Sound Off

Sunday, Mar 31 2013 04:00 AM

SOUND OFF: Wrestling fans take our coverage to the mat

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Wasco's Sean Medley was pinned in the first period of the CIF 220-pound final by Derrick Jones III of Bloomington. Medley was taken down quickly, and pinned just seconds later.

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  2. 2 of 3

    By John Harte / The Californian

    Wasco's Sean Medley was pinned in the first period of the CIF 220-pound final by Derrick Jones III of Bloomington. Here, a disdraught Medley is consoled by coach Juan Gallardo after the match.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 3

    By John Harte / The Californian

    Wasco's Sean Medley was pinned in the first period of the CIF 220-pound final by Derrick Jones III of Bloomington.

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BY JOHN ARTHUR Californian Executive Editor jarthur@bakersfield.com

READER: The headline on the sports page Sunday, March, 3, "Wasco's (Sean) Medley pinned in title match" could have easily read "Wasco's Meadley places 2nd in title match."

I enjoyed the article, but who chooses the headline? Was it Mr. Ewing? Why didn't (Sports Editor Tony) Lacava fix the cruel (maybe not intended) slap to our county's top high school finisher. No allegiance to W.H.S, but some to high school wrestling.

Related Info

The Californian welcomes your comments and suggestions. To offer your input by phone, please call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voice-mail message or send an email to soundoff@bakersfield.com. Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won't be published.

I would like to inform your sports staff that second in the CIF HS championship "ain't bad."

James P. Flores

Bakersfield

 

TONY LACAVA RESPONDS: Hi James, and thanks for the feedback on the wrestling headline.

Respectfully, I couldn't disagree more. Firstly, of course second in the state "ain't bad." We never said it was. It's huge, better than anyone else did in this county this year. That's why we afforded this young man so much coverage before the meet, during and after. I'm sorry, thousands of people in the arena, and on TV news, saw the kid get pinned. The story says he got pinned. The results show he got pinned. What, you want us to try to hide the fact that he got pinned?

If the Dodgers beat the Giants on a no-hitter, does the headline say:

"Dodgers beat Giants" ?

I think not. "Dodgers no-hit Giants" would be more like it.

Do you think this kid's feelings are hurt by a headline that says he got pinned? This same kid who pushes his body to the limit, knows pain beyond 99 percent of high school kids, and hard work as well?

Really, give the kid some credit, sir.

Our stories before and during this state title match were nothing but positive, reflective of all the hard work, victories and great attitude Mr. Medley put into his craft.

All we did was chronicle his performance, regardless of whether he won or lost. Nobody ever said second place was bad. And if a wrestler's feelings were hurt because the newspaper reported he got pinned, I'm here to say he may be in the wrong sport.

If we didn't think second place was absolutely marvelous, we would have buried the story inside with no photos. But we were there to chronicle his final match, win or lose, the best we could.

In my humble opinion, these tough wrestlers don't need any sugar coating.

Again, thanks for your note, but I'll back our headline and coverage to the end. It was not written by Zach, it was written by one of our copy editors, ironically a former wrestler himself. And I OK'd it.

 

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READER : I like to read about high school sports.

I thought having three pictures of the defeated local wrestler Sean Medley in Sunday's paper and another picture of him in defeat in this morning's (Monday's) paper was insensitive. It was mean spirited.

Julie Laird

 

TONY LACAVA RESPONDS AGAIN:

Hi Julie,

Thanks for your note about the wrestling coverage. Respectfully, I disagree with your comments on our photo coverage of the championship match being insensitive and mean-spirited. As high school sports go, this match was pretty big in magnitude. It was a late-running event, very close to our deadline, and we made sure to leave ample space to the newsworthy event, to give it coverage we felt it deserved.

Whether he wins or loses is pretty much immaterial. This kid made it all the way to the state finals and that is a huge accomplishment, in our viewpoint, and merits significant coverage. So we left plenty of space for photo play of Kern County's lone entry into the championship round.

Had he won, he would have been afforded equal coverage of most likely celebratory photos. In sports, Julie, ya gotta take the wins with the losses. To say it's insensitive and mean spirited for us to show pictures like these in the paper is to say that the public address announcer at the event was remiss in not announcing to the spectators: "Ladies and gentlemen, please do not look at the loser of the wrestling match, as it is is clearly considered 'mean spirited and insensitive.'" Or, could you also accuse TV stations of being mean-spirited and insensitive for showing 30 seconds of video as opposed to 15?

This is a very public event, and we're just there to report how it happened with words and images, win or lose. High school kids get their pictures in the paper on winning teams and losing teams every week. There is no mean spirit involved whatsoever on our part.

We pour a ton of our resources into the coverage of this event every year; so we in fact support it heavily as a news event; there isn't an ounce of mean spirit involved. He may have lost this match, but he was afforded significant photo play because he was simply the best Kern County wrestler, in the most significant local match of the year. Win or lose, we were there to report it.

 

JULIE LAIRD WROTE BACK:

Tony,

Wow. I can't believe someone responded to me.

Point taken. Mean spirited is definitely overstating The Californian's coverage.

You're right about taking the wins with the losses. It shows my bias, I guess. I didn't like seeing a local young man featured so much in the agony of defeat.

Julie Laird

 

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A READER sent this to reporter Steven Mayer:

Steven,

I knew a little about that Purple Heart story from Ken Hooper and from Kern Genealogy researchers who helped solve the puzzle.

You did a masterful job on that story and in just the right proportions of fact and feeling. The piece also added quality to today's (Friday, March 15) excellent paper. It's a superb issue.

Gilbert Gia

 

ARTHUR: Steve Mayer's diligent reporting of veterans' issues is just one reason to like The Californian. By the way I hope you saw the stories this week in which the Purple Heart was taken to Texas and returned to family members of Robert Bates, who died aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

 

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READER: I was shocked by the fact that you had a full page spread on Fresh & Easy's financial troubles. How to finish off a struggling business!

I love Fresh & Easy. It is easy to shop there and has high quality produce and bakery items. They also put out day-old products at reduced prices every day which is a great money saver.

I like them so much that I have stopped shopping at Trader Joe's with its crowded narrow aisles and shop there instead. They also give cash back on their "friends" card. I certainly hope they stay in business.

Francesca Sullivan

Bakersfield

 

ARTHUR: I like the store too, and shop there. I notice it is rarely crowded, which may be part of the problem. The story said the British owner's U.S. venture might not turn out to be successful: "Five years after it opened its first Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market in California, Tesco is considering selling the money-losing chain and leaving the United States altogether." Because of the fanfare made when the company arrived, this is a legitimate followup news story.

 

***

 

READER: I find it amazing that my newspaper arrives in my driveway sooner than I can access the e-edition.

Something's not good about that picture.

Stephen Dinger

Bakersfield

 

ARTHUR: I call it good service. Our guaranteed home delivery time for the printed newspaper in the metro Bakersfield area, barring any production problems, is 5 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 6 a.m. on Sundays and holidays. The e-edition guarantee also is 5 a.m. One edition may occasionally beat the other to your home.

 

Follow John Arthur on Twitter @BakoEditor This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about news coverage. Your questions, which may be edited for space, are answered each Sunday by Executive Editor John Arthur.

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