Is Being First Really Worth It?

No one wants to admit when they’re wrong.  Especially members of the media.

But that’s what happened yesterday following NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s meeting with former Patriots’ videographer Matt Walsh in the Spygate case.

The Boston Herald did admit it erred in its report two days before the Super Bowl that the Pats had taped the Rams walk-through prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans back in 2002.  We now know through Goodell that as far as the NFL’s investigation and Walsh’s comments are concerned, no taping ever took place.

There is some great local commentary on the Herald’s error by Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch and David Scott at Scott’s Shots.  Both are a must read.

The Herald will be facing much more deserved scrutiny in the days and weeks ahead over its apparent shoddy work.  What bothers me is that the practice of throwing out innuendo to see if it sticks is becoming more and more prevalent across all sports media platforms.

We are all to blame.  In the world of the 24/7 news cycle no one wants to be left behind.  The pressures are enormous.  The money involved more so.  There are more journalists (including bloggers) digging for stories for print, television, radio, and online sources. 

All of this leads to the mentality that any news, no matter the source or circumstances, must be reported, for fear that not doing so will result in less readers and loss in revenue.  I have never subscribed to this.  I guess that’s why I don’t get as many readers as others. (Check my BallHype rating in the right sidebar)  I pride myself in first attempting to be right, not necessarily first.  Heaven knows I am far from perfect.

We in the blogosphere should take some responsibility for this.  The Deadspins of the world have created this reality.  Ethics be damned.  It is what it is.  I still believe their content has an audience and should not be restricted.   But some of their work does not pass the credibility test, in my opinion. 

When those sources gain credibility, others in the media feel the need to match it.  That may have been the case with the Herald story.  The practice lessens the general quality of reporting.  Thankfully a good deal of those in the media still take their journalistic integrity seriously.  As that generation passes on, I fear the craft will suffer. 

Maybe Buzz Bissinger was right after all..


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