Public Service Announcement

When I was a semi-actual real reporter back in the days of Radio Shack TS-80s and the like, when the equivalent of media dinosaurs roamed the earth, I would go to the state wrestling tournament and occasionally be steamed that certain publications (usually tended to be weeklies, though I’m not throwing all weeklies under the bus) would give members of the coaching staff — that the publication covered — the press pass and space on press row.

So I kind of have a thing about the difference between journalists and “journalists.”

Three years ago, there was a publication in the Northeast coverage area that had a representative of said publication contact the FHSAA, WITHOUT asking me, about a photo pass for Matmen. When I submitted my own request for credentials, I was asked if I needed two passes, for me and for the person that generously asked for one independently of me, since they’d already sent one to that person, apparently, without my ever seeing it.

When I got down to Lakeland, I learned that the person who had asked for the photo pass then, in turn, gave it to a parent of a state-qualifying wrestler that the publication covered, and in fact didn’t show up themselves at all. Then, on day 2 when that wrestler was eliminated from competition on Friday, that photo pass was then given to another parent for another school in the same county. And that was the only way I’d found out that it had been given to a non-media member.

Today doesn’t top that situation in my book, but it comes pretty close.

I have been made aware, just today, that a parent for one of the schools in the north Florida coverage area told a coach for which that parent’s son wrestles in the off-season that said parent would provide me with results of a tournament if the coach would get him floor access to that tournament. That coach has advised me that the parent assured him that said parent had spoken with me.

Let me assure ALL of you, wherever you are reading this, that no parent from this particular HS program has contacted me, at any time, off-season or in-season, let alone the particular parent in question, about anything. And I do not appreciate my website being used in this manner, PARTICULARLY when the promised end product — the results that were going to be, in theory, transmitted to me — have not been sent over.

Is there anything I can do about it? Not much. But what I can do, the decision to do it has already been made.

And I would ask all of you, do not use my website as a way to obtain better seating, or floor access, or a media pass. Real media organizations look down on this sort of thing, and I’ve worked too hard for far too little to have to deal with that, too.

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I covered wrestling for 15 years up north and "retired" in 2011. But as I thought I had in 1992, I couldn't stay away. Started Northeast Florida Matmen in 2013, Northwest Florida Matmen in 2015. New initiative this year is to create a space on my sites where ALL Florida results can be stored, searched, reviewed and used by my readers, with NO COST TO THEM.

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