8/12/2010 1:23am, #1
Reporting and amateurs, here we go again
So, I frequently come to BS forums regarding ethical dilemmas when I report on combat sports. Odd as it seems, BS has always been something of a moral compass for me when it comes to gray areas in reporting truth in combat sports.
This time I have no doubt what the right thing to do is and my question is more about diplomacy. Last week I was covering M-1 Global and sent a first timer to cover the Central Pennsylvania Warrior Challenge. It was her first time reporting on MMA, but she did go to the same college writing program I did so she was significantly more qualified than just any schlub when it comes to writing. So, I gave her a little primer with advice on reporting MMA and trusted all would be well.
Now, when she submitted her in-depth article on the event there was one section where what she described didn't quite make sense. So, I called her and asked her to talk me through it and we reconstructed the section of the fight using proper description and terminology. She was away from her notes and going from memory and it was just one big, horrible game of telephone, but in the end I thought we got it.
One of the cornermen in that fight e-mailed me saying that the description of that part of the bout was incorrect. I was upset that something went wrong but not surprised. I actually knew this cornerman vaguely and trusted him, so I immediately printed a retraction, took the blame publicly for the misunderstanding, and everything worked out fine.
Except now there was a fighter from earlier on the card reading that we printed a retraction. This different fighter was on the wrong end of a 16 second knockout that earned special highlight mention in the article. The article states that they sized each other up briefly and this fighter was dropped in one punch that basically ended the bout.
Photos of the event and a video recording from someone close to the winner of the bout confirm this. The winner was the one who provided the video. But, the fighter who lost is now complaining to the writer, my operations manager at home office, and everyone else who will listen that this article falsely portrayed the bout as one sided. The bout that he was knocked out before the 20 second mark.
Now, I understand that training so hard and getting caught so early is emotionally devastating. And this man probably genuinely believes that the feints in the beginning or the brief moment when his opponent moved in to finish him off constituted more action. So, I told him if he provides video from another angle and states explicitly what he feels we got wrong, we will of course print a retraction for him, as well.
Now, I would be shocked as all hell if this magic video that depicts a 16 second long heroic battle really exists. But, I still don't want to be a dick to an ammy fighter, not sure but I think it was his first fight, who probably hasn't even fully mentally regrouped from the loss, yet.
I'd like to try to smooth this over, but I would never retract a true statement written by an author under me, nor would I place any blame on said author for reporting what she saw and standing by it. What's a good thing to do?
8/12/2010 1:44am, #2
8/12/2010 2:55am, #3
- Join Date
- May 2010
- Nowhere In Particular
I've seen plenty of delusion amateur 'hero losers'. No matter what YOU see in the video (aka the truth) he'll see how if he has juuuust zigged when he actually zagged, the knockout would have gone the other way.
My advice is to just ignore him. No one probably really listens to him anyhow.
8/12/2010 3:48am, #4
He is bitching about a 16 second fight in which he got KO'ed.
I would tell him to STFU, I'm serious. Nothing bad will come of it. You won't offend anyone but him, and if he really is bothering everyone he needs to be shown some humility.
Seriously, if it is as you describe, write him back and say "You lost a 16 second fight, it happens, stfu and stop bothering my people."
8/12/2010 8:16am, #5
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
The fact that you're so concerned about this shows you don't have an ethical dilemma. The article's right. It's on the ammy fighter to learn from the fight, not try to revise what happened.
8/12/2010 9:36am, #6
If you're interested, shoot me a PM. We'll talk for a bit. If I get a good vibe off your ability I'll see what I can do to make sure your name is on the list if we need a third. Pretty far from a promise but it's better than any other favors you'll get looking for editing jobs in combat sports.
As to the actual topic- Like I said, this time I knew exactly what the right thing to do was. I just feel bad that one part of the job is rubbing a hard loss in a young kid's face and was looking for advice on how to be diplomatic about it. Apparently said advice is "**** him."
8/12/2010 11:42am, #7
Speaking from experience in this area, my advice to you would also be "**** him."
Except you want to **** him gently.
Look at it this way: it's a long game. You're covering a sport that has a lot of back and forth and a lot of up and down moments. Today's amateur fighter could be tomorrow's pro title belt holder. At some point, it's possible you'll need to interview him or people affiliated with him.
You burn him now, he'll never be a reliable source or interview again.
So, I believe you handled it perfectly. Placing the burden of proof on him, I guarantee you're not going to hear from him again. But even if you do, and there's a small flurry of feints and whatnot, he still got knocked out in 16 seconds. There really isn't anything else to say. He's angry and butthurt and he should be, it'll make him train harder next time. But he's doing it wrong by getting mad at the journalists covering the event.
Also, he was fighting, I refuse to believe his version of what happened is any more accurate than somebody watching the bout from outside. I don't remember any of my fights perfectly and my coach always remembered things I had no idea even happened.
You did fine.Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
-excerpt of the poem called "Desiderata," by Max Ehrman, 1927.
8/12/2010 12:09pm, #8
I don't see any issue with how you handled the situation. Also, what they said regarding keeping relationships by being professionalSurfing Facebook at work? Spread the good word by adding us on Facebook today! https://www.facebook.com/Bullshido
8/12/2010 10:05pm, #9
Okay, update. Tonight he just submitted a cell phone video from a different angle. He did, indeed, throw a three punch flurry that wiffed before he was countered up with the overhand that ended it. Depending on my reporters angle I can see how she could have honestly missed it.
Apparently he is bitter because of a seperate issue he has where he claimed to be okay and the ref physically held him down (you know, to protect him.) Hence his sensitivity on the issue.
But, even though I would give him some advice about taking it in stride, he was technically correct that they were punches thrown and not just a series of feints as they appeared from his back. So, to that extent an apology is in order. Just asked for a comparitive review from my ops manager so we don't miss anything and I will make the correction.
8/15/2010 12:02am, #10
Any fight that ends in 16 seconds is one sided lol.
Tell him that it sucks, moove on and even though he threw 3 punches it didn't work and he lost. That's still a one sided match. Throwing 3 punches and missing then getting countered with a hard overhand is one sided.
Just be all like "hey sorry about your loss but **** happens and we're just reporting on it."