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T'eo hoax: Are reporters in the wrong?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Hey Diaz!, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Hey Diaz!

    Hey Diaz! Member

    Are they? Is this part of the story as cut and dried as many online are making it out to be?

    Gene Wojciechowski offered his thoughts and said while he couldn't find the woman's obituary, ESPN eventually ran with the story. Others all over the country did the same with the same amount of knowledge ... or lack of knowledge.

    Then you have tweets like this from earlier yesterday:

    Tyler Dukes ‏@mtdukes This Te'o story from @Deadspin is the best argument I've ever seen for checking even the most basic assumptions during the reporting process

    I get both takes, but who in their right mind would -- well, before Wednesday -- think Te'o was telling a lie about such a sensitive subject? Shouldn't there be some level of trust in what an interviewee saying is true?

    Maybe I'm in the wrong for assuming quite a bit in my own work-related conversations/interviews over the years, and a story like this certainly makes me think back and wonder if certain interview subjects were B'Sing or at the very least embellishing things in some instances.

  2. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    When a story snowballs like this, it's easy to assume the original reporters (or someone up the line) checked it, and trust their judgment.
  3. I don't think it crossed many reporter's minds to check the veracity of the fake girlfriend's death. Not a knock on the reporters, because in hindsight, who would think this type of thing would be made up?
  4. Would many think Te'O would lie about that? No.

    At the same time, some/many of us work in preps. If star QB at Local City HS came up with a similar story, only that it was a cheerleader from Local County HS who/whom he dated (and fake girlfriend later died), I would hope/think/pray to God that we would do our due diligence and check our obits, call the school, etc.

    If the girl was from our own backyard, you think we would accept "Oh, privacy blah blah blah" as a reason for not having proof?

    While apparently no one checked the obits, no one apparently called/emailed/contacted Stanford to see if fake girl was even enrolled. Oops.

    Or the fact that one article listed her funeral in "Carson City". Google tells us there's a "Carson" (suburb of L.A., at least where the soccer stadium/tennis facility is) but no "Carson CITY". Oops.

    Or that the funeral was 10 days after she died? Unless it is a soldier who dies overseas, a 10-day death-to-burial window doesn't happen where I come from.

    Living in Kentucky, I get tired of Matt Jones, but he's 100 percent right with this tweet:

    Matt Jones Matt Jones ‏@KySportsRadio
    "Pete Thamel went to freaking Turkey to make Enes Kanter ineligible but couldn't be bothered to see if human being in his story was even real"

    You go to that lengths for Kanter, but one of the best college sports researchers got duped by not doing even basic research (or not providing it in the article)?
  5. I expect prep writers to verify every stat they use in box scores from now on.
  6. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Josh Levin wrote a really good piece about confirmation bias and Thamel. Brought up his Honey Badger story with Thayer Evans. We often seek to confirm the shit we already believe. IE: Te'o is everything right with college football, and Mathieu is what's wrong.
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I would have thought at some point some reporter would have tried to expand on the story and contact "the woman's" family for a story.
  8. This is the primary reason.
    Once it was reported once or twice locally, it's pretty much accepted as gospel.
    While it was a nice story - it's also an implausible one that should have been checked.

    The media may have some fault in this. but Te'o - correct me if I am wrong - continued with this prop up to and after the BCS game. So he had to know at some point the shit was going to meet the fan.
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    That's the point that raised my eyebrows, Dan. Apparently Te'o said the family wanted privacy. Uh-huh. Then you shouldn't be telling me this, kid.
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Only if they're actually at the game. If they're not, then they shouldn't run the stats [YF]
  11. Heck, do some background research to find out more about her, at least. An obituary could tell you her parents' names, some of the things she liked doing, etc.
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