Wednesday, August 18, 2010


It seems hard to believe that a sports reporter could be fired for wearing a hat to a news conference, but welcome to football in the SEC. Renee Gork, a reporter for Hog Sports Radio in Arkansas, was fired by the outlet for wearing a University of Florida hat to Bobby Petrino's news conference Saturday. The University of Arkansas coach made a point to refer to Gork, saying, "That's the last question I take from someone with that hat." The incident provoked major outrage among UA supporters, and now Renee Gork, a Florida alumnae who did nothing more than choose the wrong hat to wear to work, no longer has a job.

A few reactions spring to mind, namely: spineless, wishy-washy and self-serving.

Fired over a hat? I've seen reporters fired for all kinds of dumb reasons, but this one reeks of homerism. Radio general manager Dan Storrs didn't even try to pretend why Gork was fired. "This radio station is Hog Sports Radio," he said. "We are very biased. We support the Razorbacks 100%."

Such much for journalistic integrity. Yes, it's just a hat, but what about when something big happens? Is there any doubt that HSR would sweep potentially bad news under the rug to protect the Arkansas football program? Why even bother to cover the news conferences if you can't report the news? This is exactly why so many people don't listen to their "home town" outlets when they really want to find out what's going on with their favorite team.

And lighten up Arkansas fans. Remember, this is the same group that ran Houston Nutt out of town because of what ESPN's Pat Forde referred to as "thy psyche ward that is Arkansas football." It's almost exactly like a 20-year old episode of Seinfeld, in which Elaine has to remove a Baltimore cap because she's sitting in the Yankee's owner's box. Apparently, life does imitate art.

What's really ironic about all this is that the whole incident has now done exactly what Petrino and the Arkansas fans didn't want -- become a major distraction that's focusing attention away from the team. Please, let bygones be bygones ... and let sports reporters honestly report the news.


Blogger Unknown said...

Without question it's a poor decision in hat selection, but is it unethical as a journalist? I don't have a clear stance, but I will find it interesting to hear feedback from students.

Also, to shed some more information on the situation, Gork revealed on "The Dan Patrick Show" that, allegedly, an individual in the UA media relations department notified Hog Sports Radio that she would no longer be welcomed at practices. Since she was hired by HSR--as she admits--primarily to cover practices, she was basically deemed "useless" (and one would suspect in violation of her contract).

Another interesting media ethics component lost in this story, though, is her admission on "The Dan Patrick Show" that she tweeted on her personal account that she would enjoy covering Florida sports more. This raises two questions:
1) Was it ethical for her to tweet such a thing in a personal, non-professional account?
2) Was it ethical for HSR to hold it against her for openly--on a personal account--pining for another job?

5:36 PM  
Blogger 孫邦柔 said...

謝謝大大無私分享 感恩唷(>o<)............................................................

5:50 PM  

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