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Pressbox deadlines

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RedHotChiliPrepper, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. So during the summer I cover a short-season Class A minor league baseball team. This is my fourth season covering the team, and I've found that with each passing year the media relations guy is making it more and more difficult to do my job.

    Last year he told me that when the tarp is on the field and they take BP in the batting cages, I'm no longer allowed to stand by the batting cage when players take BP because he was afraid I was going to write about what the players were talking about with the coaches. But when they take BP on the field, I'm still welcome to stand by the cage to watch. Ok, whatever, not worth getting in a tizzy over.

    I often do a couple innings on the radio with the radio guys during the game. They were the ones that asked me to jump on with them, I didn't weasel my way into it. In the middle of last season we had a game run late (didn't finish until 10:30 or so) and I didn't finish writing and sending my story until about 11:15 or 11:20 (we have an 11:30 deadline). And as I was packing up my stuff, he came up and said he can no longer wait around that long for me to finish up and that if I didn't a couple of the innings on the radio that I would be able to finish my story earlier.

    This is the same guy who threatened to pull my credential because I wrote about the pitching coach leaving the team for nearly a week to deal with family issues. He told me that they're not a Major League team and I don't need to be covering them like a Major League team. We really got into it over that and I nearly handed him my credential and left.

    The last straw came on opening night this week when I walked into the pressbox and saw he had hung a sign on the wall that said the pressbox will close one hour after the completion of each game. There was a veteran writer who came to cover the game for a much bigger organization than my paper and he asked me if it was a joke. I said sadly, it probably wasn't.

    Two nights ago, about an hour after the last pitch, said media relations guy comes walking into the pressbox, where four of us are working, including the opposing team's media relations guy, and says, "The clock is ticking guys. It's almost that time. I'm going to be strictly enforcing the hour rule." Five minutes later, as I had already packed up, he came up and asked everyone to leave.

    Has anybody ever run into anything like this with a professional organization before? I can understand if I had been there 3 hours after the game and he was waiting for me to get home how that would be annoying. But generally I'm asking to give me until about 11:15 most nights to get my story done and sent and uploaded to our web site. I don't think it's asking a whole lot. And in my first two years covering the team it was always understood that the last one to leave the pressbox turns off the lights, locks the door and pulls it shut. Now all of a sudden that's not good enough.

    We're the only paper that covers the team regularly and he appears to be making things as difficult as possible and I just don't get it. I plan on sitting to talk with him about it this weekend, but I was curious if anyone else had run into anything like this, or if this is normal and I'm just overreacting.
  2. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Sweet Jesus, short-season A? They should be damned glad to get any coverage at all, let alone making it difficult to do your job.
  3. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    Sadly, it appears that you're dealing with a public relations/media relations person who has no idea what his job description is. He is acting like a complete douche.

    I would go up the food chain; either ask your boss to discuss the situation with the PR guy's boss. Or, maybe just cut the brake line on the PR guy's car.
  4. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    or upper deck the press box toilet.
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Comet bomb the GM's office and blame the PR guy.
  6. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    This. I wonder what would happen if they got no coverage at all?

    What's wrong with reporting that the pitching coach had to take a leave to deal with family issues?
  7. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    In all seriousness the next time the guy tells you to leave tell him to go fuck himself and that you'll leave when you're god damn good and ready.

    You should also tell him that he might want to start house-hunting because Yakima (or wherever you are) is the biggest market he'll ever work in.

    The guy sounds like a punk. My guess is he'll back down.
  8. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Early in my career I covered a short-season rookie league team. First day of the season the manager called me into the clubhouse and said to me "We're all here because we want to be in the Majors someday. I want to manage there, these kids want to play there and I'm betting you'd rather be writing for the big city paper. This is where these guys learn what professional baseball is like. We're going to do everything the same way the big club does and I want you to cover us that way. Don't pull any punches with these kids."

    That was a fun summer.
  9. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Good message. I've covered plenty of minor-league ball and always tried to approach it as professionally as anything else. Sounds like you are doing that, too.

    I've been on both sides. The PR people work incredibly long hours for next to no pay, so I can understand them wanting to get home (or wherever) after a game because they have to be in their office a LOT earlier than you do the following day. (As an SID once I stayed in a football press box THREE HOURS after the final gun for some writer who was farting around; man was I ever pissed... ruined my rare Saturday night off.) That said, the natural flow of deadlines should take care of things. 11:15 on a game that ends at 10 p.m. doesn't sound insane.... neither does a one-hour rule. Now if the game ends at 6 p.m. get out and go back to the office to write. But he shouldn't make a stink over 5-10 extra minutes.

    As far as stories, you should politely tell him you and your editors will decide what is and is not newsworthy. But, in fairness, remember it's part of his job to spout the company line and cover for players and staff.

    As far as access and being next to the batting cage, hey, they make the rules of where and when I can go. If it REALLY is a big deal, you could always talk to the GM on the side and explain why you need to be there.
  10. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    What AQB said. And if he's still a jerk, get the sports editor involved (if he/she isn't already) with a strongly-worded letter saying back off, or you'll find something else to cover that night. Then do it if jerkishness continues. Say, Fourth of July or some other day they have a big promotion?

    Yes, I know we are not the story, but the story tellers (h/t and RIP spnited). But I also think a line has been crossed.
  11. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    All due respect, if we're talking about a reporter who has to file once, refile, blog, tweet and do a post-game video the one-hour rule is insane.

    That doesn't appear to be the case here but I'm sure reporters who do have those responsibilities would have an issue with the deadline.
  12. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    I'd pick your battles, and the BP thing is not worth raising a stink over.

    On the press box thing, go to his boss (the GM?) and raise holy hell right now. Assuming you go to the clubhouse after the game, then come back and wrap up your story, there are nights when it will be longer than an hour. Your role is not to make the media relations guy's job easier. Him telling media members to "hurry up" because he wants to get home needs to be nipped in the bud right fucking now. And him telling you what to write and not to write is 100 percent bullshit.
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