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What's the dumbest question you've ever asked?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DeskMonkey1, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    Back in college, when I actually got to report, I was covering our basketball team and was at the opposing coach's press conference. Now, toward the end of the game, after the visitors had rallied to make a big lead into a small one, one of the home team players hit a fluke three pointer to give my school a 4 or 5 point lead with about two seconds remaining.

    I was trying to get something along the lines of "what was going through your head at that moment" but because I was so hesitant to use "talk about" (and this was 2003!) the words that came out of my mouth were

    "Was that shot demoralizing?"

    What the hell is a coach going to say to that question? "Well, yes, DeskMonkey, we wanted to close up shop and go home early."

    He rightfully put me in my place.

    How about you?
  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    "So, what was it like in the ... facility?"

    "Fa-CILITY!?!! Is that what you guys are calling it thsee days?" -- Pete Rose
  3. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    I didn't think it was a dumb question, and in fact thought it was pretty good, but ... While I was also in college and learning to report, I did some work for the local NFL team magazine. I did a few features during training camp, with the interviews conducted in one day at the team's facility. I sat down with Bucs special-teams coach Joe Marciano, and he was a total dick, which was quite unsettling to a new reporter. This was the year after Reggie Roby left the team, and I asked the coach if the punt coverage team was going to miss Roby's hang time. He looked at me like I had three heads and basically said Roby's hang time sucked. Sure, it was toward the end of his career, but I'm pretty sure Roby was known for his towering kicks and wearing a watch to clock his hang time. Sure made me feel stupid. Dick.
  4. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    "How does it feel to have a gymnasium named after you?"

    "Well, I don't know anything about that," he replied, as I turned and saw the banner proclaiming "John Doe Gymnasium" still covered.

    They were waiting until halftime to make the announcement.
  5. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I asked Jim Bouton if his book was about his last year with the Yankees.
  6. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    I covered a prep basketball team where the coach was a real asshole. He wasn't the asshole in this story, but it's good to know for his reaction. I had a parent tell me the other team wasn't playing its starters and I took him at his word without looking up to see if it was true. The home team loses, as expected, but they played really well and asshole coach was actually in a good mood after the game. First question (don't remember the exact words but basically it was this): You guys did well, but was that because they sat their best players? He immediately got pissed. It wasn't true (as I confirmed with a quick check to maxpreps at the office). It was one word answers until I left.

    In my car I'm being myself up because I knew I should have gotten him taking about how well his team played before asking that question. Or at least I should have looked it up before asking.
  7. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    Will you marry me?
    Songbird likes this.
  8. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    First paper I worked for (in an area with a big St. Louis Cardinals following) sent me, at age 23, to cover NLCS games in St. Louis. Ken Oberkfell won one of the games in the ninth inning with a single off the Braves' Gene Garber, raising his career average to Garber to something like .675. The postgame news conference wasn't packed because it was a Saturday night and many reporters had to write fast game stories to make early deadlines, but there were still quite a few veteran baseball writers there.

    Too naive in covering baseball to know that a hitter probably isn't going to reveal his trade secrets or anything a pitcher is doing wrong, I asked Oberkfell, "Why do you hit Garber so well?" Oberkfell was a friendly, decent guy and just smiled and said something about really concentrating against Garber, but many of the veteran writers were shaking their heads and sneering -- like, "Why is this idiot covering this series?" Later, one of the Chicago baseball writers, a nice guy, pulled my aside, explained the error of my ways, told me not to take the reaction personally, and urged me to treat it as a learning experience.
  9. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Can I get a raise?
  10. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    After Sylvester Croom was hired as Mississippi State's football coach he did a meet and greet with the local alumni association. I got a few minutes of interview time and, in asking about expectations and whatnot, asked him about the pressures he was facing being in the spotlight as the SEC's first black head coach.
    Of course, it didn't come out like that. Halfway through I fumbled a bit and tried to be too PC instead of being straightforward. Instead of asking if he thought there was more pressure on him to succeed than there would be for a first-year white head coach (which would actually have been a good question), it came out, "Do you feel more pressure than, you know, a 'normal' coach might?"
    As soon as the words came out I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Fortunately, I think he knew what I was getting at, sort of smiled and gave a better answer than the question deserved, and we were able to finish the interview without him calling me a racist asshole and punching me in the face.
  11. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    What's your opinion of Kingman's performance?
  12. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I once asked Craig Biggio, after the Astros had made four errors, "What was up with all those errors?"

    I was 22. And I knew immediately how dumb it was and actually apologized the next day and he was cool about it.
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