News is newsy.

The AJ-C can smell that Pulitzer coming.  The bodies are barely cold in the ground and the paper is already deeply in the hunt on reporting how it happened.  And why we need to know.  Don’t believe that?  Hell, the editor comes right out and tells us:

Why are we writing this story?

Managing Editor Leroy Chapman Jr. answers the question “Why are we writing this story” about the Jan. 22, 2023, publication of “Strip club visit raises questions about fatal UGA crash.”

WE ARE PURSUING THE FACTS. Here is what we know so far. On Sunday, Jan. 15, our state woke to tragic news: Four young people — two University of Georgia athletic department employees and two football players — were in a deadly, single-vehicle accident. Two died and two were injured.

We soon learned that the rented SUV carrying the four was driven that morning by 24-year-old university employee Chandler LeCroy, who died from her injuries. Devin Willock, a 20-year-old sophomore offensive lineman, was a passenger who died at the scene.

WE ARE ASKING ACCOUNTABILITY QUESTIONS. LeCroy was driving a rental car. The university rents such vehicles to drive recruits on campus visits. Police say speed contributed to the accident. Why the four occupants of the SUV wound up together that night is important to understand. Those facts will determine who is ultimately accountable and what role the university’s decisions and policies might have played. The university is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of student athletes.

Now, the AJ-C doesn’t usually run rationalizations at the end of their stories unless there’s something significant they believe their readers need to understand.  At least that’s one way to interpret that ponderous explanation.  Another way, one that I think better fits the occasion, is that they know they’re pushing the envelope of what’s newsworthy.  It really doesn’t take much of a leap to reach that conclusion, because they tell you straight out in the header:

Then, they nail the finish with this lame attempt at pathos.

I would ask Chip Towers how that last paragraph enlightens us as to “events that led to deaths of two”, but I’m afraid that would take us to a discussion of to whom the paper assigned the prestigious Toppers beat, something I really would rather not know about.  Besides, that gets away from the most egregious point of his tweet.  “Led” is doing a shit ton of heavy lifting there, because led implies causation.  Even the article acknowledges that the reporters don’t know when Bowles and LeCroy met up with McClendon and Willock, let alone whether LeCroy was under the influence when she was driving.  All they can say is that the four left the club together in the wee small hours of the morning.

The rest of the piece is speculation about the roles Bowles and LeCroy were playing, interstiched with timelines and charts in an attempt to fuse the speculation with gravitas.  And, of course, those Toppers references.  Because while most don’t care about whether LeCroy was driving a rented vehicle paid for by the school, a little appeal to others’ prurient interests never hurts to draw eyeballs.

Speaking of the school, the reporters tried hard to coax some comments from UGA but, disappointingly no doubt (“University officials have not responded to detailed questions about the crash from the Journal-Constitution. “), received only this from a school spokesperson:

“Our primary focus remains on providing comfort and support to the families and friends of Devin, Chandler, and the two others who were injured, as well as everyone impacted by this tragedy. Out of respect for the individuals and their families, we will not comment further at this time on the accident or the ongoing investigation.”

Perhaps the AJ-C should have taken the hint.  But then, that’s not news, is it?

********************************************************************

UPDATE: Mr. Towers be doublin’ down.

********************************************************************

UPDATE #2:  Some related thoughts

Investigating what happened that night is certainly a story worth pursuing. But it doesn’t mean a story must be written. As far as we know so far, the four hanging out together — no matter where it was — was not illegal and doesn’t necessarily suggest it was a reason for the accident.

156 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

156 responses to “News is newsy.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I’m really trying not to let my distaste for journalism (sry) rush my judgment, and deliberate on what that story adds to the situation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • debbybalcer

      That piece is trash trying to throw mud on the name of all involved and call it journalism. Sickening.

      Liked by 12 people

    • Did you think the same thing when Damon Evans got pulled over by the police?

      Like

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        I honestly can’t remember.

        Like

      • 81Dog

        Way different set of facts. There is no proof, so far, that anyone was drinking. Maybe there will be later. No proof about who was actually in Toppers, why, or how long. Or what happened in there. For all chip knows, or any of us know until the accident reconstruction is done, the driver was cold sober and mistakenly jammed on the gas instead of the brakes. But that won’t draw clicks like dropping Toppers into the situation with a hint of causation.

        Damon did what he did. It was fairly reported, and he got what he got. The facts were simpler, more obvious, and known much faster.

        Like

  2. practicaldawg

    Whatever new facts I may learn about the situation, I won’t be learning them from the AJC tabloid. That’s for sure.

    Liked by 12 people

  3. voxdawg

    The AJC is welcome to fuck itself I its collective ear until their tiny brains rattle for this stunt.

    If there was any justice in the universe, Josh Brooks would pull the Press passes of every Atlanta Journal Constitution employee and deny access to the program for the next year.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. drunkenmonken

    Which reporter staked out Toppers waiting for UGA players to be seen there? I have it on good authority that UGA players go to Cracker Barrel and Cook Out also. The AJC is trash and has been for years. They should save the trouble of printing and throw the stock in the recycling bin and save ink and effort.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Illini84

      It’s police video.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Gaskilldawg

        They did not see the football players in Toppers this past Saturday on police video. AJC sent someone to look and see if any athletes were there.

        Liked by 4 people

      • bulldogbry

        How is video from a week after the cash relevant?

        Liked by 1 person

      • drunkenmonken

        The story said the players were seen inside toppers with a bottle of liquor on ice.

        Like

        • southgadawg1

          I bet Mike Griffith is the dude who was staking out Toppers. Probably in a trench coat and fake mustache. When you’re beating everybody and it hurts people’s feelings this is what they do. I would throw it right back in the ajc’s lap by making them defend themselves against allegations of racism. Tell them the issue seems to be they are scandalized and clutching their pearls over some white girls being out with some black dudes. Say that and watch them shut the fuck up and this “story” disappear immediately. If they want to play dirty play dirty back.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Texas Dawg

      Young men going to a strip club, I’m shocked! Young men drinking. Again shocking! I’ve never heard of such. If they are 21 and did not drive, then I don’t see the big fuss. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is certainly not illegal. If they were drinking in Toppers and under 21, then they need to take that up with Toppers. If they were driving after drinking, then that’s a whole different story matter. THAT I would have a big problem with.

      Like

  5. boz864

    The fact is that it was 2:45 in the morning when the crash happened. Doesn’t really matter if they were leaving someone’s home, Toppers, or another bar downtown, the fact is two folks lost their lives. There will more facts to come out later but for now, The AJC just doing their best stir the shit.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Gaskilldawg

    I get that a “watchdog” news organization may ask what was the business purpose behind the UGA AA spending a couple of hundred dollars on a rental vehicle to drive students around at night, that minor fiscal responsibility investigation could have been done after the LeCroy and Willock families have had a chance to grieve.
    That “employee used employer’s pens to write person notes” type scandal didn’t merit the last paragraph.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 81Dog

    I suspect most of their question will be answered by the police accident reconstruction report. And they know that. But, why wait for the facts when you can be first to ask “the hard questions” and generate eyeballs for your failing enterprise?

    This is a perfect story for them. It’s simple, it’s sensational, and it’s stupid. Just like the AJC.

    Liked by 9 people

  8. boz864

    With regard to the “Why we are writing this story”, as they say, when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

    Liked by 15 people

  9. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    what a bunch of sleeze bag TMZ level reporting. I didn’t know it was illegal to go to a strip club.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. RangerRuss

    I’m just shaking my fuckn head.
    Assholes at ajc.

    Liked by 11 people

  11. Biggen

    I am curious about UGA’s policy for owned/leased vehicles. Surely employees aren’t allowed to drive students to adult establishments or bars in university property, right?

    I’m not saying they wouldn’t have simply found another way to go there if they really wanted. But I have to believe UGA has a policy for where company owned/leased assets are allowed to be taken.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gaskilldawg

      Oh, I am sure it does have such a policy. However, is violation of that policy first page above the fold news?

      Liked by 3 people

    • mddawg

      Could Lecroy have been going there as a designated driver?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. As a longtime GEEEF donor and UGA grad, I’m interested in whether AD staff were “on the clock” or fraternizing with the players at a strip club or driving them while impaired.
      The AJC’s inclusion of speculative details is disappointing, but I support local media working to uncover the truth behind numerous aspects of this not explained by UGA’s media statements to date. Certainly, UGA’s initial statement track of thoughts and prayers was appropriate, but they in all likelihood learned (or should have learned) that the players and staff came straight from a strip club and that surveillance camera footage was accessible . . . and accordingly get more in front of the PR. Yes, it’s unpleasant for the involved families, but “thoughts and prayers” don’t suffice over time after preventable tragedies. If this incident involved Bama or Auburn instead, most Dawg fans would be deriding the subservient local media for not reporting on gaps in the facts divulged to date by law enforcement or university officials. Not happy about any of it, but the truth must come out.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Dawgfan1995

    This is “journalism” in the internet era. We do not wait for a full story to emerge — we cover every single tidbit of information as it comes out on the day it comes out without worrying about what the information means, if anything, whether the information is important in any way, or what have you.

    The only new facts being reported here that has any relevance to this discussion are that the four folks in that car left Toppers together at about 2:25 AM and that there were cameras along their drive that noted when they passed through certain intersections. Those are relevant for creating the timeline, but really nothing more.

    The other fact being reported is that heterosexual college football players like to see naked women dancing. The next fact, apparently, will be that the sun generally rises each day in the east and sets in the west.

    Frankly, I hope that no other “details” emerge and that this story goes away in a manner similar to how the AJC has gone away — quietly and quickly with very little fanfare.

    Liked by 8 people

    • drunkenmonken

      I’m absolutely shocked to learn a 20 year old could get into an adult establishment where alcohol is served and women dance nude. There should be a law against that behavior.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. 79dawg

    FWIW, there are lots of legal issues involved (and no, I was not holding a press conference in front of the courthouse on Thursday) – as some have said above, the issue of a University employee in a University-leased vehicle creates a thicket of legal issues, whether there is a fraternization policy that may have been violated (and by whom), and whether there is some dram shop liability….
    However, its neither the time nor place to raise them, the “story” appeals to simply base and prurient interests and doesn’t shed any light on any of those issues. Instead, it perhaps merely confirms the conclusions that 90+% of us jumped to upon hearing the news, and that is college kids were out drinking and got in a wreck – it happens every weekend in Athens (and other (college) towns); fortunately most don’t involve fatalities. Maybe the toxicology reports and accident reconstruction will throw us a curveball, but again the article is silent on that as well….
    As someone who used to read the AJC everyday, the decline these past ten to fifteen years has been like a freefall from the top of an elevator shaft….

    Liked by 6 people

  14. Hobnail_Boot

    They had their rebuttal in the can. They knew it was irresponsible.

    Fuck them.

    Liked by 7 people

  15. Hobnail_Boot

    Also: Emerson reporting that Rara Thomas was arrested last night for felony imprisonment. We may never see him suit up for Georgia.

    Like

  16. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s the AJC and Chip Towers. They live to troll the University, the football team, the coaches, players, fans, Uga, etc. If there’s no real ‘dirt’ to report on, they’ll fabricate it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Down Island Way

      Best recollection of the ajc, Lewis Grizzard in the a.m. edition (3 days a week) Lewis Grizzard in the p.m. edition (twice a week)…or something close to that recollection….#WTFARETHEYTHINKING!

      Like

  17. theoriginalspike

    I guess those hacks could not wait at least until the Traffic Homicide Report was finished.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. cowetadawg

    Some outfit wants these clicks and the AJC said might as well be us instead of TMZ. Whole thing’s just a damn tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Derek

    No one really thinks the question of whether the employees were either dates or were “doing their jobs” is newsworthy? Really?

    It was one or the other and neither is a great look. Employees probably ought not be dating players and employees probably ought not be asked to drive players around at 3 am either.

    As far as Toppers, I’m sure they’ve found themselves quite content with the current NIL model.

    Scrutiny comes with the territory. I’m sure there were razorback fans who convinced themselves that the motorcycle accident was a private matter and look up Destiny Wilson and LSU if you really want sensationalism in this context.

    Btw is this “newsy?”

    Was his fist in her ass the relevant part there? Did anyone complain then?

    The ajc isn’t required to be the uga athletic department’s Pravda every day of the year. That they choose that approach on most days is also a business decision, just like this story is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No one really thinks the question of whether the employees were either dates or were “doing their jobs” is newsworthy? Really?

      It was one or the other and neither is a great look. Employees probably ought not be dating players and employees probably ought not be asked to drive players around at 3 am either.

      Oh, FFS. You’d prefer UGA let players drunk drive at three in the morning?

      BTW, when did rank speculation become news? The article makes it clear, from the very start (“questions” in the header) that the reporting didn’t come up with any answers. Give me an answer to your question and then we can start debating what’s newsworthy.

      I’m sure the AJ-C would be quite content with your comparison of their story to somebody filming Urban Meyer in a bar.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Derek

        I’m thinking that a paid DD isn’t the real story here, but if it is then the family skipped out on a helluva lawsuit. If they all really do have drivers available to them, then great. Not sure that duty is commiserate with the job description, but whatevs.

        I’d be interested to know that our recruiting staff has driving players around at 3am as part of its remit. Wouldn’t take long to clear that up would it?

        Fwiw, I’m not paying ajc so I’m not reading the article. I am simply suggesting why the backstory might be considered “news.” The professional execution of delivering that news is a separate matter I’m not paying to judge.

        Anytime there is an intersection between what is news (Urban skipped the team flight and went out to a bar in Columbus) with what really isn’t (video of his fist in her ass) you’re very likely to get both.

        If they held back the deets then they’d be accused of coddling the powerful. If they don’t they’re accused of being tabloid.

        Like

        • The editor told us why they were reporting on it — accountability. And I have no problem with that. But the article fails to shed any light whatsoever on that issue. Instead it wallows in the sensationalism of players at Toppers.

          ” The professional execution of delivering that news is a separate matter I’m not paying to judge.”

          Well, I subscribe, so I posted about that.

          Liked by 2 people

    • 79dawg

      I totally agree that whether they were “dates” or “doing their jobs” is newsworthy – but the article doesn’t shed any light on that nor, in fact, does it actually raise any of the direct questions/issues I mentioned above. Instead, it relies on innuendo to create a sensationalized account of what might have happened….

      Liked by 6 people

      • southgadawg1

        Why do people care whether they were dates or doing their jobs? So what if there’s a policy? Two people are dead. We really want to concern ourselves with the fact that a policy might have been violated? Bunch of fuckin Karens up in here.

        Like

    • fisheriesdawg

      Did they report on any of those things you want to learn about? Or just insinuate some nefarious goings-on with nothing more than some slim, circumstantial evidence?

      If it comes out that recruiting staffers at UGA are some sort of clandestine escort service or that’s a bad look for UGA and I guess the AJC will be justified in running this as a launching piece for their investigation. If any of these other plausible scenarios turns out to be true:

      -LeCroy was using the rental off the clock while hanging out with players following a celebration and it was just a terrible accident (toxicology report to come, but it’s virtually unfathomable that the AA in any way sanctions staffers driving people around while drunk)

      -LeCroy was assigned to drive players to prevent DUI and it was just a terrible accident (matters for liability)

      -Football players and the staffers that recruit them end up developing friendships/relationships that last past signing day and the four were together off the clock

      Does any of these really warrant the sensationalism of running this story when it’s all still very speculative? If nothing else, they can report the facts (all four seen leaving Toppers at 2:30, car seen headed to accident scene, etc) without the “just asking questions” or staking out a strip club looking for players a week later BS.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Derek

        I don’t have an ajc account and don’t plan to get one.

        You’re questioning how they’re doing the job and you maybe right.

        I was only responding to whether its acceptable to be trying and/or failing to do that job. As a fan, my preference is that they walk away. But as an objective matter, I’m having trouble finding that choice to be a journalistic imperative.

        Like

    • kjackson1961

      Either “dates” or “doing their jobs”? What if the answer is neither? What if they were just friends hanging out together and decided to join others at Waffle House for some breakfast?

      Like

  20. uga97

    Exactly why I don’t subscribe to that “newspaper”, which its only use is for wiping asses & starting fires.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. jim1886

    The only facts that are relevant is that two young people loss their lives and two got injured. May they rest in peace

    Liked by 4 people

    • The Truth

      That’s just plain wrong. If, in fact, something can be learned from this episode that keeps it from happening in the future and keeps two other families from experiencing the grief the LeCroy and Willock families are suffering now, then those relevant facts should be brought to light.

      Is this a case where the AJC could have been gathering facts and not writing stories, at least not yet? Probably. But if we don’t attempt to address anything that could have been done institutionally to prevent this and it happens again, then we deserve for the whole fucking empire to come crashing down.

      Like

      • This:

        “If, in fact, something can be learned from this episode that keeps it from happening in the future and keeps two other families from experiencing the grief the LeCroy and Willock families are suffering now, then those relevant facts should be brought to light.”

        What almost certainly happened in this terrible wreck was: the driver was excessively speeding.

        What absolutely did happen: Devin Willock was thrown from the vehicle, probably because he wasn’t wearing his seat belt.

        What might have happened: the driver was drunk, which impaired her decision-making and her reaction time during the episode.

        What certainly is true: this was a terrible, terrible tragedy that absolutely didn’t have to happen. I want to know all the facts about it, and I don’t think UGA or the Athens police will ever tell us all the facts without the AJC or the Banner-Herald or some independent vehicle of the press to dig and dig until all the truth is unearthed.

        Like

  22. Granthams Replacement

    In 2023 that article is journalism. The left (cnn,msnbc,etc) vs right (fox,newsmax) do it every hour. It’s become the norm for media outlets. Multiply that with the race to be first vs accurate and you get the pile of shit that is “the news”.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. debbybalcer

    The only question I had was if the rental car provided belt extension for the Athletic association. Football players are huge and since the car was rented to provide transportation of players they should come with them. This players are big enough a regular seatbelt does not fit. But the players are adults and in GA Willock was in the backseat so he did not have the wear one.

    Like

  24. originaluglydawg

    Yellow journalism has always been a crutch for lazy journalists and news outlets.
    The AJC deserves to go out of business.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. gurkhadawg

    Every organization I’ve ever been apart of has a policy against fraternization. Between employees and other employees, client’s employees, patients, etc. I would also say that is probably the most violated policy of all time. If the UGA employees were fraternizing, the punishment would be a reprimand or at most, a lose of their job. That’s not exactly front page news. Derek brings up a good point about if UGA required a 25 yo female to crawl out of bed at 3 AM and give a bunch of drunk, rowdy football players a ride home. That would be a set up for all kinds of problems, so I doubt there is such a job requirement. When in college I was in numerous situations that were a lot more risky the what happened here and am lucky none ended in tragedy. So I’m not going to judge anyone involved. Like most tragedies, several things came together at just the right time to cause it. AJC should be ashamed of themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Faltering Memory

    I just unsubscribed from DogNation’s morning email. Just trying to do my part to deny them one click.

    Like

  27. Terry McCullers

    Journalism died when Walter Cronkite retired. Today it’s all about the story not what happened to the individuals.

    Like

  28. dawgphan34

    If this has y’all this riled up it is going to be a long off season. This story isnt going away. And it’s likely to get much worse.

    These recruiting staff and student relationships seem very common. We all read the LSU rumors fro the SEC Championship game weekend involving students, staff, and coaches.

    They also seem to be a clear violation of UGA policy. Did Smart know, did he allow it? Did he encourage it?

    Birthday for Willock is 2002, was he 21 in Toppers? Did they serve him? Was he served any where downtown?

    Like

    • “BREAKING: UNDERAGED MINOR SERVED ALCOHOL IN DOWNTOWN ATHENS” hardly seems newsworthy to me, but what do I know?

      Unless you’re arguing that Willock drinking alcohol somehow led to his death, which I doubt you are.

      Liked by 2 people

    • By the way, why is it likely to get worse? You know something, or just joining in the general speculation here?

      “We all read the LSU rumors fro the SEC Championship game weekend involving students, staff, and coaches.”

      Never mind. Quite the comparison there. I ought to nuke your comment, but I’ll let it stand as a warning to everyone else. This is not a road anyone here should go down unless they’re prepared to lose posting status at GTP.

      Liked by 4 people

      • gurkhadawg

        College students like to drink – not news
        Young men like strip clubs – not news
        Young women are attracted to athletic young men – not news
        Employees violate fraternization policies – not news
        People of different races partying together- not news
        Young people die in automobile accident – tragic, but usually a one day news story.

        I’m not saying that any of the above is what happened. Just that even if it did, it’s not the big news AJC is trying to make it out to be.

        Like

  29. originaluglydawg

    Honest Question.
    Can we generally speculate on what the AJC’s end game is here?

    Like

  30. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2021)

    Fuck the two pieces of shit “investigative” “journalists” for writing this nothing burger.

    Fuck the anonymous editor who wrote the headline.

    Fuck Chip Towers for retweeting this salacious bullshit and then defending it to those who were rightly upset about the bullshittery afoot.

    If I were Josh Brooks, I would immediately revoke access to the AJC and DawgNation on a permanent basis. Those two fucking tabloid tags need Georgia far more than Georgia needs them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So you would rather have them outside the tent pissing in?
      You want to feud with an news organization that buys ink by the gallon? I’m glad you’re not our athletic director.

      Like

      • Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2021)

        That analogy made sense when papers had power.

        The AJC has no power anymore. There are more than enough blogs and sites out there dedicated to college football, and Georgia in particular, where shutting out the AJC won’t hurt the UGA AA at all.

        I’m also someone who believes that actions have consequences, and after what the AJC decided to do yesterday, and then have the balls to defend their horrible decision to the extant that they did, they need to suffer some consequences.

        You may be happy I’m not the AD, but maybe you need to join the rest of us in the here and now and realize it’s not 1992 any longer. The AJC is hanging on by their fingernails to relevance, and the UGA AA kicking them off campus is exactly what they deserve.

        Like

  31. godawgs1701

    This will no doubt be an unpopular opinion, but as a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at UGA, I’ve got to speak up a little.

    First, the line about UGA players being at Toppers a week after the accident is completely and fully out of bounds and beyond the pale. It serves no journalism purpose. So, fuck them for writing it and fuck every editor who touched the story for allowing it to remain in there.

    But beyond that, I have very few problems with the reporting. Look, while there are plenty of possible explanations that I keep coming up with, the facts are that an underage and undergrad UGA football player was killed in a car crash in a vehicle driven by an adult employee of UGA who was also killed. It was 3 AM. From what I read, both of the athletes in the car have girlfriends so I reject the idea that they were dating these two staff members just because they were in a car together. Both of these young women are beloved by the entire team so I believe they were friends. But everywhere I’m aware of has policies against fraternization. If UGA has a policy and it was broken or bent, then that’s news. It’s part of the story. If UGA does not have a policy, that’s news too. If Ms. LeCroy was hanging out with players at Topper’s earlier in the evening, that’s news, too. It’s news because hanging out at Topper’s with a UGA employee at 3 AM isn’t the same as that time you met one of your professors at Globe for a Friday afternoon beer. It’s just different. It goes back to whether UGA employees were operating contrary to how their professional roles would dictate. The AJC is right that UGA has a responsibility to safeguard the students and student athletes in their charge. If this tragedy indicates that there need to be policy changes or policy enforcement to prevent a repeat, then that’s news. To be clear, we have no indication today that Ms. LeCroy was impaired in any way. The ACCPD was clear in their report that at the scene, there was no obvious evidence of alcohol. That means there were no containers in the car, and I guess it probably also means that nobody obviously smelled or it or anything. But that does not mean that it was appropriate for paid staff to be partying with players, if that’s what was indeed taking place. Everyone involved is an adult and they were on their own time. 24 year old professionals are going to end up in the same bars as undergrads in Athens. But if your position prohibits certain conduct, well…

    Now, could/should the AJC have held this story until they had every single answer to the questions raised here? Perhaps. UGA’s statements about being focused on the well being of everyone and honoring the memory of those we lost is all fine and good, but if they aren’t pressed then they have no reason to ever come off of that statement and answer the questions about whether they view any problems with staffers and players fraternizing, whether there are any policies that are broken there, whether new policies are needed. In most major news stories that have ever been uncovered by reporting, the first story published doesn’t wrap up the entire thing – reporters do not have subpoena power, for example, and thanks to the state legislature they also have to wait 90 days for the results of record requests to UGA athletics. Public pressure and then government pressure from initial reporting is what usually leads to the final information. This is a human tragedy and it’s also a sports story so it doesn’t feel like it has the same weight as reporting on, say, Watergate or COVID or “major” stories like that. But it’s also a story about a state institution and whether that institution is operating exactly as it should be or if it was leading up to this tragedy. So far, that institution hasn’t been responsive to questioning along those lines. As a journalist, that’s a problem.

    The AJC’s reporting needs to stay away from the prurient bullshit, and what happens with UGA players when they aren’t around anyone paid by the university is out of bounds. Going way deep on what everyone was doing that night is borderline. But investigating this story? In my opinion, it’s the job of reporters to do that. Two lives were lost. Why?

    Liked by 4 people

    • I don’t have any problem with investigating the story. And if the AJ-C comes up with real news, I’ll be among the first to credit them for doing so.

      But this piece is premature at best, purely speculative at worst. And the last paragraph, as you note, is inexcusable.

      Liked by 5 people

      • godawgs1701

        And not only is the last paragraph inexcusable from the standpoint of decorum and just being completely out of bounds, but it’s also inexcusable because it colors the opinion of the public on all of the rest of the reporting you’re doing. It’s beyond the pale.

        I don’t have a problem with questioning the timing of the piece. I’m no longer working in news, I switched teams and I now work in public relations on the receiving end of the questions. But I was in many different news rooms where stories were being reported and there are a lot of discussions of when you go public with the story. Sometimes the only way to get the questions answered is to start asking them publicly. It’s not a perfect process. I wish that none of this were happening for many, many reasons.

        Like

        • Derek

          The whole thing has the appearance of the ajc and uga having a pissing match. The ajc may have been content with official answers the department doesn’t want to give and the ajc seems to be purposefully punishing the department and saying: “welp we asked you, you wouldn’t answer so we went searching and we found this. Wanna answer some questions now?”

          Isn’t there some wisdom out there about fighting folks that buy ink by the barrel.

          Like

          • godawgs1701

            There is indeed, but at the same time UGA probably also has some very compelling reasons to be operating the way that they are. In my current role my go-to answer is to give everything you’ve got and take your one or two bad days in the spotlight until everyone moves on. But there are also reasons not to and there are probably at least some answers UGA isn’t even allowed to give. And, the other factor is that UGA knows they have public sentiment and sympathy on their side and that isn’t likely to change and the AJC and other reporters might just get shouted down and they’ll never be forced to kinda cave in on the line of inquiry. So that’s a factor, too.

            And, of course, there’s also the possibility still that optics aside, nobody did anything wrong. I hope that’s the case. It’s just that the more stonewalling you see the less likely that appears.

            Like

            • 79dawg

              The way to address that is for the AJC to contact Claude and say, “In light of last weeks tragedy, we’ve been working on a story on the relationships between staffers and players and what the boundaries are. We have interviewed X current and former staffers and players, and would like to sit down with you and Josh for an interview. What time in the next week works for you? If you don’t do an interview, we will write the story, send it to you 24 hours before publishing for comment, and run with it. Please advise.”
              But that’s obviously not what they did; instead, they rushed to get a sensationalized “story” with no substantive information – but plenty of innuendo – run amok….

              Liked by 1 person

              • godawgs1701

                I am certain that the AJC would have requested interviews with each of the people you mention here. I will literally be shocked to learn that they did not repeatedly request comments from at least Claude Felton and also a lot of other officials at the school.

                However, there is no requirement in journalism ethics to send the subject of an article, even a peripheral subject of an article, a copy of that article for their approval 24 hours before publishing it. Certainly not someone who has refused to participate so that they then might have a “last chance” to comment if they don’t approve of the piece. What you’re describing there is how UGA’s own website should operate, not an independent news organization. Also, your timeline of giving UGA a week to schedule an interview is unrealistic.

                Like

    • Fellow Grady grad here. You are correct that there are questions that need to be answered about this tragedy. Was alcohol a contributing factor? Were university employees partying with student athletes or were they acting as designated drivers for said athletes? Those are the two biggest questions with follow up questions about university and athletic department policy that are applicable about the answers to the above questions. The answers to those questions may or may not reflect poorly on UGA, the athletic department and/or the individuals involved. All of the above are necessary and fair game. The problem is that none of those are the focus of the article. The focus is pure speculation leading the reader to assume that something nefarious MUST have happened. The proper place for such an expose would have been a opinion column asking why it is taking a week for such information/answers to come to light. Only with the police reports on the accident cause and any toxicology results should anything be reported about exactly what happened. Eyewitness statements from that night (not a night a week later when other players who may or may not have been of legal age to be at a strip club and drinking) are also fair game, but that’s also not the focus of the article. We absolutely need to know if the UGA athletic department is behaving in a reckless manner toward student athletes or its employees. That is most definitely the job of a competent journalistic endeavor, but once again, it is not a journalist’s job to speculate on what “might” have happened, only to report on what DID happen. The AJC and any other “news” organization is well aware that the general public has neither the sophistication nor the general understanding of what is news and what is opinion, and they play on that to get clicks. Conrad Fink is rolling over in his grave over what passes for journalism this days.

      Liked by 1 person

    • gurkhadawg

      I’ll defer to your journalistic expertise, but “The AJC is right that UGA has a responsibility to safeguard the students and student athletes in their charge.” You’re kidding, right? They are all adults, responsible for their own actions. They can die for their country, get married, become a porn star, whatever. (Except buy a drink).

      Like

      • gurkhadawg

        My comment was in response to godawgs at 9:44.

        Like

      • godawgs1701

        I’m not kidding. They didn’t join the military. They went to college. Colleges operate a lot differently than the US Army. While it’s true that the students are adults in the eyes of the law, there are all sorts of policies on the books at the University that show the school taking on the role of halfway house to adulthood. There are certain types of relationships between faculty and students, for example, that are fine in the eyes of the law that are prohibited by school policy.

        But you don’t have to take my word for it, listen to every comment on recruiting that football coaches have ever made. Those coaches go into living rooms and promise moms and dads they’ll take care of their sons. Keep them safe.

        Like

        • godawgs1701

          Read the rules for the dorms at your average college if you don’t think that the schools aren’t acting as a nanny.

          Like

        • gurkhadawg

          I believe you when you say those policies are in place and that is what is told to parents. Two of my kids are at UGA now and I sat through those orientations. I also told my kids that they have to take care of themselves, cause no one else will. Anyone who thinks UGA can keep their kids safe is naive at best and a fool at worst.

          Like

          • godawgs1701

            Well, no, if college kids are going to be given freedom while they’re on campus then the school can’t guarantee their safety. I don’t think I suggested that they have or should. But there are a lot of things that colleges can do to make college students safer than they might otherwise be. The questions that are absolutely in bounds here are whether UGA did enough in terms of the policies they have in place and the enforcement of those policies. If they did, then good. I’ll be very happy.

            Like

            • gurkhadawg

              I’m just saying that besides providing adequate security in dorms and around campus, I don’t know what else UGA can do to “safeguard the students “.

              Like

            • Illini84

              The term in loco parentis, Latin for “in the place of a parent”[1] refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent.

              Originally derived from English common law, the doctrine is applied in two separate areas of the law. First, it grants educational institutions such as colleges and schools discretion to act in the best interests of their students, although not allowing what would be considered violations of the students’ civil liberties.[2] Second, this doctrine may allow a non-biological parent to exercise the legal rights and responsibilities of a biological parent if they have held themselves out as the parent.[3]

              The in loco parentis doctrine is distinct from the doctrine of parens patriae, the psychological parent doctrine, and adoption.[4]

              Liked by 1 person

              • gurkhadawg

                Sure. When the IRS says they’re here to help, you can trust them too.

                Like

                • gurkhadawg

                  Seriously, besides providing physical security on campus, what can UGA do to safeguard students?

                  Like

                • godawgs1701

                  Not real sure what the IRS has to do with anything going on here.

                  What can UGA do? A whole lot! What should UGA do? That seems to be where the debate comes in. But Georgia football tomorrow could come out and impose curfews on their players with bed checks, require athletes to live on campus all four years, require them to check in with team coordinators, pass drug and alcohol screenings, there are all sorts of things the team could require. Personally, I don’t want to see anything like that.

                  Insofar as what could have been done to prevent this specific tragedy, perhaps not much. But UGA could have some strict rules about what is and is not appropriate behavior on the part of people employed by the University and the athletic department. I suspect they already do. And we’re going to be reading a lot of about that in the coming weeks.

                  Like

                • gurkhadawg

                  You’ve never heard the IRS comment before? Ok. Just means you have to be pretty naive to believe that. You listed a lot of things UGA could do, then said UGA should not do them. I agree with you. So I’ll ask you again, what should UGA do to better safeguard the students? Not in this specific case, but in general.

                  Like

                • godawgs1701

                  Well, initially you asked what can they do instead of what should they do. And, in a month or two when all of the facts are in and we know what UGA did or didn’t do in this case, I’ll answer you.

                  Like

                • gurkhadawg

                  Ok, I look forward to it.

                  Like

  32. If you thought Kirby was short with Chip that one time…

    Like

  33. The AJC did not interview the two living witnesses. Nor Toppers staff. Nor the families of those involved. Nor wait for more information to be released from the police investigation.

    I feel bad for the families. While trying to heal and process their loss, they now have rampant public speculation and likely other trash “journalists” camped outside their doors this morning. They don’t deserve this, and the AJC editors knew this would be the result. What should be investigated is whether the editors wanted this uproar. I know what I believe. That’s not journalism, that’s intent to be evil and cause harm.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. pedropossum

    I guess the AJC is planting their flag and owning the story. The 30 for 30 on the duke lacrosse team showed how well this ends up when the facts don’t match the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • godawgs1701

      The AJC’s own history in the story of Richard Jewel shows it even more clearly. While I do believe the story needs to be reported, they’d do well to be a lot more careful than they are in this initial report.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derek

        Also more of a law enforcement story than a journalism story.

        Liked by 2 people

      • 79dawg

        Big difference is Richard Jewell was actually defamed in print by the AJC, even if the Georgia Supreme Court did them a solid in the end…. Here, the AJC hasn’t reported any “fact” that is remotely defamatory; instead, they’ve dribbled out a few innocuous facts, connected them with a bit of titillation, omitted a lot (some of which they, and perhaps no one, knows), and let their readers draw the natural, sensationalized conclusions.
        Maybe if the Georgia Supreme Court hadn’t ultimately bailed the AJC out in the Richard Jewell case, they would be more careful now (but I doubt it)….

        Like

        • Derek

          Maybe if courts didn’t constantly “bail out” law enforcement they’d stop abusing their power.

          A power which is far greater than the media’s btw. The media can’t strap you down and needle you nor has the media the shot or choked anyone to death lately.

          The freedom of press is in the constitution. Its better they be free to make a mistake here and there than to be shut down for fear of litigation.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Derek

      That was a law enforcement story far more than it was a journalism story.

      The rarity there was that the victims had the resources to fight back.

      Most targets don’t.

      Liked by 2 people

  35. Glad I took a pass on the AJC’s special commemorative book for UGA’s championship that I saw at Walgreens yesterday. Never buying anything from them ever again.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. archmartyr

    Good for the AJC trying to hold Georgia accountable for all their bullshit. Players imprisoning people against their will, staffers running amuck causing car crashes and death. Something needs to be done with this trash program

    Like

  37. Bypassing the question of whether the AJC is doing the right thing…

    I keep wondering about what the university’s liability is here. If the university, in any way, provided the vehicle and/or university-employee-chaperones, and or university-employee-designated-drivers for the evening, and it’s proven the driver was intoxicated or otherwise at fault for the accident, doesn’t a huge civil suit seem likely?

    Like

  38. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    Richard Jewell disagrees with the ajc angle as well

    Liked by 1 person

  39. spur21

    Well, the editor and the two reporters got what they wanted – nationwide notoriety. The story is now widespread on the interweb along with more and more speculation.

    Like

  40. Fuck Chip Towers and the AJC. We should start a GoFundMe to hire lawyers to represent the families and sue the pants off the entire company. Even if it’s a total waste of time and they have no legal case – make the AJC feel the pain of their irresponsibility by having to waste precious resources defending themselves.

    Like

  41. spur21

    Bottom line none of us have either the need to know or the right to know what happened. It will all come out after all the facts are sorted through.

    At this point we can safely assume excessive speed was involved (that is recorded in the little black box) and the car left the road due to the speed or driver distraction.

    I’m still heartbroken for all involved.

    Like

  42. Has anyone seen the classic movie “Absence of Malice”?

    Like

  43. jim1886

    The original charter of Georgia band lawyers.
    It should have NEVER been changed.
    Along with Economists, Psychologist, and Socialist, they should all be banned tday.

    Like

  44. As one who’s lost an adult child in an accident, please give the families a break – and time to grieve.

    AJC is now at National Enquirer levels – or lower.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s