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More whining parents

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mark2010, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Shitstorm of the week. I rarely staff high school events, but because of a scheduling crunch, I filled in as a reporter at a state high school playoff semifinal game.

    Hometown team (which was road team in this game) played very well against the No. 1 team in the state, going to double OT. Team scores to pull within one, but kicker shanks the extra point and they lose 24-23. I mention the kids' name and give a play-by-play of the overtime. Now a small group of parents are insinuating that I blamed the loss on this kid. Truthfully, I didn't, but he DID miss the kick that would have forced the third OT.

    Is there any reason I shouldn't mention his name in the first several graphs?
  2. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    Nope. Your job is tell what happened. If you say the kicker missed the kick (have to for this story) but don't say the name then people will wonder what his name is. Same goes for a QB who throws a bad pick or a RB who fumbles. You have to tell what happened even if it is bad.
  3. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Mark, you absolutely did the right thing. It's central to the story. Whining parents are nothing new, believe me. I wrote a preview on a game two weeks ago where I mentioned that the team's leading rusher was sat down for disciplinary reasons the previous game. I had to account for the fact that a kid who had 1,200 yards for the season didn't play. I got a nasty email from some fan (anonymous of course) demanding that I apologize to the kid and school. I immediately called the coach, athletic director and an assistant principal and said I would not apologize. I wrote the fan back and reminded him that the player's many positive exploits on the field had been written about in great detail. I said I wasn't sorry and I would not apologize.

    The whole thing blew over quickly. When I get some dumbass complaint like that, I respond politely but firmly. Works every time.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I never use the names of the goats in high school gamers, but not because I don't think we should. It's because I don't want to deal with the bullshit that you're dealing with. Cost-benefit analysis. Self-preservation. Call it what you will.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    If the kid won the game, you'd be mentioning his name, right?

    Got to do the same thing if the kid loses the game. That doesn't mean ripping the kid to shreds. But mentioning that the kid missed the kick is something that has to be done for the thousands of people who aren't related to the kid.

    Plus, I used to use examples like that when parents whined about why I didn't cover JV and junior high games. I'd tell them, "If they're the goat of the game, do you want me to put their names in? No? Well that's what I do when they're in varsity."
  6. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I just want to note I did not start this thread.
  7. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    This made me laugh. Well done, taters.
  8. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Okay, I'll call it: you're a wuss. You're supposed to be a writer covering an event. Write what happens.
  9. EagleMorph

    EagleMorph Member

    Always write what happens.

    You can do this tactfully, too. Don't pile on. See if you can talk to the kid, even briefly, about what was going through his mind at that point. Was he nervous? Did he slip? Did he feel like he kicked it strong, or did he know it was bad as soon as his foot hit it?

    Did a soccer game where the team in our coverage area was down a goal and got a great chance on a free kick. Kid hammered it, but was off by about two inches and it hit the crossbar and eventually got cleared. Opposition scored to put the game out of reach a few minutes later, so the free kick was a chunk of my story.

    He hit it perfectly, it just happened to hit the crossbar. I talked to the kid, who handled it well, and he explained his mindset and reaction. Same with the coach.

    Handle it well, you won't have an issue 99% of the time. Of course, there's always that ONE parent...
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Guilty as charged.

    What's funny is that I don't shy away from controversy whatsoever when it comes to harder news coverage or explanatory/feature coverage.

    But this. This I just don't have the patience to deal with. Just not worth it.
  11. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    Well you are paid to deal with it. This is akin to a principal not suspending a kid for fighting because it isn't worth the phone call the parents will make to complain. You have a job to do and a duty to serve your readers best.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Thanks, boss.

    There are a lot of battles worth fighting in journalism. Calling out a 16-year-old no-name kid for missing an extra point isn't one of them.
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