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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

June 25, 2007 at 10:58 AM

A little background

Normally our columnist Jerry Brewer does this type of thing where he walks through how a story came about. I’ll do the same since some readers have it twisted that I have anything against Storm coach Anne Donovan outside of her general manager moves in Seattle (I have even told her that I don’t like them).
First, the Friday article wasn’t whipped up over night and wasn’t my original idea. The mood around the team started to become visibly different last season and at exit interviews Donovan and her players all admitted that there was pressure with the upcoming World Championships, injuries, and the recent sale of the organization. Everyone was looking to get away to have a fresh start. Some people even mentioned an eroding relationship with Donovan, but I just logged it.
While I attend most Storm away games (typically staying in the same hotel and sometimes flying on the same plane), nearly all of their practices and shootarounds, some of their community appearances, the All-Star Game, and all of the home games — whether I’m covering them or not — I’m still not on the team. So, I don’t know if someone is saying something because they have their own agenda or not. But this season more was said from all angles beginning in training camp! I requested an interview with Val Ackerman, president of USA Basketball, in May just to see what she felt since she was close to Donovan during the fall and still watches the league. So, the quote in today’s story wasn’t out of spite. I just wanted to check some questions that may have risen in reading the note — that was going to be included in the Friday story if we had enough space. I also contacted and interviewed several others around the league that aren’t included in the article for their persepective on Donovan and the players because, again, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being used to take down Donovan. Also, I wanted to verify my feelings about the rotations as an objective viewer to make sure I wasn’t off base, a topic I would have written about on my own.
If you know anything about journalism, you know I have to seek that story out and write it before a competitor does. I’m not on Donovan’s bandwagon or anyone else’s. I’m an objective reporter who watches this team closely in all types of situations and trust me, there was a problem. It’s probably over now. And that’s cool by me, I’ll keep on writing because there are tons of other stories. That’s why we haven’t dipped into this pool before, because I’ve written about other topics. And speaking of other topics, the Leslie post was in fun and only to answer a question my SFFs (Storm Fan Friends) had when I saw them last. (Hope y’all enjoyed that one!)
Asking me to be on the team’s bandwagon actually hurts the prospect of women ever being seriously covered by other professional journalists. We have to be able to be critical when fit and when we really know what we’re talking about, otherwise we’re just a PR plug and that’s not acceptable. If most of you are saying all you want are fluffy stories, then you did just lose a reporter. And sadly, from the outside of even my place, the last reporter who’s paper is willing to spend money on consistent travel and give equal space to the team as we do the NBA Sonics (actually more considering we have a Storm blog and no Sonics blog). I always pick up a paper (or four, depending on the city) on the road and blurbs are all you see, except for in Sacramento, Indiana, and San Antonio where basketball is basically the only sport.
I’m not trying to make friends here. I did enjoy the relationship I had with Donovan, I was touched when she attended my book signing. But, again, I can’t be an advocate for her or any of the players, owners, or front-office personnel. My job is to cover all angles of the team. That’s what I did. It wasn’t pretty, but it had to be done. Thanks for reading and showing through your passionate posts that there is an interest in the WNBA — I just wish you wouldn’t shoot the messenger. But I’ll absorb the bullet as long as you understand where I’m coming from.

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