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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MilanWall, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. MilanWall

    MilanWall Member

    Hey all. Been lurking for a while, but making this my first official post. Here's the deal. I'm a sportswriter in my first job out of college, working at a weekly newspaper in a Southern state. Part of my section each week is a column, and usually during football season I make predictions of the local high school games - typical stuff really. This year, for the local team's opening game, I picked them to lose 33-30 on the road to a rival in a neighboring city. The game was played tonight, and the home town team won in triple overtime. After the game, I went to the coach for comment and was told off with a curt, "I'm not speaking to you, you can go talk to (other team's coach) if you want comment." Attempts to get quotes from assistant coaches were also unsuccessful.

    After the game when the team was leaving the locker room to get back on the buses, I met the coach again. He explained that he was not commenting because I "would expect our home town paper to pick the home town team." I said that I wrote an objective column and said it would be a close game - it wasn't like I picked the team to get blown out in a loss. He then said, "If it's a close game, I expect you to pick the home town team. I'm not commenting this week, but you can talk to me after the next game as long as there's no further problems."

    Yuck. This is the first major fiasco I've been involved in. How do I handle this? I did get quotes from the losing coach.
  2. clarkington

    clarkington Member

    Stop making predictions.
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I second that. Don't do pick 'ems.

    Maybe the coach isn't coming from a journalistically solid perspective, but for a small-town weekly, he's got a point.
  4. Oscar Madison

    Oscar Madison Member

    Show them how stupid they are by picking them to win 72-0 this week. I've done that in the past and a lot of time it takes the wind of the sails of the coach. He wants to go the whole Podunk Weekly doesn't respect us route.
  5. printdust

    printdust New Member

    My midweek column would be on how he kept the game from being a bigger win. Go over your play by play notes carefully. Highlight where he screwed up.

    That ought to really get him pumped.
  6. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    keep making your predictions ... the prick's trying to tell you what and how to write. you don't tell him how to coach ...

    i'd also call the athletic director of the school come monday. don't pit it as you against the coach, just say, "i attempted to talk with coach loadguzzler after the game and he and his staff declined. you know, i know the people of the community really would like to read in-depth details about your games and how the kids did. we're just trying to give your kids ..."

    should work. if it doesn't, call the principal the following week and rat his dumb ass out. you'll never split beers and hot wings with the cat after football season, but he will act like a professional.

    you also could write a column about how humorous you thought the whole incident was, then take a somber tone and go into pitying the seniors on the team because that's one less game they'll have covered well by the local paper during their final season.

    if all else fails, slash his fucking tires in the school parking lot, take a piss on his driver's side door handle and then tell him you made a monster-sized beef sandwich on his wife's face and were more than happy to add as much cheese as humanly possible, and rather obviously, look his 18-year-old homecoming queen daughter in the eye while you're preaching the gospel. the first option will probably work best, but damn, this final one is most gratifying.

    <by the way, please tell me you talked with two or three players from the team>
  7. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    if you stop your prediction column, the terrorists win. And by terrorists, I mean that assmunch coach.
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    This is the price you pay for having prediction columns. But you can't stop now.

    I love Oscar's idea. Pick them to win in a blowout. Think the coach was mad that you picked them to lose a close game, wait'll he sees you picked them to win by six touchdowns.

    You can act all innocent, but that will drive him through the roof. Heartily recommend it.

    Also, Milan. Screw the coach. Talk to the players.
  9. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    You're in a bad situation in that little town, which has a history of reputable football and coaches who expect homer writers.

    The fans will turn on you. The coach will pass along his gripes to the school staff and booster club, and it will infect everyone since they don't understand what you're doing and why you're not always praising the team.

    Tell your editor what is happening, and then go to the principal with your editor to discuss it.

    If it all falls apart, write this each week: "Coach Bob would not speak to the newspaper because he is upset about a predictions column selection the first week of the season."

    Some people won't care about your spat with him, but in your town a lot will. Unfortunately, they'll side with the coach and expect you to be a homer.

    If you don't write the column again, he wins. If you do write it and pick them all the time, he wins.

    Write it how you see it.
  10. amazing how foolish a wad like this can look if you quote him:

    "I'm not speaking to you, you can go talk to (other team's coach) if you want comment," East West Tech coach Vince Lombardi said. "I would expect our home town paper to pick the home town team. ...
    "If it's a close game, I expect you to pick the home town team. I'm not commenting this week, but you can talk to me after the next game as long as there's no further problems."

  11. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    My guess is this will blow over quickly. Don't worry about it. Tell your editor what happened and if it continues to be a problem, go to the AD, principal, superintendent, etc. Just continue to do your job and don't be intimidated by this guy.
    That said, predictions are lame. I would nix them after this season. It's probably too late to do so now.
  12. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I'm all for not letting the terrorists win, but this is just one reason prediction columns on preps ain't that great an idea. Really, what does it gain you? Preview the game, talk about both sides of the ball or whatever ... but leave out the score prediction.

    I also, unfortunately, understand the problem with not quitting after a week because it'll look like you caved.
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