Monday, March 16, 2009

Defuse and Follow-up

Post game news conferences often veer off the topic of the immediate game, the season or sport in general and into a variety of conversations including coaches and personalities.  Why not a question and discussion on coach Jim Calhoun's salary and its relation to other state employees salaries.  The question was clear and relevant.  Calhoun ends the discussion at the press conference stating the reporter should get some facts and that the program brings in $12 million to the University of Connecticut.  Case closed.

When is a good time to discuss Calhoun's salary?  Apparently in the parking lot.  

The conversation about Calhoun, his program or practices should be open to public scrutiny just as it would for any state employee.  Calhoun is able to deflect the argument in the news conference where emotions run high and the coach can both speak loudly and carry a big stick.  That however can not be the end of the debate.  Knowing the program contributes $ 12 million to the university's general fund should not be a condition for interviewing Calhoun, though including that info in the reporter's question might have garnered a more reasoned response.  

That said, the reporter should take Calhoun's advice and bring it back to him ten fold in a follow-up interview, which the coach is apparently open to.  The reporter should come armed with new facts and careful questions, and in a less hostile environment he will likely receive more sober and reasoned answers.

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