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Interviewing Athlete Friends- Conflict of Interest?

by on December 13, 2016

When interviewing athletes it’s always a tricky business. Sometimes you have to go through an Sports Information Director or an Athletic Director. Other times you can simply walk up to a coach or athlete after the game and ask them a few questions either before or after a game. This gets tricky, however, when the athlete or coach is a friend, or even family friend. Can you go through with it? In my opinion, no, you can’t.

Why can’t you go through with it? The reasoning that I am using is the biggest ethical issue facing journalism today: conflict of interest. While they are not in direct relation to you you know the person before talking to them and they have the potential to give you slightly slanted answers and answers that will help you in your story.

The only exception to this is if they become a friend after the fact. If they become a friend afterwards that can help you in getting interviews with them and the person will recognize you in the future. Plus they can be a source for you for information in the future when you need to report on the team. The only thing to be careful of is that they don’t start bribing you so that you write the story a certain way.

Interviewing athletes/coach friends/family friends is a no-go when it comes to journalism. It’s a conflict of interest. End of story.


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One Comment
  1. I agree with the fact that interviewing a friend who is an athlete for a story is a conflict of interest. I think that because the person is a friend, the reporter has the potential bias to portray the person better than he or she really is. It also makes it possible for the reporter to put words in the athletes mouth because they know him or her so well. However, I do think that if the athlete is interviewed, along with other athletes from the same team, there is possibly for less of a bias and it becomes acceptable to interview that person. Including other’s opinions in the story, besides that of your friend makes for a more complete picture and a perspective other than your own.

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