Atlanta paper getting hammered from all angles for their clickbait headline hidden behind a paywall.
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The University of Georgia recently won the college football national championship, but then tragedy struck less than a week later as the team celebrated the title. Four connected with the program — two players and two athletic department employees — were involved in a single-car accident. Two were killed and the other two were injured.
On Sunday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote a story with the headline “Strip club visit raises questions about fatal UGA crash.”
The story starts with: “A late-night visit to a strip club preceded a car crash that killed a University of Georgia football player and an employee of the school’s football program, raising questions about boundaries between the program’s staff and its athletes.”
The AJC received plenty of backlash, particularly on social media. AJC managing editor Leroy Chapman Jr. wrote a companion piece to the story in “Why we’re writing this story.”
Chapman pointed out the facts of the story: A university employee, Chandler LeCroy, was driving the rented vehicle. (A crash report from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department said the driver exceeded the 40 mph speed limit.) LeCroy was killed in the crash. Chapman wrote, “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.”
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. Devin Willock, a player who was killed, was the youngest of the group. He was 20. LeCroy was 24. The other two passengers were 21 and 26.
from a Georgia fan makes a really smart point: “This is a public interest story in a multitude of ways, from the deaths of young people to questions around what exactly happened. The AJC *should* investigate this. But it’s nothing short of shameful to write that headline and hide the article behind a paywall.”
He adds, “By writing that headline, you’re (in)directly implying that crash happened because some kids were partying in Athens and went to the downtown strip club. In short, whether you meant to or not, you’re saying the strip club visit is tied to the crash; as a punishment or a cause.”