Pretty interesting story posted on sportsjournalists.com recently.
It seems Tabby Soignier, University of Louisiana-Monroe beat writer for The News Star, was really pissed off while covering a game between the Warhawks and University of Kentucky a couple of days ago. To be specific, Soignier was outraged by the homer-ish behavior of several members of the Kentucky media force. She wrote a piece on Oct. 11 headlined, ULM LOST, BUT THE REAL LOSERS WERE IN THE PRESS BOX. Here’s a snippet:
I assumed the gentleman next to me was a faux pas journalist — you know the type, the “writer” with a free URL who has a fulltime job but still covers the home team on the side because deep down he really is a fan and wants a free pass into the game and to rub elbows with the players and coaches after the game.
After the fifth outburst of laughter once another ULM player went down, my mouth could not refrain any longer and I asked who he worked for. Come to find out, he actually is a full-time journalist in sheep’s clothing and sadly so were the others around him who yelled across the press box to question ULM’s play calling and moaning about why the Warhawks couldn’t have been Kentucky’s homecoming opponent or a 7 p.m. kickoff since it was so easy to write once the butt kicking started.
It should be noted that the Kentucky media relations department was one of the most professional I had worked with, but as far the writer-to-writer communication, I find it my responsibility to greet the opposing beat writer if ULM is playing at home.
I was pretty fascinated by this. It actually flashed me way back to March, 1992, when the University of Delaware hosted Drexel for a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament. I was a student journalist at the time, sitting alongside Dan B. Levine on press row inside the dark, crappy Bob Carpenter Building. Next to us was the sports editor of the Drexel student paper, who clapped and cheered and waved a little flag (yes, a little flag) throughout the game. I wanted to punch that kid—hard. Instead, I probably just told him he was being unprofessional; that there’s no cheering in the pre—well, along press row.
Hence, I can feel Soignier’s pain. I really can. And, having been a sports journalist in the south for several years, I’ve seen how ridiculously territorial many of the good ol’ boy writers can became. Yes, they technically “cover” the teams. But they’re also protectors and cheerleaders. It’s pathetic, acting in such a way on behalf of an 18-year-old kid whose lone credit is throwing a tight spiral. But it is what it is.
Anyhow, I was ready to back Soignier. To feel her pain. Then I spotted the above Tweet—posted by Soignier, an LSU alum. To be clear: You’re a college football writer. Like, you cover the sport. It’s your beat. Your gig. Your profession. And you’re posing for a photo with … the college coach, giving him all sorts of love and affection? “Enjoyed all the wins”? “Most of all to call you a friend”? “#OneOfAKind”?
License to rip other journalists for lacking professionalism: Revoked.