Reporting on a WSU loss
February 24, 2008, 12:30 am
Filed under: Basketball, Ethics

For the first time since I started this blog, the Cougars men’s basketball team lost a game. And this was a home game, in front of 10,000 WSU fans. Now, I did my work — my quick web story and my post-game video — but there was a lot going on at the press table as the Cougars somewhat self-destructed and gave Arizona a win.

Tonight was the first time I really noticed what I can only describe as a question of ethics. If the Cougars missed an easy shot (which happened a lot) or the refs made a questionable call (which also happened a lot), a few of the so-called objective sportswriters would comment on this. A “c’mon” here and a “what was that?” there. It was mostly on things detrimental to the Cougars, though not exclusively.

As journalists, we are supposed to be objective and not have a tendency to pull for the team we cover. But it’s obvious to me that a sportswriter on a beat such as the WSU basketball beat has some justification to do so. First of all, you have been through it all with the team from the beginning — games, practices, interviews, traveling. In a way, you have grown to like the guys on the team. You know them. And you want them to do well, because you know how much work they put into it.

The other reason might be because the better a team does, the more interest there might be in your writing. I don’t want to discount this idea, but I really don’t believe this comes much into play. When you’re a journalist on a beat, you become so interested in the job that you want to tell the stories. You don’t really care how many people read them. Sure, it’s nice to get feedback, but — at least for me — once you’ve written a story and it’s published in the paper, you forget about it. You move on to the next story.

I just found it interesting, today, to realize how much each sportswriter has vested in the team. You follow it day in and day out. It becomes a large part of your life. And, like any other part of your life, you want that to succeed.

Whaddaya think?


1 Comment so far
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I would think the self interest would come from wanting the team to do well enough to keep your beat running at full steam and full conflict.

The better they do, the longer the season, the more fans, the more tournaments you get to go cover.

No matter what, the longer they win, the more drama there is, the more tension there is, which makes for better stories. And when they lose, they fall from a greater height — again more drama.

I’m glad you have an intense season to get started with WSU whether they win or lose.

Comment by jonesdaily

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