Magazine article The Quill

An SPJ by Any Other Name

Magazine article The Quill

An SPJ by Any Other Name

Article excerpt

Over the years I've been asked if Jim Gray is my real name. I've been asked it so many times that occasionally, just to be funny, I reply, "No. I changed it for show business. My real name is Scott Gray."

If you're laughing, groaning or harrumphing, you can stop now. There is a point to this.

Over the past few weeks, people with the name Jim or James Gray have been making some journalism news and it's been interesting, to say the least, to be on this end of the telephone.

First, there was the outraged sports fan from Cincinnati who telephoned SPJ and demanded to speak to the person in charge. He wanted to deliver a diatribe about NBC Sports reporter Jim Gray's "assault" on Pete Rose just after the banned-for-life all-time hits leader had been named to Major League Baseball's "All Century Team."

Then there was the reporter (also outraged) who called to let us know how he felt about Texas prosecutor Guy James Gray who succeeded in getting a judge to rule that CBS producer Mary Mapes had to turn over her video outtakes in the third trial related to the James Byrd Jr. dragging murder case.

The phrase "pregnant pause" cannot begin to describe the aforementioned callers' reactions when they asked, "Who am I speaking to?"

In the first instance, I could offer no solace to the caller simply because I believe my namesake on network television was doing his job. Pete Rose is, arguably, one of the greatest baseball players ever. I am second to none in my admiration of his abilities on the field.

But on the occasion when he received a measure of "redemption," a fairly large number of people thought that the other Jim Gray crossed over some sort of ethical line in pursuit of his story. The caller probably thought I'm a relative of the other Jim Gray (I'm not) because I saw only a reporter in pursuit of his story@

As for the reporter in Texas, he received a different response. …

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