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Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

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  • Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

    I just sent the following letter to the student newspaper at the University of Texas:

    For Firing Line,

    I noticed that the Daily Texan's sports page devoted three quarters of a page today to the possible drug disqualification of sprinter Kelli White from the IAAF track & field world championships. Yet, other than a small preview story back on Aug. 22, I don't recall one single word being printed this past week of the actual competition and results from those championships!

    Sadly, this problem is not unique to the Texan -- it seems most news media don't care about international track & field until there is some sort of scandal, and then it makes big headlines. But in the Texan's case, this is especially disgraceful, because there was a great UT story: sophomore Sanya Richards, the Longhorns' national champion quartermiler, ran an absolutely brilliant anchor leg in the 4x400 meter relay to narrowly hold off the Russian and Jamaican runners for gold. Some track fans felt it was the greatest performance by an American at the entire championships. Surely the Texan staff knew this -- I know UT Sport Information sent out a press release announcing it.

    Please -- if your only interest in international track & field is its scandals, then don't cover it at all.

    Sincerely,
    Lee Nichols
    Former Longhorn track & field athlete
    "Run fast and keep turning left."

  • #2
    Re: Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

    Lee...excellent, the same is true of international press coverage. I hope they hear what you are saying and make some changes.

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    • #3
      Re: Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

      While it's great always to be right, sometimes it's great to be wrong, and I'll happily admit I was dead wrong in my analysis of the women's 4x4. When I saw that they had Richards slotted to run the anchor after her desultory performance in the open 4 I figured the U.S. was toast. That feeling was only solidified after JMC ran the spectacular 50-flat on the third leg.

      Richards a half-step behind the favored Russians on the anchor with sub-50 4th-placer Nazarova on anchor? The win was an impossibility. But she did it. Wow. She obviously learned lots from years of running U.S. style relays.

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      • #4
        Re: Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

        It's been pretty obvious to me all season that Richards is a smart young woman with a lot of poise. I have to think the U.S. coach saw that, too. I was surprised to see her run anchor, but as I saw her patiently hold back during the first 200, I knew the right decision had been made. I suspect Sanya is going to do well in life, on and off the track.
        "Run fast and keep turning left."

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        • #5
          Re: Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

          Well, The Daily Texan never printed my letter, but I was very happy to see this in today's paper: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/462496.html
          "Run fast and keep turning left."

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          • #6
            Re: Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

            Lee: we can only guess, but I think/hope that this is an excellent example of a letter (your original) that while it scolds on the one hand, also offers a positive alternative on the other. A positive that had probably escaped the paper to begin with. The lesson being that a gentle nudge from the outside can sometimes have a major effect on a news outlet. We've all got to keep trying. We're all soldiers in the same war here, even though there are those who prefer to direct their energy towards pointing out all the sport's warts instead.

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            • #7
              Re: Sigh ... only scandals make headlines

              The Texan's sports editor e-mailed me back and said that feature had already been planned before I wrote in, and they had just been waiting for Sanya to get back from Paris to interview her. Actually, the Texan is very good about covering all UT sports, not just the big three, so I completely believe her. I just hope she understood my point -- I wasn't criticizing the paper for bad coverage of UT sports, but bad, cherry-picking coverage of the world championships in specific; I repeated my request: either give track's good side as much coverage as the bad, or don't cover us at all. I would rather track & field disappear completely from America's sports pages (doesn't have far to go) than to see another huge doping story on page one.

              Think about it: imagine if American media never covered the NBA until a Kobe Bryant-style event arose.
              "Run fast and keep turning left."

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