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"You never cover us"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by goalmouth, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. PaperClip529

    PaperClip529 Active Member

    Exactly. Unless the story is some heartwarming piece about a kid overcoming a lot of adversity, nobody from Podunk East is clicking/reading that Podunk Prep story... and they probably aren't even clicking/reading that story either.
    SFIND, FileNotFound and BurnsWhenIPee like this.
  2. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    Had this conversation with the publisher in Rocky Mount 25 years ago when he wanted us to waste Friday nights at the all-white, rich kids academy instead of the three big public schools.

    "You need to cover RMA more. That's where our readers are. (Unspoken: And my kid goes there.)"

    "So you want me to stop covering schools that have sent players like Phil Ford and Julius Peppers to major colleges so your buddies get their kids' names in the paper?"


    "You realize those kids are playing only because they'd be riding the bench at the public schools?"

    "Yeah, but we need to serve the readers."

    "Well, my guess is the readers want to know who's going on to play at Carolina and State. When RMA has a kid of that level, I'll give them the same level of coverage. And I'll expect a nice raise in salary, since that's where the readers are."

    I also caught on real quick that the folks who bitched the most about coverage were the same ones who worked the booster club concessions while their kids were in school, but disappeared the day after graduation and were never heard from again. When it's "my kid" and not "the school," don't expect me to have much sympathy.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  3. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Although it's been said, many times, many ways, the greatest act of courage I saw in my time in newspapers was when the city editor stood up to the publisher, who wanted a group shot of the cast of the school play (including his kid) on the front page.
    maumann likes this.
  4. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Hey! That's me.

    My son graduates in May and, after four years, I will have volunteered at enough events to rack up $7,500 for his soccer team to (at $50 a pop from the booster club) have meals on road games and, sigh, FIVE sets of kits for the varsity squad. Yes, you read that right. Five. Home white, road green, "big game gold", playoff black and "rivalry charcoal".


    The one part of the money that actually does some good is that some of it helps with Ubers for the four kids from immigrant families that don't have the transportation means the other players do.

    Daughter plays basketball but I don't feel as compelled to volunteer for her program because football/basketball already get healthy cuts from ticket sales.

    Once he's out, I'm out, too. Did my time. They'll have to make due with those five sets of uniforms. :)
    maumann likes this.
  5. ChrisLong

    ChrisLong Well-Known Member

    One of my SE's showed his juevos a couple of times.

    As the bosses were trying to move into the digital age, one of their "ideas" was the SE and ASE's did not have to be involved with the print edition anymore. Only the Web. The SE told the EE, "My name and phone number are on the front page every day. I take all of the complaint calls. I damn sure am going to be involved in what goes into the paper."

    Another was their "plan" on how to cover a typical MLB game for the beat writer. From about 3 until 11 p.m. it included pregame video, fan chat, blogging during the game, more postgame video, more fan chat. It included everything EXCEPT WRITING THE DAMN STORY. The SE said, "it's 11 o'clock and we've done everything except write a story." The EE said, "Use AP." The SE said, "I am not using AP to cover a major league baseball team that plays 2 miles from this office."
  6. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    1) That's where the publisher's kid goes.
    2) Because that's the only crowd the publisher sees, that's the only bunch of complaints (s)he really hears. So it's about RMA, not Rocky Mount High School, not Southern Nash, not Northern Nash.
    3) Want to bet that those complainers claimed they would buy more ads if Rocky Mount Academy was covered, only to back out after publisher - implying to you that if you weren't willing to do this, would find someone who gladly would - made it happen?
    4) These are people who not only believe the sun and moon truly revolves around them, but also have zero understanding of the Big Picture. Zero.

    Let me guess ... Rocky Mount Academy should be centerpiece the same night they play as Chapel Hill-Duke men's basketball, right?
    maumann likes this.
  7. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Isn't that always the case? I mean ... if a parent isn't blaming a loss on your being there, a parent just isn't trying hard enough.
  8. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    It's funny readying some of this and the we don't get coverage complaints but us showing that coverage doesn't get read stuff, even high schools. I always dealt with some crazy parents on the community beat, but I was far from a parent at that time. I always hated it but brushed it off as over zealous parents and left it at that. Never had any real issues with it.

    It wasn't until recently, though, while I now have a son who is good enough to play pretty competitive sports and now see the crazy parents as peers and sometimes even friends, how true no one at large actually gives a crap. When you're at a game, and it really doesn't matter what the sport is, and you're watching it play out and some kids are getting playing time and others aren't even though they are all about the same ability level and parents are stewing on both sides because, crap, things just aren't going the way they thought it would for little Johnny. And you're quietly witnessing all this (one thing the on-the-job training taught me is to flush it all out and I still do a pretty good job at least publicly with my kids) and thinking, man, other than the two dozen people here no one gives two shits about this game or what is happening. Yet all these people are acting like it's the Super Bowl.

    There's a reason people don't read these stories, and maybe it's the market now a days and it could be different in smaller tight nit communities, but it's because no one cares. If those around these teams figured that out, things might run a bit better.
    maumann, BurnsWhenIPee and HanSenSE like this.
  9. rtse11

    rtse11 Active Member

    There is a parent in a local community who filed a grievance against a high school coach over playing time. We found out about it only because the parent included in the grievance that the coach was promoting other players over her daughter, which included video interviews with our reporter. The school's H.R. director talked to our reporter about the videos.
  10. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Same, Roscalbo.

    A few years back, when I was stilll in the business, my daughter played some mid-level club volleyball. We went to a tournament, and one of the bitch mothers of a friend/teammate tried to call me out, saying, "Are you here to write a big story on this tournament?"

    I just said, "Everyone who is interested in reading about this tournament is within these 4 walls watching it. Literally everyone."

    She started to balk and I stopped her, asking her to tell me the name of 1 person who isn't here, but is interested in this event enough to buy a paper to read about it. Just 1 person.

    She hemmed and hawed, then walked away grumbling.
  11. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    First off, hoping they were just interviews posted on your website and not something specifically produced for mama. Second, actions like this are becoming way too common, if the principal doesn't kowtow to parents first.

    Yeah, but scholarships ...
  12. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    We could share some crazy stories!

    Because karma's a bitch, one of the times I went to RMA, a kid in the JV boys' game suffered a compound fracture of his leg -- and they basically postponed the rest of the night's schedule. But I did see them play a couple of times a season -- and it was as you would expect, a step up from pick-up lunch games, only with fancy uniforms.

    The thing that least surprised me about working Down East between 1993 and 1999 was the extension/redirection of segregation by creating new "exclusive" education for the rich white kids (or even poor white kids) so they wouldn't have to concern themselves with the great unwashed colored folks now attending public schools. So they were taught whatever their parents wanted the teachers they paid to teach, instead of actually getting a different perspective before heading off to avoid the real world in college. It's a vicious circle.

    But sports wasn't necessarily exclusively white-black or public-private. It was just exclusionary. A group of fathers created a special "travel ball" baseball team -- with the best black kids, too -- as a pipeline to Rocky Mount Senior High, to play better teams than the city's Little League programs. And the two private gated communities basically funneled all their kids into the tennis, golf and swimming teams.
    Liut likes this.
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