Q&A: Reporter Antje Windmann On Convincing Ronaldo's Rape Accuser To Speak, And Why Media Was So Slow To Pick Up The Story

A story that has been flying under the radar a bit in the U.S. has been the account of a woman who accused Cristiano Ronaldo of rape in 2009. The woman, Kathryn Mayorga, went public with details of the incident to Der Spiegel.

One of the reporters on that story, Antje Windmann, sat for a fascinating interview with Deadspin’s Laura Wagner. Some highlights:

DS: Why do you think you were approached for that part of the participation? Did you and your team think it was important from the very outset to have a woman doing this part of the reporting?
 AW: I think in general it makes sense in reporting about sexual assault to have a woman involved. Because what you want is to have people open up in interviews and talk about their inner feelings. And in this case, to also discuss the alleged trauma. I think this interview situation has a better foundation when it’s a woman doing the interview. But also I am very experienced in interviewing people with trauma, [who have experienced] sexual assault, and have PTSD. And the team was also looking for someone who was going to write this piece down in the end. So I had some characteristics that were needed.

(Later on, from Windmann)

So when writing this, when you bring everything home about what you have researched, to me the most important thing was to be balanced in the writing. This is almost impossible when you just have one side talking. I would have loved to sit down and talk with [Ronaldo]. All of us would have liked to listen to his version. But it didn’t happen. So I didn’t want to put in things where I had no substance, to make this story apparently stronger. There might be assumptions that he did something in the past and that would have been—I would have had to moderate things or make up the readers mind for them. As it is, it is almost free of interpretation, I think that’s what I hope I achieved. And so that’s why I also didn’t want to put [the 2005 allegation] in. I just wanted to write down exactly what we had about this case.

Source: https://deadspin.com/q-a-reporter-antje-wi...

Mike Pettine Says He Didn't Realize How Bad Johnny Manziel's Drinking Problem Was

Now, it can be tough to tell the difference between a budding alcoholic and a hard-partying college student. (And that’s if you don’t consider college binge drinking a form of functional alcoholism in itself.) But the reason those in and around sports have tiptoed around putting a label on Manziel’s issues is because most of society still considers alcoholism a failing of both morals and willpower, even if, intellectually, we know it’s an addiction and formally a mental health disorder.

That blurred line is the problem. When Manziel was in college, everyone loved his behavior because "that's what college is all about, man!" But a few months later, it's completely unacceptable.

A larger story here is the social role alcohol plays in college life - both in reality and from an "Animal House" societial point of view.

via Deadspin.

We Will Pay The Reporter Who Asks Tom Brady About His Friend Donald Trump’s Plan To Ban Muslims

From Deadspin:

The only reason Trump has been allowed to get this far is the fawning deference he’s cultivated among the famous and influential—folks like Tom Brady. In a just world, he’d be a shunned fringe candidate, treated less seriously than David Duke. In our world, the NFL’s biggest star cozies up to a man who advocates ethnic cleansing—who happens to be one of three or four people with a realistic chance at becoming the most powerful person on earth—and the NFL media giggles because it’s eager for any celebrity shine.

The problem with the dwindling media access to college athletes

From Ed Sherman:

Access, or a lack thereof, continues to be a major problem for college football reporters. And that goes for the reporters from the biggest outlets in the business.

“What I got [in terms of access] as a national guy 25 years ago for the Dallas Morning News was much better than I get now writing for the biggest website in the country,” said Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com. “I bet the guys at Sports Illustrated say the same thing.”

Source: http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/3877...

LSU officials' media leaks about Les Miles blew up in their faces

That’s particularly important to consider with anonymous reports; who wants this information out there, and why? With the Miles leaks, that was pretty clear; administration officials trying to pave the way for his firing. The backlash and the response shows how the inverse also needs to be considered, though; officials pondering leaking a story need to think about the impact that information’s going to have and the potential responses it could create, not just the response they’re hoping for.

This piece, from Andrew Bucholtz, also raises a good question: If media know why a story is being leaked, why run it at all? I understand breaking stories, but if it's clearly meant to advance an agenda, why be their voice?

Touchdown double standards

Robert Flores is probably on to something. Via Deadspin.

“Now, I’m wondering why there’s no letters to the editor, or why First Take’s not doing, “Should Travis Kelce be dancing in the end zone?”

[Jay Crawford: “You sure they didn’t?”]

“They didn’t. I wonder why they’re not doing that. Oh wait, it’s because he’s not black. That’s probably what it is.”

Jeff Pearlman, guest of this blog, applauded Flores on his own blog.

Kevin Durant Blasts Media For Criticizing Kobe Bryant

From Barry Petchesky:

It’s not the job of the “media” (as if that were some monolithic entity without differing viewpoints) to be nice to Kobe Bryant, just as it’s not Bryant’s job to be nice to reporters. Those reporters would be negligent if they didn’t cover how ineffective end-stage Kobe has been, just as they’d be negligent if they didn’t appreciate the kind of player he was before age caught up with him.

Source: http://deadspin.com/kevin-durant-blasts-me...

Kobe Bryant bypasses conventional media with retirement announcement

From Ben Mullin at Poynter

Bryant’s first-person announcement comes as sports media is being reshaped by sea changes to the reporting, broadcasting, writing and publishing processes. Automation is empowering news organizations like The Associated Press to produce recaps en masse without the aid of reporters. The rise of livestreaming apps like Periscope is allowing fans to follow big-ticket sporting events without intermediaries like cable networks. Game stories, a longtime staple of sports coverage, are being produced under ever-tighter deadlines, if they’re written by reporters at all. And the trend toward online viewership has led to a spate of cord cutting that has sapped revenue from stalwarts like ESPN.

I think this overstates things a bit. It conflates "sports media" and "sports journalism," and assumes that things happening at the ESPN/pro level define sports journalism.

Small crowds, big subsidy for UB sports

But amid surging college costs and student-debt levels, some students and faculty members have started questioning the university’s emphasis on Division I sports. The increased spending on athletics has happened as university officials curbed some academic spending. The university’s largest academic unit, the College of Arts & Sciences, currently has a hiring freeze, because administrators said they don’t have the money to add faculty. The college has experienced enrollment declines, and its budget this year is down by $3.5 million from 2014-15.

“Part of the reason the money isn’t there is the university has chosen other priorities in the way it spends its money,” said Kenneth Dauber, a professor of English, who has been critical of athletics spending. “It seems a really backwards sense of priority. What justifies that, given what the mission of the university is?”

With the $23 million subsidy to athletics, the university easily could hire 225 more faculty members or cut tuition by more than $1,000 for all undergraduates, he said.

Great piece of data-driven journalism from Jay Skurski and The Buffalo News.