Parents Advice on Political Correctness needed...

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This is a bit of a rant, but I would like some input on how I should procede to get some fair treatment.

As I'm sure many of you are aware club gymnastics does not get a lot of press in local newspapers. As a gymnast I felt rather put off by that, when we would put over 25 hrs in the gym per week, travel over half the USA and get college scholarships for our efforts, and girls who have barely done gymnastics for two weeks for their HS get full color page articles. I never understood that. It shaped my view of HS gymnastics as a young gymnast, which I'm now over as I've coached HS gymnastics in the past.

I've absorbed this fact that it will always be that way, but I have always submitted State Championship scores and an article along with it, as well as notified the paper before the event occurred. Well, I missed the deadline to submit an article for this Wednesday's publication (small town only a weekly paper), so when I called to talk to the "sports reporter" and ask if he wanted to write a story based on an interview, or if he wanted us to submit a story already written I was blatantly told that he didn't think it would get published, there was no room to report on any sports besides high school, in essence that it wasn't an important enough event.:eek::mad: I was VERY offended with his bluntness.

I sooooooo want to write a nasty stinging editorial, but on the other-hand I want to be heard and not just have the delete key pressed, since what I'm trying to editorialize to our town has to do with the injustices of the entity I'm asking to publish with. Part of it has to do with the education of what this sport entails even at the younger levels, but if they can't just publish results, do I really think he is going to listen to me try and educate him on our sport?

Ah, input... Johnie-5 want input....

Let me know what you think I should do?
That sucks. I think that you should write out your letter to him, explaining to him how hard these girls work, etc, your reasons. Then post it here and I am sure some of our eloquent posters can help you tweak it and then just send it. It will make you feel better and you will know you tried. :D
I think maybe I would write your article and email it to the aditor and to the sports muppet and calmy point out that there are many parents and grandparents out there who might be more inclined to advertise in their little rag if they see their little sweetpea in it.

This might provoke a little discussion at the rag office and the sports mupppet may be encouraged to change his mind.

It is very frustrating, here they are pretty good, but even when a girl from Montreal went to the Olympics in gymnastics it was hardly mentioned, pitiful eh?
I get very frustrated also! Our small town paper puts all sorts of junk in the paper but can't spare the space to report on gymnastics. They say that its because were a privately owned club. I think that is crap becuas they take up like a whole page to report on swim club which the kids also have to pay to be a part of it is not an open to eveyone sport. It is so unfair to these kids that work so hard and get no recognition. Let me know how it all turns out.
I hear what you’re saying, and share in your frustration, but a scolding essay will see a garbage can and lower your chances of print to zero. That's just point blank honesty. I would strongly advise against it.

As someone who has had a fair number of editorials and opinion pieces published, I would approach the issue this way:

First, I would start by getting an email conversation going with the writers / coordinators of the HS sports section first. These folks are typically on the lower level of the ladder, and are looking for ways to move up. fresh ideas. Build a repport with them. Just simple inquires, making the points you've made here, but without sarcasm.

Find out what the print and online policies are, and wait to see how sports desk replies. They may see your point, (be SURE to make one!) and bring it up to the sports editor. If you mention the number of athletes involved in gymnastics, locally, state, regional and nationally it adds credibility to your argument. All athletes work and train hard, so that's a null argument. They like seeing BIG numbers as long as they are real and can be verified.

Keep in mind; there is a finite amount of space available in newsprint before it becomes a cost. This is NOT the case for online articles. If your paper has an online outlet, that may be your best bet to get in the door. In either case, any article or score sheet needs to be appealing to the editor before it gets approved.

Newspapers are about selling a product first and foremost. The "News" is just the content that attracts product subscribers. This in-turn attracts advertisers (where the real money is). That said, wording your plea in a way that would have the potential of attracting advertisers and serve or better build readership is the key to your argument.

For what it's worth, I think many non-school related sports get shafted from print recognition. Gymnastics, Swimming, Hockey, the list goes on and on. They may bring this up as THE argument against it. I.E. “if we do it for you, we’ll have to do it for everyone”. Perhaps there is a way to serve all the competitive leagues without adding extra burden to the paper itself. Such as, each league have a general coordinator that reports names and scores to the paper.

If you do happen to get print; do yourself and the sport a big favor, and have all your friends, coaches, and parents pen a letter to the editor thanking them for the inclusion. A little thanks goes a long long way.

Anyway, just my thoughts. But again, save the scathing letters regarding editorial content, especially the “lack of”. They rarely, if ever, get serious consideration.
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... I agree on all points, but just to also add more salt to the wounds... it's very rare that even the high school gymnastics meets are in our paper here in Northern Virginia! Yes, football gets all the glory in the fall, basketball in the winter, and soccer/baseball in the spring. Although I've noticed the trend is to now include the "newer" sports such as lacross and even field hockey ("All Mets" in the Post this a.m.!). Sooooo..... what to do??
Well, here's my plan...

1) Like I said, I missed the original deadline for this Wed publish. I will compile a nice article with results for all our Levels down the line. Maybe I'll submit a short version and a longer one that has all our girls names. If space is an issue then I can try and be considerate and knowledgable of t. I have until Mon noon.

2) I will also email the editor/publisher, unfortunatly the newspaper reporting and editting staff is a whopping 4 people (like I said small town). Our sport writer is also in charge of the editorial department, and that is who I talked to on the phone. I wll bring the statement that was told to me by the writer/reporter. At least if the powers that be above the employee I talked to was aware of how it was presented to me, there my be a better explaination or apology.

3) If it doesn't make the cut without a reasonable explanation, and the situation has been brought to the attention of the paper's publisher/editor, AND they have a some sort of near full page article on the writer's painful experience working out with the HS wrestling team (with two color pictures I might add when it came to print, oh I think that link only continues the article from the front pge), or some other "creative writing assignment", rather than true reporting of athletes who deserve it, then I will probably come out swinging.

4) I plan on gathering all the gymnastics pertinent facts (see my post in Coach's Forum) and writing it with a POINT, thank you Tim_Dad. I'm actually quite good at being politically correct with my writing and know I can't go off half cocked or be insulting or derogatory or it will just see the bottom of a garbage can. I do plan on rubbing elbows with some other youth sports in town as I know their plight is similar... but hey, a picture from one of our dance studio recitals last week made it in... Can we say double standard?

Hey, the holiday break is here, we have little to no team practice after tomorrow and the gym will be closed until Jan 5th so I have plenty of time to put into this endeavor. I needed a little project to keep me busy ;).

Keep giving me feedback. I'm loving it.
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In some ways it is a good thing. Where I live in Australia nobody cares about high school sport at all, you never see articles about it. High school gymnastics does not even exsist. There is a small leaugue but it is only for a few select private schools. And there is no such thing as college gymnastics, so as a result it is almost impossible to keep kids in gymnastics after the age of 12.

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