It seems like the sports journalism biz is taking on water these days. Some of the problems are self-induced. Some of the problems just come with the territory…
Issue 1: The Manti Te’o story. How could sports reporters not know more details about the fake girlfriend hoax? Did you ask for some verification? Did you ask Manti for proof that she was dead when he said she was dead? How could this go on for weeks while Manti was a national public figure?
Issue 2: Lance Armstrong. It always seemed like those stories of Armstrong and doping came from European reporters and were they just feeding a jealousy feeling from across the pond? Lance is a cancer survivor, he would never lie, would he? He raised so much money so should he get a pass?
Issue 3: MLB Hall of Fame voting. The baseball writers decided guys like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds should not get into Cooperstown, at least this year. Were not many of these writers also the same guys who covered these players and looked the other way many times when they suspected something?
Issue 4: Media Voting. Should the sports media be voting for awards in the first place? ( I admit that I’ve used to have a Fitzy vote. I’ve been a Wooden Award voter, etc). Should we be only reporting on the news, not helping to make the news?
Issue 5: Oprah. How did you like having to watch Oprah to get the full Lance confession? It was the second highest rated show on her network. The top rated show was an interview with the Whitney Houston family after the singer’s death. Does this mean most of the general public just wants reality entertainment overall?
Issue 6: NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA Network. Name the sport. They all have their own network. Do they really want to uncover bad things about their sport? And with ESPN and other networks paying billions of dollars for broadcasting rights, how much stomach do they have to get to the real truth?
Guest columnist Eric Deggans at sportsjournalism.org writes there are three lessons reporters should learn from the Te’o/Armstrong sagas…1) The bigger the lie, the easier it is to sell. 2) As a story is repeated by the media, there is less effort to confirm its details. 3) Journalists are at a disadvantage when famous sources tell unexpected lies.
I teach Sports Journalism at NESCom. My first class of the second semester is Friday. We have a lot to discuss.
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
— Speaking of sports reporters, I think we can all wish the best for ESPN’s Stuart Scott. He is battling cancer for a third time.
— Gary Fifield and the USM women’s basketball program has had many great accomplishments but never started 17-0, until now.
— Maranacook-Hall Dale-Winthrop co-operative hockey team. 26 letters in the name has got to be a record! No wonder they wear M H W on the jersey.
— The Mike Napoli one-year/$5-million deal may be Ben Cherrington’s best signing of the off-season. But, giving Salty $4.5-million? Are you kidding me.
— I give up on trying to come up with an explanation as to why UMaine hockey can’t win a home game. There are 6 more chances this season.
— I wish I could have seen Stan “The Man” Musial play — 22 years in St.Louis and hit over .300 in all but three seasons. Baseball-Reference shows his career total pay – $980,050. Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes will earn $5-million this year alone…Just sayin’