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Seeking help for my talk to print journalism students at my HS alma mater

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I will be speaking soon with the print journalism students at my high school alma mater and expect the following things to come up. I'm seeking input on how best to respond to them.

    I imagine a student will ask, "Are you friends with (name of big-time professional athlete)?"

    Here is how I plan to respond;

    "It is essentially impossible for a print-only reporter or columnist to be a friend with a big-time (NCAA Division I or major professional sports) male athlete. This has been true for many years. This is because you are not supposed to be his or her friend, along with in most cases the differences in age, education and race. As an adult, most of your friends are about the same age as you are, have the same education level and are of the same race.

    "Most big-time athletes have a disdain for print-only reporters or columnists because they are far more likely to be critical of them then television sportscasters/sports personalities. In general, athletes, like the majority of the population, didn't grow up reading newspapers, so they are unfamiliar with their mission."

    I also expect to get various criticisms of the news media.

    I plan to handle that by saying you cannot compare an all-news cable network with a newspaper. It is best only to compare likes to like. If you do are critical of an element of coverage, the organization's budget situation is probably the reason for this.
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    If you reply like that, you'll lose them.
  3. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    How do you suggest I reply?
  4. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    How stupid do you think high school students are? They're not going to ask someone who works at the small weekly if he knows Tom Brady.

    Your planned response really speaks down to them, and high school students can't stand that tone.
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Tell them it's not impossible to be friends with those in business community, though, because if you put their kids' name in the paper, they might give you a better job.
  6. Mr. X

    Mr. X Member

    I have covered major sports for several large daily outlets.
  7. copperpot

    copperpot Well-Known Member

    Yes, seriously, that's the stiffest, most boring reply I've ever read.

    You've covered major sports? OK, then tell them some good stories, but then point out that you can't be FRIENDS. "Well, yeah, I know Tom Brady. I've been to his house and met his wife. But we're not friends ... in this business, you have to keep things professional."

    Just really try for a more conversational and engaging tone.
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Have you even had the chance to be friends with a pro athlete? Has any pro athlete asked you to take them to the airport or help them move?
  9. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I'm a little confused why the race card would come into play with that answer?
  10. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Because, evidently, you aren't supposed to be friends with people of a different color.

    Mr. X also gets it wrong as to why athletes wouldn't like print reporters. It isn't a new trend.
  11. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    Yeah that is a very high mighty response. Be loose and honest without the high and mighty crap.
  12. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    If you use this response, please bring your video camera and send us the link to this exchange so we can see the students attentively listening. ;)
    Seriously, talk about why you got into the business, if you wanted to be a writer while in high school, pros and cons to the job, stories from the road, etc. Explain journalism ethics and why journalism is in rough shape, and what aspiring writers can do to make the profession better.
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