Boothe's 4202 Blog

How the Internet and Technology is changing Editing

Some sportswriters are dropping the ball

with one comment

In the sometimes repetitive and cyclical world of sports journalism, finding new and entertaining nuances and conflicts within a specific team are as important to fans as it is writers.

Readers today want to hear about the emotional state of athletes in the same way they would an injury report. Because of this – by the time a post-game press conference rolls around – there are very few topics that are off topic or taboo by reporters.

Family situations can be brought up, like in NBA star Dwayne Wade’s case. The same goes for legal troubles. Even an individual student athlete’s performance in the class room can draw a question or two.

The personal knowledge of these athletes by reporters, however, can lead to presumptions being made in stories. These inaccuracies can make an article sound disconnected and even sensational. The entertainment value is still there, but the journalist’s piece will contain some tell-tale holes in its reasoning and plot.

One example is an story which used aggregation from a column.

Both discuss an alleged brewing controversy following a blowout win for the New Orleans Saints against the Atlanta Falcons. In the game, the Saints decided to throw late in their victory to also seal a record-setting passing season for their quarterback, Drew Brees.

The act was seen as unsportsmanlike by an anonymous source on the Falcons who said, “No need for that. It came on our watch, but it didn’t have to come that way. We won’t forget it.”

But story goes on to name other players who offer just as opinionated quotes. Using an unnamed source in this situation begs the question: Did the reporter just gauge the attitude of the Falcons’ locker room and attribute his opinion to an anonymous source?

While the CBSsports columnist gets more wiggle room for this kind of thing, the writer should have tried to do a little more of his own reporting to find out if the claims held water.

He writes for the NFL site, which does not state that it has an independent editorial department like does. Therefore, it almost feels like he’s promoting a growing inter-divisional rivalry that might spring up again in another meeting. Be sure to watch this Sunday on TV! qualifies each of its articles with: “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.” The NFL site does not.

While the column is trying to reinforce a point, the aggregated piece feels like a shameless promotion by someone who is, in a way, putting out the league’s viewpoint on the news.





Written by jboothe

February 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Don’t see your comment in the Google+ discussion. Might have helped you get closer to the point this case study is trying to make.
    Also, response to this is missing: Read this headline – does text support hed or is it misleading?

    Excuse given here:

    Ronald R. Rodgers

    February 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

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