuses to comment, I might not even put anything. Just exclude his name completely. Just be sure to have multiple sources.

    Slight tangent, is the only reason you do these features is because they are seniors? Stories like that have a very limited readership range (parents, grandparents, family).

    Local features are great. But look for a bigger angle or hook than just being a senior. You're at the games. Be aware. You can pick up lots of feature ideas just from being at the game. Those can have a much broader readership interest than a plain old senior story.

    Just a couple suggestions.
  4. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    You put yourself in a position of weakness when you asked the coach if you could swing by to interview Player X, as if you were asking for his permission. Don't do that.

    Without being arrogant and demanding, take a quiet position of strength. In the future, simply show up. When practice is over, tell the coach you're there to interview Player X. If he's adamant about his no-interview policy, make him tell you "no" in front of other people. Most of the time, people don't want to be seen by groups as being negative.

    If the coach still says no, you have to pull him aside and say, "OK, let's talk about this. Is there some specific reason why not? You don't want some publicity for your program?"

    If you slink away, the coach gets to perpetuate the "jocks rule the school" stereotype. Stand your ground politely but firmly. Don't accept a "no" without an explanation ... especially from a pseudo-authority figure like a coach.

    Of course, if the guy's an utter dick, talk to the athletics director.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Or, you could just call the kid at home and talk to him and his parents and interview him there.
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Definitely ask "why" and make the coach explain himself?
  7. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    has he pulled this when you go to him for post game interviews or season previews? If he's routinely a dick, let the AD know.
  8. ifilus

    ifilus Active Member

    And be sure to quote his explanation in the article.
  9. Illino

    Illino Member

    Coach doubles as AD. Ill give some of these suggestions a whirl and see what happens. Thanks.
  10. Illino

    Illino Member

    Yes, they are just because of players being a senior, but those are not the only features I write. The senior series is actually moe popular than you would expect.
  11. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    You don't need the coach for the story. I don't think your readers would care that much about why the coach didn't want to be quoted in story. Leave him out, talk to assistant, teammates, family, etc.
  12. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Don't ask the coach's permission. Ask the parents' permission.
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