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Part-timer horror stories

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Clever username, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. Kaylee

    Kaylee Member

    Granted, I'm not the brightest, but don't they teach these things in most journalism classes?

    I just don't get it. Some of these stories truly have me dumbfounded.
  2. Canyonero!

    Canyonero! Member

    Yes, it is taught in Journalism classes, but more than that it should just be common sense. I knew that making quotes or plagiarising was lying or stealing respectively before I ever set foot in a J-course. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Some of these part timers may not be journalism students or have had much training in journalism.

    Some of the people could just be people looking for a job or a supplemental income. At some newspapers, it's hard to get quality people to write for you, so sometimes you are stuck with non-journalism people that you have to train.
  4. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Amen and amen. That is a question of right and wrong -- not journalism ethics.
  5. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    so is it wrong to put quotes around words you think a guy would have said if you actually had asked him a question?

    if so, this whole inferring quote system i've been using all these years ...
  6. melock

    melock Well-Known Member

    I have a couple good ones. First off I worked at a paper where two full-time guys covered football games Saturday afternoons and we got about six or seven stringers to do the other ones. For one game in particular we send a young kid from the local community college. The one full-time guy reads the story and says to PT, "Good job, but I have one question for you. What's a wolf ticket?" The kid just looks at him and says, "I have no idea." Full-timer, "Why is it in your story then?" PT, "I don't know I just wanted to put it in." We later found out wolf ticket is when you break someone's balls and they have nothing to say in return.

    Another one was from the same paper. Every time our part-timer called someone he would say, "Good evening is (insert coach's or athlete's name) home?" Mornining, afternoon or night it was always good evening. So needless to say we always would say, "Gooooood Evening the bridge is washed out you'll have to stay here."
  7. a_rosenthal

    a_rosenthal Guest

    We had a stringer cover a game and rather than write about one of the schools we cover, she wrote about the opposition.
    The best was the guy who was taking coach calls. One of the coaches called back immediately afterward and asked -- with 100 percent sincerity -- whether or not the kid who took his stats was mentally handicapped.
  8. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    Wow, that's hysterical. What context did he use it in? I've been laughing at that for about 10 minutes now just picturing some kid shrugging his shoulders.

    And all of this stuff even boggles my mind. It seems so...obvious, I guess, to me that people wouldn't make up quotes or can't find the real news in games. Even though I'm still taking classes, this stuff has been HAMMERED into my head.
  9. beardown

    beardown Member

    I can go on for a lifetime on this ...

    As a sports editor at a former paper, I had a PT with a little talent but no common sense. He didn't show up to a track meet one Saturday afternoon because a friend of his was getting laid at a party about 90 miles away the night before and he couldn't get a ride back. Also, he came in shivering and smelly and told me he couldn't cover a basketball game one January night because he hadn't taken a shower yet. The reason: he didn't pay his electric bill so the hot water got turned off.

    I hired a guy with a Master's degree in administration and an area principal looking for a job but couldn't type. One football Friday I banished him to his van to get updates because all he did was sit there and look around. After an hour I was asking where he was. He was asleep in his van.

    Another PT, who was the sports editor of her local college newspaper, allegedly didn't know what happened on Sept. 11 and quit to become a stripper. This was after getting suspended because she wouldn't leave after shift so she could use the long-distance code to call her boyfriend -- although she claimed she wanted to finish her video game online.

    Another said he wanted to be the next Sean Hannity so to get experience he covered the local race track. He worked for 10 hours, came back with no quotes because he said the racers wouldn't talk to him. Of course, he didn't ask them any questions, either. Then he said his car was running poorly so he couldn't drive the 25 miles on 4-lane road to the facility but suggested he could do it once in a while. When his hours dropped, he wondered why and called the executive editor of our paper to say I wasn't fair when dispersing hours.

    One was a member of the local college baseball team who suffered an arm injury and was done for the year, at least that's what he told me. But then after checking in, I found out he was still on the team and kept calling in sick for work shifts when really he was going to team barbecues. He didn't understand how he could be fired when not playing college baseball was a stipulation for his hiring to begin with.

    I left box scores to be typed by a PT and later found them in the trash under his Taco Bell wrapper. He told me since they were old -- from the day before -- he didn't think he should have to type them in.

    Lastly, one asked off for the last two weeks of February and the first two weeks of March because he was involved in a play at a local college.
  10. JME

    JME Member

    There's a guy who gets some PT work where I work who is probably 40 years old and clearly a bit off or slow or something, but seems like a nice enough guy and seems to do a good enough job of taking scores and all. Anyways...

    While sitting at the computer across from his, faced back to back, I noticed he was checking out some sort of naughty singles message board. I kind of chuckled to myself, but whatever. A little while later I glance over my shoulder and he is reading a thread titled ... wait for it ... "Period Sex."

    I didn't know whether to laugh or barf.
  11. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Our courts reporter does that, looks at online personals, I mean. I don't think he's into chicken wings. At least I hope not.
  12. When I was working as SE at a tri-weekly, I hired a local kid as a PT stringer. I knew the kid was a recent grad of Podunk High, our local school, and that he was still friends with a lot of the football/basketball players and coaches, but I went against my better judgement and hired him anyway.

    While working on a preview article about the Podunk boys basketball team, the coach said some borderline inflammatory things, both about his players and some opposing teams. The guy was an asshat who didn't know how to keep his mouth shut, so I decided to quote his inflammatory remarks in the piece.

    Sure enough, the first story I send our new stringer to cover is a Podunk basketball game. He submits a poorly-written and poorly-structured gamer, but the best part was his quote from the coach. Is it regarding how his team won the game? Nope. Is it regarding any of his players or their performance? Nope. Is it even regarding the actual game? Nope. It's a statement vehemently denying the things he was quoted as saying in the preview article I wrote (two weeks earlier) and calling me out by name as a liar. And it was in the third graf.

    Needless to say, his career at the paper was short lived.
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