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Josina Anderson & Michael Sam

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Elliotte Friedman, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    Jeff Fisher teed off on Anderson and her "Michael Sam non-showering report" to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


    I think she made a mistake going there -- especially in a situation where there wasn't the opportunity for nuance to discuss that issue properly. If Sam isn't showering with his teammates, that could be a very good story, but there's a proper way to handle it.

    What I find really interesting is Fisher's anger that she contacted players outside regular "office hours." Fisher does have a reputation for being media friendly, but I wonder if this is fair criticism. Is there a good reporter who hasn't contacted players this way?

    Now, we haven't heard from Anderson (yet), so I'm not sure she misled or misquoted the players. It's possible they thought she was going to keep their names private.

    Whatever the case, I'm curious what you guys think.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I'm writing her off based on her Twitter feed.

    Josina Anderson @JosinaAnderson · Aug 25
    Is Breaking Bad that good?
  3. SellOut

    SellOut Member

    To be honest, I have no problem with the topic being explored because I think when some people think about a gay player in the locker room, this is the situation they think about.
    The way it was handled and just kind of thrown out there? Ehhh ...
    If you're going to go there, then be serious about it. Find out what it was like at Mizzou. Ask Sam about it. And if you really want to go there, talk to players in other leagues (WNBA cough/cough) and expand on it. That was my main issue with it.
    And having been around Anderson in locker rooms, I'm not a fan. It's not that she's capable (she's perfectly capable) but from my experience she tries to have it both ways. She wants to be a journalist, and she wants to be the players buddy. I've seen her touch at least two NFL players on the arms, shoulders more than once while making conversation.
    I've never done that. Most of us have never done that. And a NFL writer of mine said she was on one of the midweek conference calls where a player was returning to face his former team and said ... while a dozen beat writers were also on the call ... to "don't say anything (player name) answer that, don't talk about anything."
    So there's that.
  4. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    I know this will shock you, but I disagree.

    "Investigating" his shower habits comes with a hint that maybe, since he has The Gay, we should wonder if he's capable of controlling himself around naked men. I mean, showering is second nature to every athlete, so why would we think Sam's habits would be any more newsworthy than any other?
  5. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    What alternate universe is Fisher living in that he thinks reporters aren't calling and texting players all waking hours?
  6. ^^^^ This.
    It was out of line. Sam announced he was gay, but he's not the first gay pro football player. And the not the first to be known among his teammates.

    Are we going to start questioning lesbian golfers, softball and tennis players, too?

    Are we?

    Well are we? 'Cause I wanna know!!!! With photos!
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    This is 2014, and the Rams are a multi-million dollar operation that should at least have the same level of locker room facilities as a top-flight health club.
    Do they still have gym class style group showers there? I'd think there's individual shower stalls, right?
    So why is this even a topic?
  8. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    How do you report on a subject's personal showering habits without speaking with the subject?
  9. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Who gave her her marching orders for this story?
  10. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    I think what he's saying is that if its true he isn't, then the why behind is worth looking into. It's not worth an "investigation" out of hand, but wind of him not doing it is true then its worth asking why. Because he's being discriminated against somehow? Because he's trying to avoid stigma? Because he just doesn't feel like it? How common is it for guys to avoid it (I have no idea how common or uncommon it might be in the NFL).

    If you're of the mind that these questions are worth exploring, though, you have to get through most/all of them before dropping one out of place quote into a report on air, in my view. Very poor delivery with no nuance as it was done.
  11. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I agree with you, Elliotte, that if Sam isn't showering at the same times as teammates, there could be a good reason, and a story, there -- whether based on his homosexuality or his fears/sensitivity about others' reactions to it, or some other reason that, given Sam's openness regarding his orientation.

    Where Anderson went wrong if that is the case, I think, is exactly what Jeff Fisher is referencing. I think he's wanting the context that perhaps handling the story while in the locker room, and maybe actually witnessing such showering discrepancies might provide. Certainly, that would more fairly lend balance, and any reality, to any possible story than would just cold-calling or texting people at home.

    I don't think Fisher expects reporters never to call or text people outside of work hours. I think he's saying that in this case, it would have been better not to do that.
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I wondered that too. There isn't any editor/producer who had a fleeting thought that this was a dumb piece at some point in the process? This wasn't Stephen A going on an impromptu rant.
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