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The wrong approach?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by micke77, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. micke77

    micke77 Member

    Somebody help me out and tell me where I have screwed up or supposedly screwed up.
    For about two weeks now, I’ve emailed the SID of the local D-I school we cover five very short, to the point questions to pass along to one of the coaches for a mini-Q&A we call “Take Five.”
    I gave him my deadline, told when we absolutely needed it at the very latest. The coach has a busy, crazy schedule and the team has been on a ragged, far-reaching travel schedule. The SID suggested the emailing of the questions, then he’d pass them along to the coach and we’ve have them back to meet our deadline.
    No problem.
    Well, I thought.
    As of Monday, I still had never heard back and had queried a couple of times.
    Covered a prep playoff game at the D-I’s arena last night, the SID is there taking care of stats and I ask him about the Q&A feedback again. He apologized about forgetting. But said the coach would be here tonight and I could get with her while she’s watching the game.
    So indeed, she’s there on press row watching the game. I approach her and sit down. I mentioned about the five questions. She said she would prefer watching the game, then dealing with the questions in between games (there were two on this night).
    Fine. No problem. With the game a rout and maybe 10 seconds left to play, I say, “do you want to take time now to do this? It won’t take long at all.”
    She says, “I really want to finish watching this game.”
    Ten seconds?
    Okay, so we let it rest. And after the game is over, I get no feedback or, “hey, let’s do it” or “we can do the interview now.”…yada, yada.
    Meanwhile, several of her friends come up and they talk and jabber for, oh gosh, 15 to 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, I’m chatting with some fellow writers. Her friends also linger during the next game and chat with her constantly while the game is going on.
    Long short made as short as possible, I never got the five questions done. I allowed her the chance to get back with me after I had asked a couple of times and nothing. Yet, she spends this time chatting with a bunch of friends, both between games and during the game.
    I mean, guys, we’re talking about five questions that would have taken a max of maybe 10 minutes. And that’s a stretch. This is one of those very short Q&A’s where you can practically breathe twice and you’re done.
    And I had never had any trouble with her before and have always had a great relationship. I can’t figure this out and I’ve now missed my deadline and the bosses are wondering why I couldn’t get this done.
    I mean, I went through the SID far ahead of the deadline, and followed up twice with him to see if she had gotten this done.
    Was I out of line for approaching her at a game while she was watching it and checking out some players and did this piss her off or what? I was very courteous about the whole thing and after she had said she wanted to finish watching the game, I complied and made no big deal about it.
    This wouldn’t bother me so much if there had been problems in the past or whatever, but we’ve always gotten along very well. And it’s not like I’m the New Joe Sportswriter on the block interviewing her for the first time. Can’t figure this one out.
    Or has frustration just built up with me after the SID initially didn’t come through a couple of times of getting those questions emailed back to me?
    I don’t know. First time this type of thing has happened to me.
    I just feel like I’m on the short end of this situation after initially having been patient waiting on the feedback from the SID.
  2. MCbamr

    MCbamr Member

    Unless it's Pat Summitt, she loses the free publicity. That would be the right approach in my opinion. Are her games selling out? Then SHE should be calling YOU.
  3. micke77

    micke77 Member

    Well, that's kinda the way I was thinking. I mean, damn, us ol' media types are the ones promoting her and the program, right? Unless I'm missing something here, guys.
    And back to the time element of all of this and how much time it would take. We're not speaking about conversing via stoned tablets. First, the electronic means (e-mail). Then you've got the trusty ol' phone. Or fax. Then an actual face-to-face interview.. Again, doesn't take much time and then we're both outta here and on to more important things.....Duhhhhh.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You should not have chatted with the fellow writers after the game. You should have planted yourself there while she was chatting with her friends and not left until she did the interview.

    Sometimes in this job you have to be a pushy SOB. If you act like someone who can be pushed around, you will be.
  5. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    Next time ... find her car, pop her tires, and ask her as many questions as you want while you give her a lift home.
  6. Yeah, you have to be pushy, even with people you have good relationships with. Talking to the media is just last on people's list of priorities. They mean no ill will by it, most of the time. It's just how people are conditioned.
  7. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Exactly. Just stand next to her, between her and the door, and she'll make time for you.

    I would have waited the 10 seconds before going over to her. When she wants to watch the game, let her watch the game. You've got time.
  8. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Run the 5 questions in a box with the answer lines blank.

    "Coach Snootie did not respond."
  9. micke77

    micke77 Member

    Waylon and Ace....yep, sometimes my worst trait is being too "nice" and too "considerate" of the other person. honestly, I just didn't care to push the issue after having already presented the situation to her. and once her friends did get there, okay...common courtesy prompted me to allow them to chat with her...and yes, all the while I'm thinking, 'well hell, if she can bullshit with them this long, surely she can give me a max of 10 minutes or so." not even that long. see where I'm coming from. weighing one against the other, it just didn't make any sense to me.
    but also again, i was farrrr too nice. and i am sure, the fact she knows me well enough, she figured it wouldn't be a big deal for me. well, obviously, it is, isn't it?
    probably part of my frustration stems from not having been more pushy. i accept the blame there.
  10. I'm not busting your balls at all. I've been the same way hundreds of times probably - missing out because I hate to be a pest. It's a very tough part of this job. I've never gotten used to the "Yes ..." you get when you cold call somebody you don't know. Feel like a telemarketer every time. I just have learned to plow through in service of the work.
  11. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    She is certainly not the only coach in the area you cover. Not the only person who can do five questions. You have other options. Use them. Send the clips to SID and the coach. Let them know what they're missing. Maybe they'll come around. Maybe not. Focus on the people who want to do the interview and ignore the people who don't. Like previously stated, unless it's Pat Summit, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
  12. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This is called living according to everyone else's schedule. We do it all the time.

    The media -- the print media, not TV, that is -- is usually last among people's priorities.
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