To Break or Not to Break?

24 Apr

By: Ashley Rogers

Former WVU student and current WTRF-TV sports reporter Jordan Crammer has had her share of ethical dilemmas. And with every dilemma there is a chance to learn from it. She learned and gained a lot from one issue she has faced.

Although she has been working for about a year, she has gotten pretty close with the athletic offices she covers. Recently while at a softball game, she received a text asking “can you keep a secret?” Of course she said yes. The coach had told her that a very well-known and highly successful coach would be leaving the school.

“It was shocking news and one that no one saw coming. And news that I knew before any player and a lot of other media outlets.”

She immediately called her boss to get advice on what to do. Break the news? Or wait and investigate? Her boss advised her find out all she could and get back to the station. A release was expected to be put out at 6:30.

“My station had a web article made, tweets ready, a Facebook post ready, everything. We kept refreshing emails and the schools page.”

Once the release was online, the station broke the story. In the weeks that followed, she found out more information. She found out who would be working with the coach at his new school, who he would be bringing with him, and who his replacement would be. However, she kept the information to herself until it was public through the school so she wouldn’t tarnish any sources for her or the station.

In the end, she was able to get an interview with the coach to set the record straight. The interview was able to make all parties involved look good and later on when she forgot a battery at a press conference to introduce the new coach, the postponed the conference ten minutes for her.

“It was then I realized I was glad I didn’t go over people to get the story even sooner. We still broke the news, but we didn’t tarnish reputations or relationships while doing it.”

In my opinion she handled the situation well. So many outlets want to be the first to release a story but that can burn bridges. When you work on the local level, you have to stay on the good side of the teams you’re covering. Whether it’s good or bad news, it has to get covered. But in some instances, you have to make sure you aren’t stepping on people just to get a story out because that may hurt you in the long run by ruining your relationships with sources which are essentially your best friends in journalism, especially when covering sports.

 

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