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Writing about officials

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by CYowSMR, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. CYowSMR

    CYowSMR Member

    I am a writer as well as an official. This is really kind of an odd subject for me, but here is the situation:

    1A Football. ::)
    Halftime, fight breaks out. Officials attempt to break it up, throw their flags, etc. Fight continues for, say, three minutes until coaches are able to corral players to the locker rooms. Resulted in some penalties and ejections, but most noticeably, the two players involved in the "hard tackle" are not ejected.

    How would you write or handle this in a gamer?
  2. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Have to cover it. Officials should be asked their version of what the hell happened, whether or not they respond. Coaches and players (remaining players), too.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    What effect did the ejections have on the outcome of the game? If minimal, you mention the incident and the ejections and go on. If star players got ejected, it becomes much more important to the story
  4. CYowSMR

    CYowSMR Member

    I didn't even talk to the officials. One, because I already know (from being one) they can not comment. (I also say league regulations prohibit officials to comment) Two, because they run off the field so quickly, it would have been difficult to catch them.

    I understand you have to cover it, but do you even mention the officials?
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yes. You try to talk to them and say they refused to comment, left the field, cited league rules, whatever.

    Just like if you write about someone and can't reach them or they won't talk.

    You can't assume they won't talk because those are the rules. They also have rules prohibiting coaches from criticizing the officiating and coaches violate that all the time.
  6. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    They ran off the field? The fight was at halftime. Grab the referee as he comes out for the second half and ask him what happened.
    Again, it is a small part of the story regardless of anything and a large part if it had an effect on the outcome of the game.

    And you're not going to be writing about the officials. You are going to be getting information and clarification from them about the fight.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Exactly. They are the people with the best information on the event. So you ask. If they refuse to comment, then your readers know you have a petty, self-serving, bullshit high school sports organization -- just like the 49 other states.
    I have found that once officials know you are not trying to be the enemy, they can be helpful. Hell, if you beg them to explain it off the record, or cite the relevant rules, that's SOMETHING to put in the story.
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    And if youo're an official, too, shouldn't you have an in with these guys?
    Hell, some of our writers know half the officials in our area and cen get whatever info they need, if the officials aren't supposed to talk.
  9. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    That's bullshit. They can comment - it's called the first amendment. There are only a few things that people are legally bounded not to discussed and being a football red isn't one of them. You should have talked to them.
  10. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Please, Rhody, this has nothing at all to do with the first amendment.

    Just like any pro league can fine coaches for criticizing officials, a high school association can have a regulalton that says officials are not allowed to comment to the media.
    If some official wants to talk, he can but it's possible he'll face repercussions from the state association.
  11. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Exactly. When I was covering a lot of high school football, I would cover it from the sidelines. I'd chat up the sideline official a lot, especially when we were in the red zone (away from the teams).

    It's fairly easy to get info from them on penalties and such.

    And like you were saying earlier, spnited, this really doesn't need to be a huge part of the story.
    Definitely need to mention what happened and that penalties were assessed, but not sure that an official's official comment is necessary.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I hate all this First Amendment excuse crap. Take a media law class and get back to me.
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