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"You're not being nice to us!"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by KYSportsWriter, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    ... The reply from an area boys' basketball coach, whose team isn't that good, when asked what problem he had with my paper.

    A few weeks ago, I covered a doubleheader at a well-known military institution in my area. Following the boys' game, the coach proceeds to go on a rant about my paper's coverage of the team, saying we're not being fair to him or his team. He says he doesn't like when our headlines make his team to be, well, as bad as advertised.

    The team, at the time, had all of three wins. They finished with six before losing last night in the district tournament.

    Anyhow, the coach was saying he wasn't pleased with how his team had been portrayed in recent days in the paper. Only problem, though, is his team was only in our paper once that week because we got the box score from another paper. I told him he was probably confusing us with a small weekly we print and house at our office.

    Fast-forward a few weeks and we get a call from the SE of that small paper. She says the coach has some sort of written agreement with our SE that we'll be nicer to his team. Coach says he called and spoke with our SE regarding this, but our SE doesn't remember a call from him.

    Apparently the agreement is as such: The coach will only deal with my paper and not the small weekly, which is distributed on post and other places around the county each week.

    And, evidently, this isn't limited to basketball. According to the small weekly SE, every team at the school is boycotting her paper because of the lack of "fair" coverage.

    Have any of you ever dealt with something like this, having a coach say he has an agreement in place with you when there really is no such thing?
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Have your SE call the coach and ask to see that written agreement. Hilarity may ensue.
  3. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Haven't heard of anything like that and you just write around the coach if he/she refuses to comment.
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Birds sing, dogs bark, fish swim, coaches lie.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    1. I would never ask a coach what problem he had with the paper. If he has a problem he will let you know. Hell, I have problems with the paper and I work here. Everyone has problems with the paper. Never ask that question.

    2. When coaches go on these rants, just smile and nod and agree that some headlines are unfortunate, whatever. Say you hope the team gives them the chance to write more positive stories. This is a can't win. There is no real issue, just the fact that the team sucks and the paper is being accurate.

    3. I would just treat this as if you heard nothing about an alleged agreement and I certainly would do the same if I were the editor of the other paper. If the coach brings up the agreement again, and I were the other editor, I would call the principal and ask for a copy or FOI it just for fun.
  6. I covered a football team this year that went 0-9 to extend their losing streak to 17 games. This team was really bad -- their offense did not score a touchdown in over 200 minutes at one point. I think the coach knew they were bad. I would put their futility in previews and the coach never once complained. I truly believe that the coach understood that his team was bad and could not get around the fact. It's easy to cover a team when they're good, but I covered every game this team played, even the games that were over 90 minutes away. The coach just appreciated that we covered his bad team. I will always have respect for that coach.
  7. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Problem solved.
  8. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    This coach sounds like he has a mental problem saying there's some written agreement when there is none. I realize coaches lie, but this is to a new level. If you snitch on him to the AD he'd be in trouble. I personally wouldn't snitch, though.
  9. micke77

    micke77 Member

    I can tell you an incident once when I got my ass chewed out by a coach who--ready for this?--said we were building his team up too much.
    it was a basketball team that was kicking ass from the get-go and forged like a 20-plus game winning streak. they take that streak into a game against a rival school. the favored team, the one with the W string, got beat.
    so afterwards--no kidding--in the post game press conference, the losing coach rips my ass for building his team up to the point where they got to believing how good they were. he said it created too much pressure for them, that there was no way they could live up to it.
    yea, guess so. guess they were reading those clippings during the time outs.
  10. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    This ain't exactly true. Once had a the manager of the local minor-league baseball team, who I covered every day for a season and a half, tell his team to freeze me out. For two or three games, I tried to get quotes and they all said they couldn't comment. It finally took me going to the manager and saying, "What the fuck?" to get it resolved.

    He explained they were upset with something I had written a week earlier, which, it turns out, they had completely misinterpreted. Once I explained it, he felt like an ass and apologized. But had I not initiated the conversation by saying, "What the fuck?" this might have gone on forever.
  11. micke77

    micke77 Member

    Some Guy...I have found the "what the fuck?" method the best to use in such circumstances. And even others. :D
    A lot of coaches get into the "Man up" or "macho" mode and think some of us scribes might get intimidated or back away from dealing with them. 'Fraid not.
    Every now and then, a little of the "what the fuck?" is good.
    I do that with the D-I baseball coach I have to deal with. Tries that crap about not granting me access to some of the players when he thinks we're not covering them right, enough or whatever. Or he's in just a shit-rotten mood that he would cuss out Mother Theresa if she walked into the locker room.
    What the fuck?
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Good point. Though I would counter that saying, "What the fuck?" in relation to some obvious freezeout is different from asking someone who apparently is cooperating what problem they have with the paper.

    Hell, everyone has problems with the paper.
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