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Lady Vols beat writer's first-person column on Summitt

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by nietsroob17, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. nietsroob17

    nietsroob17 Active Member

    Dan Fleser's covered the Lady Vols for the better part of 30 years for Knoxville, and he wrote a column about his close relationship with Pat Summitt. Some interesting anecdotes (such as allowing Pat to view his story on her divorce before being published), but a real good piece overall.

    Fleser: Mutual respect, understanding while covering Pat Summitt over the years
    Lugnuts likes this.
  2. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    That was a good read and made me envy Fleser a little bit.

    I do wonder if his bosses knew beforehand, however, that he was going to place that envelope under her door, basically asking for her blessing and approval on a story in its (probable) exactly finished form.

    I mean, what if Summitt hadn't been "good with that."?
  3. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    The person to read is Mike Siroky, who covered Pat before Fleser for the News-Sentinel. In the beginning, for real.
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tip. I will...
  5. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    He had some great anecdotes on Facebook.
  6. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Had it been me, I wouldn't have done it.

    But I get why a lot of beat writers might. And I don't begrudge them.
    Tweener likes this.
  7. Tweener

    Tweener Active Member

    Agree with Alma. I'm not sure I would have done it, but when you cover someone who is as big, or bigger, than an entire sport, and you do it in a smallish market like Knoxville, you really want to nurture that relationship. It may have been smart to bend the rule there in that one situation.
  8. stix

    stix Member

    I think it's fine to let the source read the story in sensitive cases like that, especially if you're a beat reporter. It's very rare and I get the opposition to it, but there are times I feel it's necessary.

    I did a big feature on a college basketball player a couple years ago who had sort of a remarkable, unorthodox, very winding road to the school he was at. Much of it was because of a medical issue. I talked to him at practice, and as I was finishing the story he texted me and asked if he could please read it before I filed. He said even though he had told me everything openly and on the record, he wasn't sure if he wanted certain details about his medical history published (sometimes younger athletes don't always realize on the record vs. off the record, I've found).

    I thought that was fair, and I sent him a copy of the story when it was done, but I stated clearly that he needed to understand that he had no control or say in the content, but I would respect his wishes if he wanted something omitted about his medical history. As it turned out there was one pretty minor detail that he didn't want shared. I removed it, and it didn't really hurt the story at all.

    In this case, I think the reporter was OK showing his story to Summit, though it seems like it was running either way.
  9. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    If I had to guess I'd bet he took a calculated risk. He probably had a pretty good idea what her response would be, but also maybe scored points with her that may have paid off later.
    PaperClip529 likes this.
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