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We bring them back to life?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HanSenSE, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Strange week or so here, and not just the usual basketball playoff craziness.

    A week or so ago, there was a wreck outside a city in our area. We find out later one of the people injured was the frosh girls basketball coach. Last Wednesday, our reporter covers the school's girls basketball playoff game, to be told by the school the coach had died. Requite moment of silence before the game, distracted team stumbles through game but wins, candlelight vigil outside gym after the game and darned if we don't report the heck out of it.

    Go into office yesterday and news editor tells us "The coach isn't dead." Huh? I know we're good, but revivals aren't in our job description. Turns out the school got bum information from the family and spread it. I don't feel like we did anything wrong, except trust officials who should have the right information. And it's not like we're going to turn it into a Senifeld episode and demand the death certificate before publishing, are we?

    Link to the cleanup story by the newsies (outing alert level: low):
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

  3. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    You probably didn't do anything wrong, but even so you're now in the odd position of being part of the story (your paper at least) rather than just covering someone else's story. You have to appreciate that and give an accounting of your role in the whole affair and hold it up to scrutiny.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I put a dead girl in a volleyball box score once. Opposing team, not one I covered. She died in a car crash before the season, her team kept her in the program as a memorial. I miswrote a stat and her number got written down for an assist or a block or something.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Rick's editor: "This girl here is dead!"
    Rick: "Well, cross her off then."
  6. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    The other editors know what happened and understand, that's for sure. Haven't seen any of those "how could you guys screw this up" messages from a reader ... yet. In light of recent developments, I'm thinking there's a family disagreement on pulling the plug vs. keeping her alive that we got stuck in the middle of.
  7. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Could be worse, Rick. You could have done what some stringer for Florida Today (or it might have been the Orlando Sentinel) did while covering a prep basketball game about 20 years ago, when he didn't have a roster for an out-of-town team -- he simply used the names of the seven astronauts from the doomed Challenger flight in the box. Scobee 2 2-7 6, Onizuka 4 3-6 11, Resnik 0 0-2 0, etc. The way I understand the (possibly apocryphal) story, the desk caught it, the box never ran and the stringer was fired.
  8. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Wow, hack, that's repulsive.

    Someone can fill us in on the facts, but I recall a guy at one of the Boston papers put a dead girl's name in a prep softball season preview several years back, relying on the prior year's roster.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    The totally legit and above-board "recruiting list" Oregon bought from Willie Lyles included two dead players.
  10. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    When the paper got the initial word of the coach's death, did it try to confirm directly with the family, the county coroner, police or hospital?
  11. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    That is ridiculous.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Actually, the worst would be ignoring the whole thing until you could nail it down in concrete with the moment of silence, the vigil, the absence of the coach. Even if it turned out that you were right, not acknowledging the public outpouring and the public announcement would have brought some serious heat, I imagine. Even more if it was confirmed after deadline he was indeed dead.

    Hell, I hate it when the COACHES report "Jessica....2-0-4, Emily 3-1-7, No. 3 10-6-26.
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