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parental badgering

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smallpotatoes, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Three years ago, I had written a feature about a local kid who played on the varsity of a private school team as an eighth grader. He was a decent player on a decent team at the time and I had the time to do the story, so I did it.
    At the beginning of this basketball season, I received an e-mail from the mom updating me on the kid's progress and pointing out that the junior year is a key year for college recruiting and how an article about the kid would help with that.
    I replied with "We'll see, maybe at the end of the season." because I had my hands full with all the local teams during the season and also because the more somebody needs me to promise them something, the less willing I am to promise them anything.
    In the past week, I've received two more e-mails updating me on how the kid did (league all-star on a league championship team), saying "some coverage would be nice."
    Now that it's between seasons, I would probably have some time to do the story (though I'm taking some vacation time at the end of this week). On its own merit, it might be a worthwhile story, though God only knows how many other kids out there might have similar credentials and where the line might form after I do the story. From what I've read on the Internet, the kid is Division III material.
    But the badgering by the mom really makes me want to find some other just as worthwhile stories to do instead of it. Also, I'd almost prefer to wait until next year, AFTER the kid decides where to go to college. I'd also like to tell her that just so I can burst that whole "we need newspaper coverage to show the college coaches" bubble.
    Should I just suck it up and do the story?
  2. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    No. Don't pander to Private School Mom. Wait until the kid signs/commits to do a follow-up story.

    If she keeps harassing you, you have my permission to lay down the law when it comes to newspaper coverage and college scholarships.
  3. No. You'd be opening Pandora's box.

    "Smallpotatoes did a story on my little Jimmy, now he's playing at Bumfuck Tech. Send him a few e-mails, he'll do something on your son, too."
  4. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I particularly don't want you appeasing Private School Mom because they think they rule the universe, that their kids are so much more special and deserving than other kids. Let's not feed the entitlement mentality.
  5. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    Don't give in. Mom will never leave you alone after it.
    Then again, you could do a story on how kids at private schools get special treatment, have better access to equipment, coaches, training, and play against inferior competition only to bolster their statistics and try to get recognized by recruiters.
    And this little private school primadonna with the nagging mommy is the best example of how private school athletes are treated differently.
  6. Have you thought about an ongoing inside briefs column or something each week in which you can give local athletes or those who left for college a nod every time they win an award or win some title? It's not a section front feature but at least you can send a message to parents that you care about their kids and their community.

    Just have parents send their nominations to your sports email and take 15 to 20 minutes a night or a week putting them together with a mug. Hell, you could even make it a column, profile one kid and then list all the others at the bottom.
  7. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    A college/private school notes kind of thing? I do them every once in a while when I need filler or when I get enough of them to put together a good-sized column. I think it's usually best to restrict the sources of information to SID's and private school PR departments.
    Not a bad idea, though.
  8. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Yes, get the info from official sources. Parents get EXTREMELY CONFUSED about their kid's accolades. Making the Athletic Director's List for academics at State U. is not the same as being an Academic All-America. But that's what they'll tell you. Conference Player of the Week is not All-Conference. Susie may lead the team in goals by her daddy's count, but not by the SID's.

    But tracking the locals in college is always a good idea.
  9. Good points as far as stat-checking. I was just saying make the parents accountable for nominating so they don't get pissed that you missed their kid's achievement ;)
  10. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    That's a good starting point, write. But you can't just print it verbatim. Gotta fact-check those.

    Unless you're in a major market, you can probably put together a running list of locals in college that will have maybe 20-30 kids on it. Many will likely be at the same school out of proximity. Drop a bulk email to the SIDs at the beginning of each season and ask them to update you with "hometown releases". If you've got a handful of kids at one school, it may be worth it to get added to the SID's general email list.
  11. No kidding. Thought that would go without saying ...
  12. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Wasn't directed at you, but at anyone new enough to take Mommy and Daddy at their word.

    I'll never forget the first time I was burned by a swim parent. Never again...
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