Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sorry, Loggers
     The girls on the Crescent Lake Loggers basketball team didn't get named in the photo I sent to the Forks Forum, and it's not even really their coach's fault.
     I'm a bonobo.  We're different than the chimps of the human race.  We don't like noise and team sports.  We don't scream in groups. We don't follow.  We love sex and we get a lot of it but we don't like to watch; we're the ones during the extended sex-scenes in Sundance films who finally yell, "More plot!"
     I managed to stick around at the game long enough to get a photo of the girls, including a shot of one of the Clallam Bay Lady Bruins  reaching for the flying ball while pelting through a gang of Loggers.  It was easy to identify the Bruin -- she was on the home team -- but I couldn't get the Loggers' coach's attention.
      I'm not going to say he was rude; he's a coach for a sports team, after all, and they're like soldiers: too much maturity and brains and the job isn't getting done.  I'm not blaming him for acting like a snotty 16-year-old, because otherwise his girls don't win (well, they weren't winning anyway, but it was the Bruin home court).  It's how the older men men try to talk to women up here; it's like it's 1955 in their own minds.
     But -- people -- here's the rules when working with a journalist, even a small-paper nothing job-trained stringer like me:
      1.  If you want to be in a paper for something good, you have to push your own agenda.  You have to stand still and get your names spelled right.  Those kids are your little bags of DNA and if you don't have time for me as the deadline clicks closer, they'll end up being "unidentified" rather than mis-identified.  They're not my kids, I don't care about 'em further than the bucks I'll get for the photo  and/or article.  My editors know this is only my day job.  They'll pay more attention to the passionate local than the payment-driven free-lancer.
     2.  If you want to be in a paper for something bad, just bleed or do something stupid or very illegal. You don't have to try.
     3.  Nobody "promised" they'd get what you gave them in the paper.  A car wreck can knock the inches that you think might have belonged to your community meeting right off the page.  The only way to put a meeting on the front page is to shoot somebody at it.
     4.  If you buy an ad, don't expect extra coverage in your area unless it's newsworthy.  Buying an ad is like buying a male prostitute -- you get the inches you pay for, and no love.
     5.  Don't ask the reporter, "What paper are you with?" if you're making it a condition for information.  Neither the Paris Match nor the New York Times is going to come cover your piddly little game. You're lucky I showed up.  You and your town are NOT the vortex of the universe, especially when you are complaining and demanding to be treated like the local high-school cheerleader queen.
     6.  If you want to find out just how nice newspaper people are, get a copy of His Girl Friday.  It's still not that far off. 
     That said, thanks so much to the very cooperative people who helped me get the right names for the K-3 kids hand-signing the "Star-Spangled Banner."  And to the folks who called me about the game and the signing in the first place.  They promoted what was important to them, and I showed up and took the photos and got them to the paper that evening.
      Thanks god and their good manners and thoughtfulness that  they sent the stats in for the games; if I had to stay around all that shrieking and running much longer I would have crawled under the bleachers and strangled myself on my camera-strap.
     Front-page coverage!

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