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Would you touch this story?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mark2010, May 12, 2009.

  1. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    High school softball pitcher, one of the best in the district, misses the entire season because she is pregnant. Apparently, twice, after having a miscarriage on the first pregnancy. Team is not having a good season without her, likely to miss the playoffs.

    Story seems to be rather common knowledge among parents, coaches and players on several area teams. Not sure if she is 18 years old yet or not.

    If you are covering a prep beat, would you do the story? Mention it in passing in a notes column? Avoid it altogether?
     
  2. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    I don't think I would if she's under 18, but it might make for a nice story depending on how you handle it.
     
  3. 4colorpen

    4colorpen New Member

    From a news standpoint, how come one of the best pitchers in the district isn't playing this season??? So the story is valid from a pure news angle.

    If the girl and her family are willing to talk, it could be a good story especially when you learn the impact on the girl's future. Does she think it was a huge mistake and has learned her lesson and is going to go to a JC and will try to play so that she can get an education and provide for the child, is she blowing off college to raise a child, is she an advocate now for other girls to not make the same mistake, does she feel like she let down her teammates/family. If the story is available, I'd write it. If it's not available, i.e., the family doesn't want to cooperate, you can always refer to Susie Jones missing the season with a "medical issue."
     
  4. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    Definitely not a notes item.
     
  5. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    4color, you assume the girl and her family think it's a mistake. If this is the second pregnancy, clearly there is intent to get pregnant. The girl may not see it as a mistake. She may envision a positive impact on her future. She may not give a lick about softball or her teammates or state or whatever. Just saying, there may be another side to this.

    Speaking of other sides, would you write a story or a notebook item on the baseball team's star outfielder who got the star softball pitcher pregnant? What if he quit baseball to take a job to support the baby? How would you write that up?

    And other "what ifs" to consider before jumping into a story like this:
    -- What if you report she's pregnant, then she terminates the pregnancy and rejoins the team? Are you going to follow up?
    -- What if the father is not Johnny Quarterback but is, in fact, 40-year-old Uncle Chester and this is an incest/abuse situation? Are you prepared to go there with a prep softball feature?

    =======

    Devil's advocate questions aside, if she's missed the whole season and you're just now considering writing it up, you've missed the boat. Should have done this at the beginning of the season when she didn't make the roster. At that point you know if the girl is going to talk openly, and give it a mention in the season preview or first gamer. But if she hasn't been on the team the whole season, don't focus on her now. Focus on the team that takes the field.
     
  6. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Uhh...yeah. A notes item? Seriously? That would be awkward.

    Janey Centerfielder's four-hit game Tuesday was the first by a Bumfuck Tech player since Fiona Shortstop had four hits Apr. 22, 2007...Bumfuck Tech is 121-3 all-time against East Bumfuck Tech...Coach Bobby Bobsalot recorded his 200th career victory Friday, leaving him just 12 wins behind Bumfuck Tech's all-time winningest coach, Timmy Timsalot...Patty Pitcher had two miscarriages this year.
     
  7. CM Punk

    CM Punk Guest

    Fuck no.

    People are funny about things that are "common knowledge" that suddenly wind up in print. I don't trust management not to completely throw me under the bus and rape my corpse if there's a backlash and things get ugly. I need my paycheck more than I need a good story at this point in my life.
     
  8. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    If you talk to the family, and they're cool with a story being published, go for it. But tread carefully, of course.

    I did a series a few years back on a HS softball player (best pitcher on the team) who missed part of her junior season, I believe, because of a pregnancy. Visited with her and her family several times, and they were great.

    If you decide to do it, check your facts. Then check them again. Then again. Then again. Then again. You get the idea.
     
  9. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Tread extremely carefully.

    If they first say OK, then you should discuss the possible backlash from the article. Not sure where you are, but there's a certain element in most places that would see the article as a jumping off point to discuss immorality in the letters column.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
  10. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Agree completely. I did this story in Virginia, but I wouldn't dare touch it in Alabama.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
  11. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    It's not MY beat and the guy who would be inline to do it doesn't want to, feeling as though it would be an invasion of privacy. I see that point, too, we're talking about high school teenagers here. I'm glad I don't have to make that call, as I don't know what I would do. I'm not one for ignoring newsworthy items, but I'm not out to humiliate people, either.

    Just wondered how all the others here would approach a similar situation.
     
  12. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    I don't think there's ever any harm in looking into these things. That is, after all, our job -- no matter how uncomfortable it makes us.

    If the family refuses to talk or whatever, then you drop it. If they want to talk, it would probably make for a great piece.
     
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