DISCORD 2012: Edition 18
ONE of the things I'm passionate about - aside from rugby league and very dubious 80s hair metal - is trying to demystify journalism.by NRL
ONE of the things I'm passionate about - aside from rugby league and very dubious 80s hair metal - is trying to demystify journalism.
Yes, I exist in a tiny, insignificant corner of the journalistic world and having such a lofty ambition is a tad delusional. But I find it one of the strangest paradoxes that journalists demand others explain their actions in the finest detail but are often ill-equipped or unprepared to do the same themselves.
Having worked in newspapers, magazines, radio and television I can tell you the reason for this is not the one you suspect: that journalists are dishonest. Speaking generally across 25 years, it's because they're so friggin' busy!
At the bottom end of this issue, when I work with trainees and students I tell them to be ready to justify their actions and form clear views on what is in the public interest and what they are doing just because their boss told them ? which is not a good enough defence for someone whose profession is governed by a code of ethics.
At the top end, I try to be transparent in my dealings with people and to stick my hand up when I'm wrong. So, in the interests of transparency - and not covering my back, people deny stories all the time - here's what happened with Dave Taylor.
It was while we were preparing to interview Michael Maguire on ABC last Sunday that it occurred to me Souths' view of Taylor may have changed given recent events and if his contract with Gold Coast fell through, they might want to keep him.
My editor at Rugby League Week, Mitchell Dale, would have no doubt preferred I not ask this question on air. Rugby League Week pays the bills and it could make a handy story for them. But I know people feel less inclined to say "no comment" in front of a radio audience than they do on the phone to one hack. So I asked Michael whether he was interested in retaining Taylor and he said this:
"I haven't heard anything from that from Dave. At the end of the day, Dave and I are continually talking about where he's at and what he wants to do with his career. If that event arises, then we'll have that conversation."
In other words, there would be grounds to discuss Taylor having a future at Souths if the Titans deal fell through.
My instincts about asking the question in public were correct because when I asked Maguire by text to expand on this, he responded: "I don't comment on recruitment". People have questioned the use of texts. NRL players and coaches respond to texts but don't answer their phones in most instances. I was speaking to a whole club a few years ago, doing a media talk, and a player - I think it was Luke Priddis - specifically said "you should text before you call so we know who it is."
Anyway, my Rugby League Week colleague Tony Adams called me while I was on air, angry that I wouldn't answer my phone. He said he had a big story, Dave Taylor to stay at Souths. I said I was already chasing the same story. I contacted the following people to compile the story: Maguire (by text), the NRL's John Brady, agent Col Davis, Michael Searle and Shane Richardson.
You've seen Maguire's response. Shane said he no longer commented on players - that's the coach's job. Col said he had no comment at this stage. Michael answered his phone, called me back, but we missed each other. John explained the league's rules and said Souths had not waived their right to reach an agreement before round 13.
From that, I put together my part of the story, based mainly around Michael's comments on radio - which were also reported in Monday's Australian. I also texted Dave Taylor but did not ring him as I had been told when the story about the Titans' woes first broke that he was not discussing the affair. My text clearly gave him the option of commenting if he so wished.
I fully acknowledge that when you quote "sources" it's 100 per cent your responsibility. If you don't name a source, you can't later claim that the source dudded you. But for those of you who don't understand why we even use "sources", our boss is not the person giving us a nice quote, the size of the type or even the dude sitting in the office who thinks it's him. It's the truth. And people often can't tell you the truth on the record because people who want to prevent the truth getting out get in the way of them speaking.
I am not angry or even offended that Dave Taylor said he told someone the story was wrong and was told "we'll write it anyway". I'm not angry or offended because I know that person wasn't me. I have already tweeted the text I did send Dave, which did not attract a response.
Now, the other reason journalists have a bad history of explaining themselves is because they are aware of how boring it is. WAKE UP!
HERE'S what I was going to write about: I don't like seeing the Independent Commission member showing up to Test matches in green and gold ties and hanging out in the Aussie rooms.
Maybe I have unrealistic expectations but I think the non-partisanship of the IC should extend to international football. They certainly have a lot of control over its destiny - they are still considering whether to take away the Anzac Test. We have a New Zealand-based club in the competition they run.
I guess I've just been waiting for someone truly impartial to take over running rugby league and seeing these guys and gals decked out like old-school footy officials was like finding out there's no Santa Claus. Let Andrew Hills liase with the Aussie team and keep the colours neutral, that's my humble advice.
A quick history lesson in where the Super League war incubated will provide ample evidence for what that's a good idea.
FEEDBACK now and Rabby wants Brian Waldron punished. Like, put in stocks in Federation Square? He is outside rugby league's jurisdiction now. The police investigated and found no evidence of fraud. Tom, I don't know the ratings from St George Illawarra v Sydney Roosters. Can any readers out there help?
Bennis you are right. There are some good Victorian kids coming through now and because the Storm happen to have teams in NSW comps this year, they are Blues! I am an idealist but wouldn't it be great to see Timana Tahu play for Victoria and other blokes for NT and WA....just once! Which means I agree to an extent with Fred who says Origin in Melbourne just showcases how parochial we are as a sport - but I think Victorians realise an AFL Origin between NSW and Queensland would be crap ? they understand the historical and cultural context of it.
Bluebags1908 says Origin series should go: Qld home, NSW home, neutral with one in Melbourne, on a three year cycle. Not a bad idea - but why not go to Melbourne every year? Josh was talking about match of the day at Moore Park or Homebush and I think this will happen soon.
John wants Australia City v Australia Country but I think that might detract from Origin a little. Michael he is governed by the same rules as all the trainers. Now, I will need to find out what they are, won't I? Remind me if I don't do it next week.
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