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Story done?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by gospringboks, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. gospringboks

    gospringboks Member

    I'm in a bit of a bind here. I got a tip from a local prep football player's coach. He told me the kid had been through a lot and, piecing together things from our archives, sounds like the kid has been through a ton of traumatic events. It's the most compelling story I've ever heard, hands-down.

    One problem: The kid doesn't want to talk about it.

    He is, by my estimate, 16 years old. Do I push and work him to try to get him to talk, or do I acknowledge that he's still a kid and has been through hundreds of more traumatic events in his short time on earth than I'll ever know and forget about the story?

    The journalist in me sees it one way. The human sees it the other. I'm leaning toward my human side.
  2. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    as a human being, leave the kid alone if he doesn't want to talk about it.

    as a journalist, leave the kid alone if he doesn't want to talk about it.
  3. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Bravo, TXS!
  4. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    I would try to massage it a little. Maybe get to know the parents. Maybe get to know the kid a little better. And try again.

    I wouldn't drop it altogether. But I wouldn't push too hard. Be sensitive. Maybe this is something you can revisit at some point.
  5. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Keep your eye on things, but I wouldn't pry into it, not with him being 16. Eventually, he may want to talk. Unless he's doing something illegal, in my opinion, you shouldn't force yourself into a story with a high-school kid.
  6. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I'd say let the kid know, gently, that you've heard about what he's been through, and that if he ever feels like talking, you'd love to do a story. Then just leave it at that. He's probably got a hundred reasons not to want to do it. If he decides he does, great. If not, that's his prerogative.
  7. Flash

    Flash Guest

    What TX said ... but let him know the offer remains open, should he ever decide he wants to talk.
  8. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Be a human being first, and a journalist second.
  9. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    This might help. When I was covering high school soccer, there was a player on one of the girls teams who had an older brother who died while he was in high school. The older brother was popular, played soccer too, everyone in the school knew the story, but the little sister didn't want to talk about it. She turned into the best player on the team, led the team to CIF championship game, ended in a tie. Her senior year, she decides she wants to talk about her brother and how he influenced some of her decisions in high school and soccer. Just took patience and a little compassion to get the story out. My advice, be patient and don't push it too much. And try to talk to the kid about playing football and being in high school. He'll come around.
  10. sportshack06

    sportshack06 Member

    My guess is in this situation, parents are not in the picture.
    Or if they are, probably grade-A pieces of shit.
  11. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I had a situation like that last year, about a boys basketball player with Bulimia...
    Just before I left for the house, the dad called and said mom (divorced from dad) pitched an absolute fit and wanted no part of it, even tho dad and the kid (who lived with dad) were willing to talk.
    I asked dad why not talk, since the kid lived with him. His response was it would make life simpler...
    What could I do?
    Mom tried jumping me at a game later in the season and I told her "was there a story in the paper? Your son gave his permission, and it might have helped some other kids. But you chose to kick and scream and there was no story. And there is no conversation." and walked away,.
  12. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    You can keep trying, maybe try to develop some trust with the kid. But if he won't talk about it, there really is no story there. Especially for a 16-year old kid.
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