Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Now Hear This

As many of you know, I am a sports writer at a small daily in Southern Arkansas. The high school baseball season started up here this week and I finally have a complaint about my job.
I guess the honeymoon period is over from me, but we had two teams to cover on Monday. The only problem was there as only one sports writer (Me) to do it. I went to the 5A opener (Largest Classification in Arkansas) over the 2A opener. To my surprise when I get to work yesterday there are all kinds of notes from the 2A schools parents and such.
We did not have anything in the paper because nobody called in.
I called one person and she wanted to know "Who is covering their team." I replied, "It is me, but I was at another game. It is up to the coach to call stuff in when the writers are not there."
Then the emails were exactly the same. "These kids need coverage, blah, blah, blah." You guys get the picture.
Even the people with coverage were complaining now. There was a play where a kid on a sac fly ran over the catcher. There is some rule that if you can slide you are supposed to, but the kid just knocked the catcher out cold. He was tossed from the game. It was a not a dirty play, but our photographer caught it on film as they hit each other.
Parents and fans called about the picture. They said we should not run stuff like that it shows their team in a bad light. As this point I was mad. We are not a PR department for the local high school. That is the one main problem I have about small town newspapers. They think we are in the business of promoting the teams, but I am a paid newspaper journalist. My job is to report the news and not make sure Johnny Boy looks good in the paper.
I am going to report the good and the bad, but some fans and parents I guess can't handle this.
I covered another game last night and when I go to the office there better be no notes or anything. I just don't think I can take two days in a row.