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Press conferences as circus sideshows

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by big green wahoo, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. I cover a college sports beat. Maybe it's just the way of that world these days, but I'm irritated when the school I cover ushers in all sorts of random folk into the postgame press conference. I've seen retired administrators, coaches' wives, coaches' kids, boosters and others in there, crowding in behind the working press. In addition, they stream the press conference live online. This combination has me thinking I will save my questions for afterwards and try to catch coaches in the hall and players as they leave the complex. A pain, but at least I'll have original material and won't feel like I'm performing for the masses.

  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I'm sure the coach will be happy to spend more time talking to you in the hallway after the press conference.
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I hate those things. They feel like a performance and you are just playing a role. If they want to have the homer radio crew do one of those backscratchers for the fans after the game fine, but leave the audience at home when the press is trying to do their job. Talk to the SID.
  4. dkphxf

    dkphxf Member

    What's the problem with working with an audience? Ask your questions, get your material, write your story. The only way I could see this being a problem is when the audience is allowed to interact by asking questions or clapping after answers. That's happened to me before while covering MMA. Quite disturbing.
  5. I have two problems with it. Neither is major, but still...

    1) I'd like to have access to quotes that the whole internet doesn't.

    2) I can't shake the feeling of being an animal in a zoo. Plus, we all know coaches and athletes play it closer to the vest the larger the crowd. It's human nature.
  6. dkphxf

    dkphxf Member

    1) I could see this as a problem. Bloggers would have access to quotes for stories, something they haven't had. However, we do have the right to control the conversation by being there/asking question and I would like to think we'd be able to outwrite bloggers. Furthermore, not everything is presented as such over the internet, nor is everybody made available in these situations. Other than that, I don't see a problem with other people knowing what material I have.

    2) Because we all know coaches will discuss their cocaine use and players their steroid use while with just reporters, but they wouldn't with a large audience around. This is where the follow-up question becomes so important. If you're trying to figure out why a coach pulled his pitcher early and he dodges the question, follow up. It's not that hard.
  7. I don't think I did anything to deserve a sarcastic and condescending reply.
  8. Journo13

    Journo13 Member

    This may relate somewhat. I live in New England with the Patriots. For the first several minutes of a press conference, a local TV-station gets to ask questions exclusively, and the rest of the media only has a couple of minutes to get their questions in. The TV channel is a suck-up to the team (no surprise), and I can only imagine how the beat writers at local papers feel.
  9. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    You didn't.

    Press conferences, by and large, are very controlled, and contrived. They're meant for public consumption, not one-on-one material, and that's really what you're lamenting.

    As a beat writer, though, there isn't much you can do about it because you can't -- or, at least, you shouldn't -- skip out on them.

    You can try to get additional stuff in a hallway or elsewhere that might be more private or exclusive, but you'd still have to attend the the press conferences.

    You know that the one time you don't go and sit through the show is when something will happen or something will be said that is out-of-the-ordinary and not cliche or contrived.
  10. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I had this happen at a college game once. A pack of us were interviewing the coach and some sports information-type screamed "OK, we're on back in Podunk," meaning, a local station was doing it's own postgame of a network broadcast. He left, to the groans of all.

    The other problem with broadcasting the newsers is, unless all the reporters are mic'ed, it's terrible radio!
  11. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I think the cousin to this is when the coach gets hustled out of a postgame presser to do his radio show. Very annoying.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    You know that the one time you don't go and sit through the show is when something will happen or something will be said that is out-of-the-ordinary and not cliche or contrived.
    Like John Chaney showing up
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