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Sports reporter fired for reporting?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by boundforboston, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Former North Adams Transcript sports reporter Isaac Avilucea says he was fired because of his reporting. Here's his take on the situation: http://nightlynoodlemonthly.com/post/64660658667/i-got-fired-for-being-a-journalist and here's the Poynter article: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/226646/reporter-fired-after-story-cast-aspersions-on-the-academics-of-local-school-compared-another-to-mean-girls/.

  2. I know this is little consolation for someone who is now unemployed, but my message to Isaac is, You're much, much better than the North Adams Transcript.

    Sometimes prep sports at a small town newspaper isn't the place to do real journalism. I hope he finds a place where he can practice it.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    It does not sound like his mistakes involved reporting at all. It sounds like his mistakes involved buying the word of a teenage girl hook, line and sinker ... not checking the story out ... and maybe falling into some old stereotypes about the schools and about teens in general. Pretty much the opposite of reporting.

    I don't know if it was a fireable offense, but it was a terrible story.
  4. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Should he have put attribution in the set-up for the quote? Sure. If you're going to say the school sucks academically, you either back that up or make it clear as hell you're presenting the opinion of the person you interviewed. I get what the editor was trying to say -- these are teenagers, and as a reporter, you need to consider if the quote is important enough for the possible ramifications it will have on the kid's life. In this case, it doesn't seem like it lends enough to the story to warrant insulting the school and possibly alienating the girl from the kids she's going to school with.

    Should he have been fired for it? Hell, no. You hire a young reporter, you have to expect these type of things. As an editor with young reporters, part of your job is to teach them this stuff. If the school feels like they have to bar him, so be it. Tell the school that their coaches will need to call in results but you'll no longer be covering them or send another reporter to cover them (if you have one).

    Chew his ass out for the writing, make sure you make your point, but back up your reporter to the outside world. Caving like this is cowardly.
  5. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    OK, I can offer a bit of insight as I wet my beak at this paper more than a decade ago. While I don't know the people involved, I am very much aware of the towns and the schools. Greylock is the pretty rich town, filled with kids who end up at Williams, Amherst, Dartmouth, etc., while McCann Tech is where the future auto mechanics go. This is widely known.

    I've seen kids and reported on kids who have transferred from one school to the other, but in no way in my days there would I have ever entered this field. This kid can talk about "filterer" or "reporter" all he wants, but I think you need to be a bit smarter than that. In that area, EVERYONE reads the Transcript. And North Adams -- the poor little brother to Williamstown -- is a proud town. Yes, the girls said it, but she's 16 and felt like an outcast. You're the adult and need to exercise better judgement, knowing how your audience will react. That's just a shitty thing to say, and if you are going to do it, you'd better put every single word in her mouth.

    Then again, you have to realize that she's 16, and by being the big bad "reporter," you're probably already going to get her ostracized at her new school, because she's pretty much calling all of her new classmates dumb. This kid sounds like he's going to make a decent reporter some day, as long as he learns that not every single feature is Woodward and Bernstein material.
  6. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

  7. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Gotta say, too, this quote from the reporter struck me as kinda off.

    Every time you write a story, you filter. You never use all the quotes you get. You always filter out the good and the bad, the stuff that's worth including and not including. The reporter seems to have a problem accepting that.
  8. I think he meant from the perspective of not using anything that could be deemed harmful to the source. For example, if a coach says, "We sucked and my quarterback was worse," not using that because the coach would be upset his true feelings got out there. But you'd have to ask Isaac what he truly meant.
  9. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I know what he meant, but it's one of those trite little expressions people pick up in j-school that is bullshit. Journalists -- reporters and editors -- are filterers. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, esp. when you're covering high school kids.
  10. Here me roar

    Here me roar Guest

    The editor should earn some of the scrutiny here. New hire, dipping right into the different realities of the schools. The paper must have a nut graph that it keeps to describe the schools, no? .. College prep v. tech? There are ways to say what he said about 'compromising academics and athletics,' without saying it like that. And if she's playing at the new school when she wasn't at the old one, what athletics did she compromise? She's playing. That's why she transferred, duh.
    If you're covering preps, you do have to sit back and understand that you're dealing with teenagers. While it's not your job to coddle, it's also not your job to try and elevate yourself at the expense of kids.
  11. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    If you're going to fire the reporter for using that quote, then you should fire the SE for letting it into print as well.
  12. That would seem to be the precedent, but I'm guessing they decided to sacrifice the reporter to appease the people who spoke up.
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