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What's the right place for potentially controversial questions after a championship?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SoloFlyer, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Active Member

    So I've followed the Stanley Cup playoffs closely because it's one of the more entertaining postseasons in sports. In doing so, I've followed a lot of the local writers and personalities who cover the teams. Some travel, some don't.

    Apparently some of the Pittsburgh people are saying that in the aftermath of the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup tonight, local Pittsburgh TV reporters - at least one, if not a couple - are asking some pretty brutal questions in live interviews.

    Some sound like poor phrasing, which happens to all of us - one apparently asked Pascal Dupuis about how "depressing" the season was in light of having to retire due to blood clots. I think you can ask about the blood clots and the experience if you phrase it well.

    But others have been more odd. One asked Mario Lemieux if he still had intentions of selling the team. The other asked Marc-Andre Fleury, who lost his job to a rookie due to injury and never regained it, if he still had a future in Pittsburgh.

    In a vacuum, those are fine questions. But is there a time and place for them? And is the moment after that team won a championship it? I ask this knowing that hockey usually has a "breakdown day", where the players, coaches and management are available to ask free agents about their future, etc. So do those questions belong there? Or are they appropriate any time, even after a championship?

    EDIT: Just to clarify, I personally think it's fine to bring up what a player/coach might consider a sensitive subject. I do think the wording is important, and perhaps that's why some reporters get backlash on social media. But I'm curious what the consensus is BECAUSE off the backlash we do tend to see from fans/readers/viewers.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  2. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    Should they cheer for them and congratulate them?
    YankeeFan likes this.
  3. JohnHammond

    JohnHammond Well-Known Member

    Someone needs a primer on what "controversial" means.
  4. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Active Member

    Absolutely not.

    I just see the backlash - granted its social media, so take it with a grain of salt - so I'm curious what the prevailing wisdom is. Plus, we see questions asked regularly immediately after a game, especially a championship, that deal with a player's or coach's future. Are they worthwhile questions at that moment? Is there such a thing as a bad time to ask a question about a player's future?
  5. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Active Member

    It's sports. Nothing is really, truly controversial.

    I find these situations interesting. You have three different perspectives (media, fans/readers/viewers, and competitors) converging all at once. So I figure why not ask other journalists what they think about the timing of certain questions.
  6. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Any big answer question asked after a game where the season ends is stupid 99 percent of the time.
    You still have to ask for that 1 percent chance.
  7. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    After the Marlins won the World Series in 1997, during the trophy presentation, the reporter asked the owner if he was going to keep the team together. Of course he said he will, and of course he did not. Thought that was the right time to ask such a "controversial" question.
  8. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I can't speak to the pro beats, but when it comes to college athletics, you have to ask those uncomfortable questions right then. Why? Because access at the college level is such crap, you never know if you'll get to talk to that athlete or coach ahead of that event/decision/whatever that you're interested in.

    I get fans mad at me all the time for asking questions in press conferences they think are too "hard." Sorry. If your team's SID (not always SID's fault, sometimes it's the coach) would be willing to provide more one-on-one time that I don't have to schedule a week out, I wouldn't have to ask then. But that press conference is my opportunity. It would be irresponsible of me not to ask.

    For example, I after the bowl loss, I asked the star wide receiver if he knew whether he was going to turn pro or return for his senior year. He was polite and said he hasn't made up his mind yet. Which is totally fine by me. But I had to ask. And of course, there were upset readers saying "now isn't the time."
  9. Tweener

    Tweener Active Member

    Fans aren't in a position to say what's fair and what's not. Most of them don't understand the role of a reporter (it's not to be a publicist or a fanboy for the team) and don't understand the difficulties reporters face when it comes to getting interview opportunities after a season has ended.

    I was once told by an SID a day after the team's final game that the season was over and the players are therefore free from any media obligations. So, piss off, in a nutshell. If you have a personal relationship with or a phone number for player, fine. If not, you have to ask, regardless of whether it's the appropriate time or not.
  10. Tweener

    Tweener Active Member

    Oh, and by the way, I then tracked down the player on my own and the SID was pissed that i didn't set it up with him. Go figure.
    HanSenSE likes this.
  11. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Maybe those Pittsburgh media folk cut their teeth across the state.

    "Philadelphia is the only city where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day." -- Mike Schmidt
    studthug12 likes this.
  12. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    The accessibility is really the thing. Maybe a couple of the beat writers will be able to wrangle these guys for one more interview session before they scatter to the offseason wind. For most of the media, they'd damn well better get what they can while they can get it. Between travel schedules, guys scattering for the summer, SIDs going on vacation after the season ends, etc., that might be the only time you have to ask those questions.
    Would there be a better time to ask it? Maybe. Probably. But do you have another time to ask it is the real issue.
    Key journalism life lesson: A bird in the hand. Whenever you can get something done that'll take two minutes now, while someone is in front of you, don't wait to call them the next day figuring you'll be able to get hold of them. Odds are you probably won't find them.
    HanSenSE likes this.
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