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Team Paranoia strikes again

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by silvercharm, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I feel no need to defend myself to you. Your muckraking credentials are becoming clear.
  2. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    muckraking? wow dude, are you taking estrogen shots?
  3. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    In no way is this the same thing. I've been in that room many times, and Quick certainly isn't the only person to take a look. The crack between the blinds (which are on the other side of the glass) and the window pane is narrow but allows you to see a small portion of the court. And the Blazers never freaked out about it before, at least not this publicly. Quick is paid to cover the team, to find out what's happening. And he didn't sneak around. He was exactly where he was supposed to be: in the media room. By the way, are the Bulls or Toronto going to pass on Morrison now because of what Quick wrote on that blog? The Blazers' reaction wreaks of paranoia and a vendetta, nothing more.
  4. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    My question is, what's to lose for Quick and the other reporters? A closed workout in which the players/coaches come out afterwards and say, "yeah, everything went good. Just like we expected," is hardly newsworthy. Before he wrote his blog, media were wasting their time in the media room waiting for the players/coach to come out and give nonsensical, irrellevant quotes about how the workout supposedly went.

    So what are the Trailblazers going to do? Make interviews after workouts off-limits? If so, so what? Those quotes sucked and anything written about that workout will suck. The Trailblazers don't deserve the coverage, and the reporter deserves to be doing something more useful to the paper.

    Quick's blog provided a quick and interesting piece of insight and the Trailblazers provided some good column fodder with their overreation. Is there an immediate downside?
  5. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Many years ago, I was covering a coach search. A bunch of reporters were waiting outside a room in which a search committee meeting was being held, when a writer came over and told us that he stood by the room's back door and could hear everything that was being said. Naturally, we all ran over, listened and took notes. After awhile, one of the committee members happened to open the door and caught us. They shooed us away, but we had names and comments, and yes, we used them (we asked the committee people about them afterward and received no comments, as I recall). Later, the guy who was doing the pre-interview legwork drove up and went into the meeting. Walking by his parked car, we noticed an airline itinerary sitting on the passenger seat. We took note of where and when he was flying -- the where matched one of the candidates whose name we heard -- and reported that, too.

    OK, like I said this was a long time ago, and I have spent some time since then wondering if what we did was ethical. I have to say that while I'm still not 100 percent sure if it was, I would without question do it again in a similar situation. The story was relevant and the information was 100 percent accurate.

    What do all of you think?
  6. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    I'm all for it, especially in the case of something as big as a coaching search. Old media protocol and professional courtesy is one of the things killing the old media.
  7. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I'm squarely in the unethical camp.

    As shotglass noted, you could burn a source. And what's the next step? Putting a tape recorder in the trash can before the meeting?

    Even if you just swung the blinds open to see whether practice had ended, I'd say that you should approach the matter cautiously and get someone involved to spill the beans without revealing that you peaked. There are some fairly dumb athletes out there. It couldn't be that difficult to get someone to slip up if you ask the proper questions.
  8. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Interesting conversation, and as much as Petty can come off as an instigator at times on the board, he makes very good points about reporting only what the organization wants you to report on. At some point, you become the PR voice of the team, not a reporter covering the team, and that ain't good.

    On my college beat last fall (I-AA team), I kept leaking parts of the next year's football schedule mostly because I had a source within athletics who was telling me what contracts were on the table and had been approved, etc. I'm at the golf outing at the conference's basketball media days when the AD comes up to me and tells me about how they're playing a second I-A team next year. I report that in a notebook, and I hear from the SID that the AD is running around the office going, "we've got to get to the bottom of these leaks. That should have never been in the paper."

    To which the SID says, "uh, sir, YOU are the leak."

    A lot of times, people don't know if they're on the record or off the record. I'll respect it if someone says, "Can I tell you something off the record?" before he/she speaks to me. But if they don't say anything about off the record, then all bets are off.


    What do you think of this scenario, one that actually happened to me? Big-name transfer is down at my school working out during basketball season and I hear he's at the team's practice, so I head on over and ask the head coach if I can chat with him. My brain wasn't working, and I wasn't thinking about NCAA regs that say recruits can't speak to the media while on official visits. (For some reason, I wasn't thinking of a transfer checking out a school as an 'official visit.') At the same time, the coach and player were nice enough to facilitate an interview, but they were very worried that they had blown NCAA rules and had gotten in trouble.

    I had the transfer's cell phone number and called him back later on just to check on things, and that way I was able to say that I got the information about the transfer from a phone interview, not at his official visit. It might have seemed a little underhanded for me to report it that way, but I still broke the story without blowing my trust with my sources. It didn't seem worth it to hang my sources out to dry and potentially get them in trouble with the NCAA because neither one of us realized that NCAA rules were being broken.
  9. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    The Trailblazers have also announced that henceforth any important papers on executives' desks will be turned around in order to prevent nosy reporters from reading them upside down during meetings when said executives leave the room to pee.
  10. Moland Spring

    Moland Spring Member

    One thing Maestro: if you interviewed a recruit on his official visit, there is an NCAA recruiting violation. But YOU did not commit it. The school did. You are not under the NCAA's umbrella (or whatever). You can hold off the interview, or disguise it, as part of beat management. But don't worry about "getting in trouble." I've run into this issue, too.
    Also, let me be clear: I am not against breaking protocol to report big news or burning a source to report big news (if you know for a fact that you're right) or following tail numbers on a plane in a coaching search and reporting that....
    My only thing is, it better be worth it.
  11. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Moland: Yeah, I knew I wasn't in trouble. But it was a good-hearted gesture by the coaching staff to facilitate the interview (and they didn't realize it was a no-no until talking to their compliance person), and burning them by saying in a story he was interviewed on campus didn't seem like the right way in going about things. It's a give-and-take ... I would have gotten the story by calling the kid, so there was no sense getting the sources in trouble, especially if I wanted those sources to remain in my good graces for the future.
  12. on a competitive beat? why would the dude help out the competition and show 'em where they could listen from?

    once the coach of the NFL team I was covering refused to identify his starting quarterback. practice was closed Wednesday, so we couldn't see who was practicing with the first team and nobody was talking. so I snuck into the stadium across the street, climbed to the top of the bleachers with my binoculars, watched practice, saw who the starter was. wrote the story. we've all got stories like this. it's always fun doing stuff like that. but why share it?
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