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Letters critical of HS coaches

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Inky_Wretch, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    One of the big metro football teams sucks. Three weeks ago, we got a letter calling for the coach to be fired. That spurred a letter writing campaign from folks on both sides.

    Now the paper is getting ripped for even running them at all.

    Do y'all have any policies about letters critical of high school coaches? Obviously, the kids are off-limits to that type of criticism, but are the coaches?
  2. JBHawkEye

    JBHawkEye Active Member

    We don't have a policy on letters to the editor, but we rarely get critical letters.

    What we're getting now are the anonymous comments on the stories on the website. I think just about every coach at our biggest local high school, with the exception of the golf coach, has been ripped at some point.
  3. Traveling

    Traveling Member

    I don't think we have a policy per se, but I would say that W-L and Xs and Os aren't fair game. Public behavior certainly is. I'm sure some other criteria is also fair game for criticism.
  4. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    We have a policy disallowing personal attacks...this might fall under something like that. In fact, I think we did encounter something like this years ago and chose not to print the letters.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I think it's absolutely fair game at a big metro, but I could see why a podunk paper might be hesitant.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Problem with running these letters is most of the time the beef is from a parent who doesn't know much about football but is mad because Little Johnny didn't get to play much or whatever. So they attack with every bit of hearsay they have gleaned from other disgruntled parents.

    I would not run them unless they had specific, first-hand examples of things to be critical of.
  7. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Ace has it right. Most of the time, the problems are with PT, not w's and l's. If there's something more, document it.
  8. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    God help the major metro that doesn't have anything better to put in the letters section than "Fire Coach Jockitch!"
  9. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    We've run letters criticizing our sports coverage... without a word from the editorial page (er, community conversations editor) to the sports department, or any attempt to verify the facts in the letter.

    I'm pretty sure everything is fair game to be published around here.
  10. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Why should they have to run the letter by you? Letters of the editor go a long way to pointing out the stupidity of the author as much as criticizing a person or organization.
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Because for most of the readers, they wouldn't think the author is stupid. They'd think the author is right.

    Someone writes a letter saying, "The Podunk Press sports department is incompetent because they didn't get Bumfuck High's win in the paper."

    Yeah, it's a fact that the win didn't get in the paper. But what the Editorial people didn't know was that it was a 1 p.m. game on a Saturday, the coach didn't call it in, the one sportswriter taking 50 calls takes a few minutes to reach him, even gets him on his cellphone number at a bar, hears the coach say, "Uh, yeah, we won ... I don't remember the score ... I know Little Johnny scored a touchdown, no wait, it was Little Jimmy ... Uh, can I call you back later?" Only, he doesn't call back later.

    If anything, the paper should back up the sports staff on letters criticizing them for operational things.
  12. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    The editorial people didn't know that. And the customers don't care.

    They want their product delivered to them. If it's not there, they don't want to hear excuses or reasons why it is not there; they want the product. The reasons might be good -- but it doesn't matter. If the score isn't there, the product is bad and they have the right to complain.
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