Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Matter of Trust

One of the big debates in sports journalism today is the role of new media in reporting. Yes, the Internet, blogs, Twitter and other social media make reporting much faster ... but there are continuing issues with credibility.

Consider what we've seen just in the past month in college football. According to Internet "reporting" Penn State's 84-year old Joe Paterno was hospitalized during preparation for the Lions' bowl game with Florida. But Paterno said the rumors were ridiculous because he was in a team meeting at the time he was supposed to be in the hospital. His wife also had to deny the numerous reports.

The University of Texas has conducted several assistant coaching searches, and right before Christmas several outlets began reporting that Terryl Austin of Florida would be the new defensive coordinator. Not just reporting as rumor, but actually reporting as fact. The problem is, Austin was not hired and the job went instead to Manny Diaz.

The problem seems to center on the numerous fan sites and blogs, most of which do not have any foundation in solid journalism. Many of these sites pass along rumors and innuendo without checking, and when they get caught ... they simply remove the offending information as if it had never even existed.

In some cases the traditional (or 'legacy') media of television, radio and newspapers are guilty of passing along the information because they don't want to get scooped. But most of the time, these sites are the only ones doing the investigative work to track down information and not release it until it's official. Or at the very least, to correctly identify rumors as rumors and not as fact.

We've read a lot about the demise of the legacy media, but they still have the one selling point that all these other Internet sites often lack--credibility.


Blogger Unknown said...

Don't forget Twitterers reported the premature death of NHL head coach Pat Burns while he was grocery shopping.

Then again the New York Times reported Earl Weaver was dead just a few weeks ago (he's not) maybe the traditional media is rushing to keep up with non-traditional and in the end everyone suffers.


11:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home