I need to vent a bit, and it will be to all of you, instead of who I actually would like to vent at.
Part of my job … the non-blogging, non-rugby, not-as-much-fun one … is to deal with media on issues related to my job. Two weeks ago, I had a reporter come in who had clearly not done his homework related to the interview, was 15 minutes late, didn’t bother to call and tell me he and his camera man were running late and then bumbled his way through an interview with one of our bigwigs here.
Seriously … did you just graduate from reporting school?
So, I’m already annoyed with him and the interview’s progressing, with far too many leading questions looking for soundbites (top signs you’re a poor reporter!) and then he latches on to something Mr. Bigwig says. And he won’t let it go. And he’s trying to spin Mr. Bigwig’s completely clean and true statements into something it’s not, to create a juicy story that isn’t there and go after something bigger which we can’t speak on behalf of this different entity (we’re local, the entity is national).
[It should be noted that I have great respect for good journalism, because that is essentially my education and career. That said, I have no respect for news whores and sensationalism.]
He keeps poking and prodding and angling. So for the first time in my career of dealing with the media, I actually stopped an on-camera interview to tell him to back off, that his questions have nothing to do with us and he really needs to stop this line of questioning. So he does. And that’s that. But doing my job, I warn other people that this reporter may follow-up on these questions with them. And it turns out he does …
So now, yesterday, I receive an e-mail that our staff saw his story with our interview footage mixed in with interview with this national entity. And it’s not good. And’s it been picked up by other news stations. Well, actually for us, it’s good because we did our job, but the reporter has turned a non-existent story into a news piece that paints itself in drama, fear and factual errors.
Our staff wants this television news station to know that this story was full of discrepancies and also improperly portrays the national entity. I’m told from on-high that we don’t want to add more fuel to the fire, but that a letter to the news station would be sent pointing out the poor journalism and factual errors. But now I’ve been told that we’re just going to move past it, so we don’t add more attention that it has already received.
I understand this point. But I also strongly feel that this reporter should be told of the errors in his story and his poor journalism.
So I’m just going to sit here pissed off and hope that the Universe is keeping track of this guy’s karma.