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Myspace as a reporting tool

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jeff Gluck, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    So — at this point, at least — the majority opinion goes something along the lines that MySpace is OK for research, so long as you follow it up with an interview or conversation, but not for direct information. Seems like a sensible solution.

    I used Facebook while I was still in college (and will use it at future stops if I'm covering a college beat and can snag an e-mail from that college), and never had a problem, but MySpace does seem a little creepy. Best to use it sparingly.
  2. Here's one...

    Heard a rumor that a "major" (i.e. big time D-I recruit) prep star in our area had been drinking and doing drugs.
    Sure enough, I found his myspace page and there it is.. he's bragging about smokin' weed, drinking. He's only 17.
    My question is how much of a story or a column note is it?
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    It is not a story or column note at all until he gets nailed or gets in some kind of trouble for it. How do you know it's true or just some 17-year-old bullshit?
  4. cougargirl

    cougargirl Active Member

    I definitely would not use MySpace.com as a reporting tool, to garner quotes or as a direct point of reference. However, as I've said before, an individual's page gives quite a bit of insight on that person.
  5. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Kids use Myspace as fantasy land...Do you drink? "HELL YA!'  Do you swear? "FUCK YA!' Do you like sex? YA BABY, I'M A MYSPACE SLUT! LOL!!'

    How do you report that?  'When asked if she was sexually active, Britnie told MySpace, 'YA BABY I"M A MYSPACE SLUT! LOL!!"
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    On a scale of 1-10 -- a zero.
  7. JME

    JME Member

    Um, are you serious?
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    However, if he posts a photo of himself drinking a fifth of hooch on his site (which isn't hard to find) I guess you could point it out to administrators and await the fallout and write about it. I wouldn't feel good about doing it, personally.
  9. JME

    JME Member

    That would be cheap, and manufacturing the news, IMO.
  10. Lester Bangs

    Lester Bangs Active Member

    As for doing features on HS kids, we've all dealt with kids who are really hard to get to the heart of as they talk little and reveal less. Thus, with the MySpace pages at least you are getting a (potentially) honest look at the kid. I would never quote it or even use it as source material for background, but it does provide interesting insight and could keep you from looking like a fool.

    Back in the day (pre-Internet) I wrote a feature on a local D-I scholie kid -- and in the town I was in, that was some trick -- who passed himself off as a choir boy. His sister was the town angel a few years before -- also a D-I scholie kid -- and everybody on the outside assumed he was, too. The kid talked about church and school and the whole bit, but it turns out he was not at all like his sister. In fact, the school principal called and asked me what the hell it was that I was smoking when I wrote the damn thing. The kid was a terror and eventually got booted from the college he went to because he was A ? an asshole, B ? he sucked. Yeah, piss-poor reporting on my part and I learned a huge lesson from it ... would have loved to have been tipped off by a MySpace page.
  11. tyler durden 71351

    tyler durden 71351 Active Member

    No way I would do that. Talk about cheap. Plus, I used to get hammered along with all of my friends when I was in high school, so it would be the ultimate in hypocrisy. And again, how do you know the kid didn't put iced tea in an empty bottle of Jack Daniels or tap water in a bottle of vodka so he could look like a bad-ass on his MySpace page? I could see telling the kid's Mom or Dad something, if you were very close to them, but that would be it.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't this be the prep writer's equivalent of ignoring the steroid evidence, though?

    Put it this way:

    You've got a high profile recruit in your area who has a photo of himself drinking what he purports to be booze on his page.

    Last year an athlete was killed in a drunken driving accident. The school has a zero tolerance policy on alcohol and will at least suspend any athlete caught drinking.

    You've determined the site is legit.

    Do you just ignore it or write about an apparent violation of school/team rules?
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