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Do you report "rumors say?"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DemoChristian, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. I've always been taught you never report rumors. You either confirm them or dispell them, but you never write, "Rumors say..."
    I have seen this tactic used more and more lately. I'm sure people wanting to be first is a big part of it, but I've always maintained that our job is to report what we know, not what whispers on the street are.
    This is not about using unnamed sources. I just want to know if any of you report rumors and if so, why/when?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Rumor hat it that we don't.

    I think some rumors get so big, however, that you are forced to address them in some manner by asking the rumoree or something.
  3. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    I'd try to stay away from it as much as possible. Also, the rumors aren't saying anything, mainly because they can't speak. ;) A scout, on the other hand...
  4. Can I quote you on that? I'll use, "A source close to the publication."
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Sure. Oh, if you have a blog, just print it as fact. The "rumor has it" will protect you from all lawsuits.
  6. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    You don't report them. Ever.

    Now, you can talk about them in context.

    Coach Schmoe has had an interesting offseason, dealing with the departure of three assistants, his wife's health and rumors on the Internet and elsewhere that star quarterback Peter Peckerhead was going to transfer.
    "I heard those," Schmoe said, "and called Peter right away. He assured me they weren't true and he's still here."

    But you need to be very, very, very careful with that kind of thing.

    The word "rumor" in a story was always a big red flag for me.
  7. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member


    And I think you have to wait for "rumors" to reach a certain fever pitch before you address them, either to confirm or deny. I don't think you want to give credence to every little thing you read on the Internet.

    "Coach Schmoe denied rumors that he had once fucked a goat."

    That type of thing ...
  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    That one is true, though. My friend's cousin's friend was there.
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    In that case, you are reporting a rumor. You have a source to back up the fact!
  10. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    The problem is that a lot of the 24-hour news cycles (read: ESPN) fuel the flames all the time with regards to "Bill Parcells is going here," "Bill Parcells is going there," "Bill Parcells is going back here," etc. We get calls all the time with people wanting to know what the absolute latest updates are on such a search, and at some point, we're doing a disservice if we're not addressing them - or are at least are on damage control.

    It's not a good idea to pass them along, and certainly not good to start throwing out unfounded assumptions in stories (much like the closest competitor). But at some point, things have to be addressed, and the rumors should be followed up on.
  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    The goat declined comment.
  12. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Baaaa. Baaaaaaaaaa! Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    I'm told reliably that was the goat's comment.
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