Asking the tough questions

By Chris Ryndak
Interviews aren’t fun.

Keeley touched on this in one of her earlier posts and it’s tough for me to disagree with what she said. But while I really don’t like talking to people one-on-one, I love attending press conferences.

With a press conference, there’s less pressure on you as an individual reporter. If you forget to ask something, there’s (almost) always another reporter there to pick up the slack.

Plus you never know when someone might flip out at the microphone. I had the honor of witnessing a profanity-laced tirade while covering a basketball game for my second article ever at the Spectrum.

Sports reporters deal with a wide variety of personalities and those  in Buffalo have the pleasure of dealing with egotistical Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens this year, who has had more than his fair share of controversial moments.

So when T.O. has an awful game, like he did yesterday against the Saints, everyone expects him to explode. However, when Owens spoke after the game, he did exactly the opposite:

When the reporters didn’t get the answers they wanted (or really any answers at all), they got creative and downright blunt with Owens. One reporter actually asked him if he felt like he was being “wasted” in the offense.

Everyone in that video comes off as unprofessional. Owens is only standing up there because of the perceived obligation he has to talk to reporters. It’s obvious from the start that he doesn’t want to talk to them. So the media becomes frustrated and starts to bait him.

Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News wanted answers, and made it clear in his column today that the media isn’t happy with Owens and that they’re not about to let up on him anytime soon:

A few useless answers later, T.O. was gone. He didn’t have anything to say about [quarterback Trent] Edwards, because he feels the media will twist what he says. He didn’t come to Edwards’ defense, of course, and I wouldn’t have expected him to.

There has to be a line between questions asked to get answers and questions asked to provoke a negative reaction.

Did the media go too far yesterday at Ralph Wilson Stadium? And if they didn’t, how close are they to creating that “T.O. blows up” headline they all seem to crave?

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2 responses to “Asking the tough questions

  1. Are you and Dave connected via wireless? Or was this the hot Spectrum topic this week?

    Content: 4 Great questions. Let’s talk about this in class sometime. The media often does this to celebrities, particularly those known to be volatile. Are they reporting stories or trying to make them? Or are they just trying to ask legitimate questions readers want to know?

    Bring it up in class. Perhaps next week when we start talking about interviewing.

    Your piece flows well, leads succinctly from one thought to the next. Good lead, too.

    Links: 3 High value. I’d like to see what TO says. He’s on Twitter. Any comments from him? Other bloggers? That would be more interesting. Or, how about links to other celebs similarly baited by journalists. This takes more work, but your readers will appreciate it and come back to you the next time for more.

    Grammar: 3 Watch tired phrases, like “had the pleasure” even when you are looking for humor
    Find other words to express the same thought.

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