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Another ESPN sourcing issue

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SockPuppet, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    Maybe we should have a standing thread topic. This is interesting because former ESPN employee Bruce Feldman had his "scoop" "sourced."


    Maybe ESPN has a different definition for "sources." Maybe to ESPN a "source" is anyone else's report. Kinda like a natural "resource."
  2. sportbook

    sportbook Member

    The fact is just about everybody outside of the business couldn't care less. The same goes for exclusives.
  3. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    I honestly think they use "Sources:" the way traditional outlets use "Report:" in a headline. An amateur practice, even by World Leader standards.
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

  5. I realiize there's a history here, but why is it impossible to believe that ESPN (or any other outlet) independently confirmed the injury, perhaps even through the same unnamed "sources" Feldman used?

    I also think the whining makes Feldman look ridiculous, as if anyone other than his sycophants on Twitter give a damn about this relatively minor story in the whole scheme of things.
  6. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Because SportsCenter referred to "sources" after one of its own affiliate sites, Nole Nation, credited CBS.

  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Let's establish the chain of events. I was following this story to some degree, and this is what I came away with:

    1. Florida State finds out Brandon Jenkins will miss the rest of the season.
    2. Someone at Florida State tells Bruce Feldman that Brandon Jenkins will miss the rest of the season.
    3. Bruce Feldman reported before anyone else that Brandon Jenkins will miss the rest of the season.
    4. ESPN affiliate Nole Nation confirmed Bruce Feldman's report that Brandon Jenkins will miss the rest of the season.
    5. Rece Davis mentioned on air that ESPN sources said Brandon Jenkins will miss the rest of the season.

    Now, you tell me: Should ESPN cite on air the reporter who broke the story even after they've confirmed it? It's certainly not standard protocol. Sources did confirm to ESPN (or, in this case, Nole Nation) before Davis' broadcast that Jenkins was going to miss the rest of the season.

    This happens all the time. Is this scenario different because the reporter involved was Feldman? I don't think it would have generated nearly as much bickering had it been Dennis Dodd.
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    It happens. It's not necessarily right. If Jenkins is out, he's out, and no amount of subterfuge will change that, so why not simply get it on the record? You're ESPN. You did an all-access with Jimbo Fisher. C'mon. Or just simply wait until the next business day, when it is on record, and do it then.
  9. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    I'm not one who believes every reporter has to spend his or her time tracking down the order of finish in reporting the story while he or she is actually reporting the story. If, for example, you're working on a story. you confirm it and you do so independent of anybody else, you're under no obligation to check to see if you're "first" before you file. And if somebody learns you were not first, you are not obligated to change your story to reflect the winner of the horse race.

    I don't know the precise order of events here. The Nole Nation story reads as if the author first got wind of the Feldman report and worked to confirm it, but nobody knows for sure except the NN guy.

    Here is a set of theoretical circumstances in which, in my opinion, NN wouldn't be obligated to cite CBS:
    1) NN and Feldman are working simultaneously and unaware of the other's work.
    2) Feldman gets it first and posts it.
    3) NN guy holds off in posting until getting his own confirmation.

    At this point, you've got what lawyers call ""inevitable discovery.""

    If, however, NN wants to post after seeing Feldman's report and before getting his own confirmation, he's got to cite Feldman.

    Again, I'm not making judgments about things here because I don't know the full story. If NN reported the story independently of anybody else and waited to run with anything until getting its own confirmation, it wasn't obligated to cite CBS, and ESPN TV wouldn't have that obligation, either. But by inserting the CBS reference, NN is at least making it look as if the timing and/or substance of its report were facilitated by the CBS report. Was such a credit necessary? I don't know. It's possible that the NN reporter simply inserted the CBS credit out of fear of being ""outed"" by the omniscient time-stamp surveillance project undertaken by real journalists and self-appointed ethics stormtroopers alike these days. Perhaps he then told his superiors that the credit wasn't necessary and they passed that along to ESPN TV. (I admit this sounds unlikely.)

    If all ESPN TV went on was a reading of the NN story, it probably should have followed that story's lead and credited CBS.

    The notion that a story about an injured defensive lineman -- even on a high-profile college football team -- would compel people like us to consider the ethics of the crediting game is a relatively recent phenomenon. Twitter has really ramped up this issue.
  10. Beaker

    Beaker Active Member

    SI's Grant Wahl on Twitter just now: "Poor by @ESPNFC to base entire story on SI's Dempsey quotes and post unattributed direct quote on its Twitter page."
  11. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Prompting a back-and-forth with Adam Digby (@adz77) in which Wahl largely comes across as a douche.
  12. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    @ESPNFC deleted has kept the original tweet and but since added, "SI report: Dempsey reveals stress of transfer saga. http://tinyurl.com/bqzl6v8"
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