By Bermuda Bob
There’s an old fashioned way of describing when something, or someone, bothers you to the point where you need some form of satisfaction. The expression is: “I have a stone in my shoe.” Well, recently something happened that has caused a stone to be in my shoe. So, today I’m going to do something about it … Here we go:
The proper Oxford defines a “Reporter” as:
” … a person who reports, especially one employed to report news or conduct interviews for newspapers or broadcasts.”
It further defines a “Beat” as:
” … an area regularly frequented by someone … a person’s area of interest …”
So, plain and simply, when applied to sports, a “Beat Reporter” is someone who is assigned a programme to follow and report on.
When it comes to Duke Basketball, it is a very special assignment in that the Reporter would be covering a legendary programme, led by the winningest Coach in the modern era of College Basketball.
It does not require the Reporter to be a play-by-play Announcer, Duke has one of the best in Bob Harris, the “Voice of the Blue Devils” since 1976 !!!
A “Beat Reporter” is hired by a newspaper to be the insider’s eyes and ears for it’s readers. Fans depend on those eyes and ears so as to know everything about the programme, the coaches, the players, and as much as is faire to cover of their lives outside the Court and Locker Room.
The “Beat Reporter” is essentially a conduit between the fan and their favourite team.
Today’s social media, is comprised of Twitter, Facebook, and a myriad of other portals which allow for interaction.
- Twitter limits those interactions to 140 characters, often comprised of odd abbreviations.
- Facebook has less limitations, and is often full of “TMI” or stuff no one ever needs to know.
If you find the need to be enrolled in more portals, then you understand the pitfalls, and probably have too much time on your hands !!!
The problem with social media is that it carries no responsibility. If a subscriber or a “follower” to someone’s portal, posts a comment, or DARE to question the subscriber, he or she may ignore the “follower” or worse, they may block them from ever contacting the subscriber again.
To make it a bit clearer, today’s “Beat Reporter” seems to feel that they need to use Twitter as if they were a play-by-play Announcer. This makes no sense to me because it reduces the subsequent article moot if the fan has read the “Beat Reporter’s” Twitter feed.
To try and combine these jobs, while completely unnecessary, requires someone who needs to, first, not forget their responsibility to the fans. By going on a portal that allows interaction, then you are expected to interact !!!
I believe that there is never a reason for a subscriber to have to withstand vulgarities, crassness, or off-topic comments. Blocking those “followers” is the only way to handle them, however, blocking someone because they do not wish to answer faire questions is irresponsible, puerile, and wrong-minded. If you don’t want to avail yourself to faire questions, then get off of Twitter and go back to your typewriter !!!
Duke’s primary “Beat Reporters” are:
Laura Keeley works for the News Observer.
Laura never publishes her contact phone number
She only rarely publishes her e-mail: LKeeley@NewsObserver.com
Her Twitter presence is: @LauraKeeley
Laura’s Editor is: Sport’s Editor, Steve Ruinsky.
His contact phone number is 919-829-4530
His e-mail is SRuinsky@NewsObserver.com
His Twitter presence is @RRSteveRR
… AND …
Steve Wiseman works for the Herald Sun.
His contact phone number is: 919-419-6671
Steve’s e-mail is: SWiseman@HeraldSun.com
His Twitter presence is: @SteveWisemanNC
Steve’s Editor is: Bob Ashley
His contact phone number is: 919-419-6678
His e-mail is: BAshley@HeraldSun.com
So, recently, during Duke’s very serious rebounding problems, I wondered why Coach K was claiming he has a “short Bench” when he had two (2) “Bigs” sitting, perfecting their splinter pulling techniques. They are Sean Obi and Antonio Vrankovic. Obi is a proven Rebounder in his previous life at Rice before transferring to Duke. Antonio is a Frosh, but still worthy of being recruited and being given a uniform.
Our concerns were bolstered by a comment made by Broadcast & Basketball Hall of Fame Legend Dick Vitale, who noted that any kid given a uniform ought to be given the chance to contribute at least 10 minutes.
So, I posed the question to both Miss Keeley and Mr. Wiseman on their Twitter sites this way:
To Mr. Wiseman:
SDBB: During the PITT game on the 28th of February …
“When are you going to ask Coach K why he refuses to play Obi ???
You’re not afraid, are you ???”
Mr Wiseman replied:
“OBJECTION Asked and answered counselor. He’s not ready to compete at this level in the staff’s opinion. The end”
On the 1st of March, I wrote an article that was going to use this very quote, so, in the sense of fairness, I messaged Mr. Wiseman on Twitter, whereupon he promptly blocked us from further contacting him there. A strange response to a hand extended in friendship.
To Laura Keeley:
SDBB: During the UNC Rebounding debacle on the 5th of March …
“Maybe you could ask Coach K why he didn’t use Obi & Antonio to give his kids a blow & presence down low !?!?!”
Miss Keeley replied:
“… they’re not good enough. Move on from that …”
So, here is my beef. If a “Beat Reporter” is supposed to be the eyes and ears of their readers who rely on their asking the questions the fans want asked, then:
- Why haven’t either Miss Keeley nor Mr. Wiseman asked a follow-up question to such a ridiculously phrased answer ???
- Why are Miss Keeley and Mr. Wiseman so emphatic, adamant, and dogmatic in their replies to a simple and reasonable question ???
So, as I asked in our article of the 1st of March:
Don’t you realize that you are supposed to be the eyes and ears of the programme for the fans (your readers) ???
By the very position you hold, you have the responsibility to be the voice of the fans who read your efforts.
Don’t your readers deserve your best efforts at getting ALL reasonable questions answered ???
Don’t you realize that when you don’t ask probative questions to odd replies, you fuel conjecture, and even conspiracy theories, that often make some modicum of sense ???
Inasmuch as neither of you have asked probative questions, our readers have wondered things like:
- Does “Coach K’s Dog House” really exist, and why does a player gets into it …
- One reader took it in another direction, wondering if Obi caused Amile’s injury in practice, so his not playing is a punishment …
- Another wondered if Obi was not playing because Coach K feared that Obi might outshine “Plums” …
- Coach K has asserted that he doesn’t have enough players for practice. The last time I looked, he had 13 players dressing, and one (1) injured. I may be missing something, but that’s 12 players when only 10 are needed to play a Blue & White game, or Practice !!!
There, you’ve just been given questions that make sense and have easy answers.
See, that’s how it’s done ???
I am not asking for the world. We’re asking why you have not posed a follow-up to a very vanilla response. We’d also like to know why, when asked why you didn’t ask a follow-up question, you acted so unreasonably ???
So, in yet another extension of fairness, on the overnight before the North Carolina State game I reached out to both Mr. Wiseman and Miss Keeley by e-mail. Neither replied, however, Miss Keeley promptly blocked us on Twitter.
I certainly don’t believe that this is a responsible reaction to a simple question posed of you in your position as the eyes and ears of the fans …
Why didn’t you ask a simple follow-up question ???
Was it so difficult to ask when they expected these players WOULD be ready ???
There are simple answers to the above questions.
Where are the answers ???
So, shortly after publishing this article, I will be sending a link to both of these folks AND their Editors.
Someone needs to challenge such immaturity and arrogance. If you take the jobs you both have, you have a responsibility to NOT shut yourself away from reasonable questions, even if they are probative, or even point out a failure on your part. Once again, there are simple answers to the above questions. Where are the answers ???
I would ask any of our readers who are so moved to join me in my quest for answers. I believe we all deserve it !!!
Thanks for reading !!!
As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to do so here, or on our Twitter site, where you will not be blocked for asking realistic questions: