Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Headline: Girls discuss suggestive photos sent to ex-coach

I found this to be an interesting article about an issue that surrounds us in everything we do, especially as college students. The main premise of this article, set in Binghamton, NY is a follow-up story revealing the latest news facts on a recent trial based on a coach's prior sexual offenses to his players.

From my understanding, this is a high school field hockey team which Todd Broxmeyer coached and imposed sexual feelings as well as force of acts on the girls. Though this article lacks significant or blatant biases, the reporter implies slanted views that could be taken as her own beliefs of the situation.

As a journalism major, I know that in reporting it is practically unlawful to put any kind of emotion into an article and therefore not insinuate an opinion or side on the issue, especially in hard-news stories, such as this one. In order to avoid this occurring, they simply have to use more attribution of sources--when in doubt, ATTRIBUTE; this reporter did not always do that.

The reporter, Nancy Dooling, probably had no intention of offering an argument in the case or providing any information that she believes the accusations are true or false or that Broxmeyer is guilty or innocent. However, I saw right through the article and realized that she obviously has a viewpoint in this, and implicitly stated it throughout the article.

For instance, she states:
"She took a photograph of herself in panties and bra and sent it to him in November or December of 2007" regarding one of the girls on Broxmeyer's team.

Where did she obtain this information? Did Dooling actually witness the girl taking the pictures of herself and send them, or did the girl tell her this, or maybe it's just a guess from someone or an assumption? We will never know; therefore, Dooling should have attributed this statement to the source of which she got it, otherwise not used it at all. I say this based on my experience from past journalism courses here at Brockport and the standards of which we were expected to write articles.

This exact lack of attribution occurs again directly following that statement when she says: "Broxmeyer, then 37, encouraged the same player to come to his private, independent practices and he'd help her obtain a college scholarship."

Again, how does she know?

Another example of how Dooling is presenting bias information and not simply factual reporting is when she explains a former occurrence between Broxmeyer and a 17-year-old girl, former player, in which the two had consensual sex. Clearly if the sex was consensual it was not illegal rape, but based on age it would be constituted as statuatory rape accprding to New York state laws. Dooling reports on this as being a crucial part of the trials.

As a reader I feel like she put this in to reveal that Broxmeyer is a "bad guy" since he is consentually sleeping with teenage girls in his "Lisle apartment, which he shared with his girlfriend,"
according to Dooling's article.

I do not think this would effect the charges of which he is being prosecuted for rape, defined as forced or non-consensual sex, and child pornography. So why did she include it in this follow-up article telling us about the trials Broxmeyer is facing due to rape? I took this as Dooling's sly way of inciting that basically he is a pig because he is not only having sex with young women he coached, but also cheating on his girlfriend in their home. Yes, it provides drama and sparks some reader interest, but that is what I deem as "sensationalized news."

Lastly, Dooling says in the article that "The young woman testified she obtained a college scholarship to play field hockey." Again, so what? How does this apply to the issue-at-hand? This implies that the girl received the scholarship because she slept with her coach who also promised to help others gain scholarships.

I have my own opinions on this issue in its entirety but when writing a hard-news article on such a controversial topic, I would be annoyingly conscious of attributing almost all of my facts to the deserving sources.

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