Tracking the News: February 28, 2014

The story I will be analyzing is titled “Jason Collins: Meeting Matthew Shepard’s parents ‘one of those cool treats in life.’ It was written by Arnie Stapleton and was published on February 28, 2014 in the Toronto Star.

My gut reaction after reading this story was of mixed emotions. The story is about Jason Collins, a centre for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and also the NBA’s first openly gay player. People questioned his number of choice on his jersey which is number 98. It is an unusual number so most people wanted to know if there was a background story behind the choice. Collins picked the number in respect to a college student from Wyoming who was tortured and killed because he was gay back in 1998. After his game, Colllins met with Matthew Sheppard’s parents and gave them a jersey with the number 98 on it. Collins called it “one of those cool treats in life”. My mixed emotions were based on sadness but also happiness. The sadness came from hearing the story of Sheppard and how he was killed because of his sexual preference. What was also sad was that I had never heard of the story of Sheppard and was only informed because of the fact that Collins decided to recognize him in this tribute, which is where the emotion of happiness came from. The issues this article obviously raises is that we shouldn’t go to the extreme of making fun of someone because they are gay, especially to the extent that Sheppard suffered through. However, it is nice to see the world moving forward in terms of recognizing that some people are gay and that it isn’t a bad thing. Whether you are a sports fan or not, reading this story and others about Jason Collins make you realize that even though there is criticism towards him, there is also a lot of positives that go into this situation.

Story Pitch

My follow up story would be on what the professional sporting leagues are doing in order to incorporate gay athletes into their sports, if they are doing anything. The significance of this story would be that gay athletes coming out to the public is becoming a hot button topic. The reader should care because the world is doing the best to adapt to this trend. With sports such a dominant factor in North American culture, it is important to know whether or not the big four professional leagues in North America (MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA) are doing their best to make sure that closet gay athletes are okay with coming out to the public. Every reader is affected by this topic. This story is worth covering now because of the emergence of Jason Collins. He could be the motivation to other gay athletes to come out to the world and feel comfortable to let everyone know that they are gay. Athletes coming out wasn’t exactly a big topic in the past like it is now because Jason Collins only came out recently which made him the first gay athlete in the big four sporting leagues. My subtopics would be: the foundation Jason Collins is building, the stigma of gay athletes in locker rooms and what these professional leagues are doing for the gay athletes in terms of support. Resources that I would use would be interviewing gay athletes, reading about the initial coverage of Jason Collins compared to the coverage now,  and interviewing straight athletes about their comfort with gay teammates on and off the field. I would use television and print for this story. I feel like I could find powerful images that could be used for television along with some strong quotes and statistics that could be incorporated into a print story. Social media would be used for getting other people’s opinions through Twitter and Facebook along with promotion of the story.



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