In the newsday story room
Things like this hazing incident happen all the time. You see the stories on CNN, you cringe, you move on. And then it happens just around the corner from you so you get a local feel to the story, maybe a bit more than the mainstream news feeds are getting. Or not.
I'm reading the Newsday story and I'm trying to figure out what went on at the story meeting.
"Hey, let's go see how the people in town feel about this sexual molestation of some innoncent boys on a high school football team."
"Ok, Ann. Why don't you go down to the hair salon and the local kid's dance school to see what the word on the street is?"
"Great idea, Bob. I'm sure I can get a real inside feel for what is going on in that high school by interviewing the women waiting for their little daughters outside Dorothy's School of Dance."
"Right. And when you are writing this hard-hitting story about high school students hazing other students by ramming a stick up their asses, don't forget to include phrases like she threw up her hands so fast she nearly smudged her still-fresh manicure.
"Got it. And I'll make sure to interview teenage girls who didn't go to that particular high school, instead of boys who possibly know people on the football team."
"Well, just throw in something about how the kids at the hazing school will get in trouble if they talk. Then no one has to know we didn't bother finding out what the people who are affected by this story think."
"Ok, we just won't mention that ABC got them to talk."
"Or that one of our own reporters got some people to talk."
"Well, Paul's story takes a different angle - the mass web of lying, deceit and silence that will ensue from this story and the unspoken high school creed of not getting star football players in trouble. I mean, he doesn't say that, but it's there."
"Good point. Umm..what angle is your story taking?"
"The ladies with manicures and doting mothers gasping in horror angle. I thought this would be a good opportunity to further the generalizations people make about Long Islanders, while at the same time adding absolutely nothing of worth to this story."