The Dreaded Words: "Talk About"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Many of the questions reporters ask to professional athletes after a game are asked to get an answer that will make a headline.

Today's post-game interviews consist of a room full of reporters and camera men all asking different questions, one right after another, to an athlete or coach.

No conversations are held during interviews anymore because after one question is asked, the next topic is brought up by another reporter.

The lack of knowledge reporters gain from these types of interviews is small, so what happens is a quote can be taken out of context and sound negative when it was actually not.

"It's a headline-driven world, and what I said provided a headline," said Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. "That's why I'm guarded, cautious. I don't want to accidentally give bulletin-board material. If someone asks me about a player, I say, 'He's a great player.' If they ask me about a coach, I say, 'He's a great coach.'"

Other athletes have been saying the same things when it comes to interviews. They are going to be more boring and guarded with what they say in fear it will be turned around and used against them for a headline.

An article by Tim Keown of ESPN The Magazine discusses the new type of interviewing.

"For better or worse, the post-interview age has created a generation of athletes who are overcovered but underreported," Keown said. "In the end, perhaps this much is true: If nobody asks any questions beyond the obvious, maybe nobody needs to ask anything at all. We see more and know less."

People are gaining more information from these types of interviews, but it sometimes can be inaccurate when taken out of context.



RCastenson December 6, 2011 at 8:46 PM  

It is too bad coaches and athletes can't say whatever they want after the game during post interviews. I personally wouldn't want to talk to anyone after a bad loss or even a an awesome win. You should just keep that time to yourself to celebrate or reflect on with your teammates. Most people don't like "in your face" types of interviews and extremly foreced interviews. I feel like the media should have some patience and respect to hold off the 100 questions for team members and coaches.

Mariah K. Young December 7, 2011 at 6:10 AM  

As nice as it would be for these athletes to just go on their merry way after playing a game, this is not going to happen. These are professional athletes who are paid to answer these questions. Whether it be a win or a loss the franchise and public expect a full report from the star athlete.

As far as reporting is concerned I think a change in the system is a great idea. So often athletes give mediocre responses, if this could change stories would be more interesting.

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