Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dude, Where's My Gold Medal?

THERE HAS BEEN A LIVELY debate whether the Michael Phelps/ bong photo is actually news. Read the story here and decide for yourself.

Is it news? Does it qualify? Or is it the media practicing that "gotcha" journalism?

UPDATE FROM 2/6/09
: Kellogg is dropping Phelps as one of their cereal box pitchmen, and USA Swimming suspended Phelps for three months.

32 comments:

Reilly Fies said...

I think it qualifies as news. This story has prominence, conflict / controversy, it's unusual and it is a human interest piece. After his DUI bust following the Athens Olympics, this adds to it even more. He's in the public eye and anything that he does will be scrutinized.

Sarah said...

Considering all anyone did for two weeks last August was eat, breathe and sleep Michael Phelps, this is quite an interesting follow-up story. It absolutely is news. As Reilly said, Phelps is prominent and the story interesting. Not to mention incredibly controversial. We actually discussed this news story in all five of my classes yesterday. If that's not news, I don't know what is.

Sarah Fergus

Geo said...

You had five classes yesterday! Holy cow.

- George (the teacher who can't imagine five classes on one day)

summergirl said...

It's true that all anyone did for two weeks last August was "eat, breathe and sleep Michael Phelps." But was that good journalism? During the Olympics, Russia was at war with Georgia. This was a serious world crisis. And although there was definitely some news coverage, most newspapers considered Phelps' breakfast menu more newsworthy. So although it is definitely an interesting story that Phelps was caught doing this, aren't there more important issues that we should be hearing about?

-Summer (a former J1111-er)

nicky-bitchy said...

I think once you become a public figure, anything you do is news. take example/ train wreck britney

Kyle Gauss said...

I'm honestly surprised that this picture is still creating this much buzz. He apologized, his major sponsors said it's not a big deal. The whole talk of criminal charges is ridiculous.

Brittney McLaughlin said...

The way this story was covered seems to treat Michael Phelps as a celebrity type such as Lindsay Lohan or something. NOT as an athlete. There would be scandalous pictures on the front page of people of Lohan using, for example, but since this is the almighty Michael Phelps it is also shocking news. An athlete such as himself, winning so many gold medals, is supposed to do no wrong in a way. Front page news? I don't think it was appropriate. But definitely something to talk about.

Anonymous said...

Charles Barkley, a one-time NBA Superstar and current sports personality for TNT and ESPN, who is known and recognized nationwide, was arrested for a DUI charge near his home in Arizona about a month ago. I barely saw any coverage of that story, exept for on ESPN. Now, Phelps gets snapped smoking some reefer out of the bong and he's a center of nationwide, and maybe even worldwide controversy. Barkley, who was actually arrested, and for a serious charge, didn't face half the scrutiny that Phelps is facing. If Barkley's DUI wasn't that major "news", then why should this be?

-- tim murray

Geo said...

Charles Barkley's DUI charges have their own website:

http://www.charlesbarkleydui.com/

- George (the teacher who is a huge fan of the Round Mound of Rebound)

Patty Giron said...

..... Why do we care, more than half the country smokes weed. ok I dont know about half but a whole lot of people smoke weed. SO WHAT. its news because he was covered fanatically for so long and he's this God-like figure.. I think thats it.. Americans love heroes and if they fuck up it makes us look bad and who else do we have to look up to now.. so scary.

Ahna said...

I think that this piece was intended to smear the name of Michael Phelps and while there are a lot of conservative mothers and anti-drug activists making a whole bunch of hoopla about it, most people probably don't care. In fact, if anything it might help out the legalization effort. If Michael Phelps, a multiple gold medal winner, can smoke pot and still swim the way he does, maybe this will open up some people's eyes about what marijuana actually does to affect people's health, not a whole lot. So in conclusion, I would say that this is not really news worthy, however I think it may have a positive outcome.

Anonymous said...

Right on!

Anonymous said...

I believe this is considered because it fits several of the news criterai. This article is a human interest piece, and is very prominent piece for him being a celebrity. I would consider this piece news for these reasons and the fact that olympic athletes, especially Phelps, are widely know and looked up to by young kids and other athletes. I don't think that Phelps would be somebody to look up to.
Michael Schlotthauer

Anonymous said...

I say, who cares. It feels like stalking a "celebrities" life. Rather than getting a life of your own, you must read about others? This is not news, and its not important. No one needs to know this information , ever.

Greg Trainor said...

Of course it's news, we're all talking about it aren't we? There's fifteen comments of people arguing on here. He's a national hero, a celebrity, and absolutely someone to look up to. What he did was incredible and I'm willing to bet no one in this entire class will ever work so hard at anything, AND he smokes weed! He apologized for press purposes but he's clearly not and shouldn't be.

The American icon/hero/athlete/celebrity Michael Phelps made a fool of the anti-drug industry. That's news.

Greg Trainor said...

Of course it's news, we're all talking about it aren't we? There's fifteen comments of people arguing on here. He's a national hero, a celebrity, and absolutely someone to look up to. What he did was incredible and I'm willing to bet no one in this entire class will ever work so hard at anything, AND he smokes weed! He apologized for press purposes but he's clearly not and shouldn't be.

The American icon/hero/athlete/celebrity Michael Phelps made a fool of the anti-drug industry. That's news.

Ashley said...

Michael Phelps smoking pot is definitely news. Anything Michael Phelps, or anyone who is a public figure, does is news. He is a prominent person (he has 14 Olympic golds, for God's sake) which satisfies at least one piece of the "newsworthiness criteria" taught in class.

Secondly, his actions are obviously causing controversy, one more thing making this story newsworthy. Many people are upset with this American hero and his actions. One former fan even commented on the 'News of The World' story saying, "ok well yeah hes not my hero anymore because he did this but these are old photos so its not like he does it anymore." The photo is causing so much controversy that he is even losing fans.

Then there is the other side of the controversy, those who think it's just weed and it's not a big deal. If it's not newsworthy and something people don't even care about, then why defend his actions? Point is, this photo is stirring up quite a lot of controversy for something that may not be consider newsworthy.

In addition to controversy, it's obviously having a huge impact on the public. I mean, if not, would we even be discussing it? Would he be losing fans? Would those who don't think it's a big deal be talking about it? Everything about this story and the photo is news, from the first bong hit to his apology.

Sabrina Rehman said...

I def think that this is news. Michael Phelps is an Olympic Gold Medalist, and the fact that he is doing this is a big deal because athletes can get their medals taken away for doing stuff like this!!! I think that because of all of the publicity he has gotten since last year has def gotten to his head, and it's making him think that he can get away with doing whatever he feels like!!! His admitting to the fact that he did drugs just goes to show that he may have realized the repurcussions of letting fame get to his head.

Anonymous said...

It should not be news. What he does in his personal life is nobody else's business. If he can win all those metals and still manage to smoke weed, we should be congratulating him. Just another reason he is invincible.

benjamin toledano said...

if magazines like the national inquirer have what is considered news; then this is for sure news.
to me, news is something that even if only one person would find it interesting, then it still would be called news. for example; to me i dont realy care about a snowstorm in alaska, but to someone in alaska it is important, so it is considered news.
does that make sense?

Alexander Narita said...

I think that this is news in the sense of celebrity gossip, but since it is not relevant to the majority of the world it should not be front page news, and advertised as much as it is.

Stephanie Klock said...

Yes this is news. If Britney Spears shaving her head is news, so is this. However, I can't believe the sources used in the article which were probably students who messed up as well. They are likely to have exaggerated just to cause stir in the story. Obviously the picture had to have got out somehow. The drama with the girl he was secretly seeing is pointless. Micael Phelps is the new victim now. Like Chris Crocker said about Spears "Leave Micael Phelps Alone!!"

Christina said...

This IS news because of the shear fact that Michael Phelps is a now widely praised American symbol and icon, who has been caught doing something illegal. The fact that "everyone does it" and people should "let him have some fun" don't matter at this point. He has an image to uphold and this has (as well as it should) tainted it.

However, it's only as much news as the media allows it to be. I agree that it's important and something that people should know about, but not front page news. I'm sure the day this happened and the days following, more "important" things were happening.
Although, in a society as obsessed with our celebrities and athletes as ours is, this is perfect breaking news.

Kelly said...

I think it’s news because Michael Phelps was a kind of American hero in the Olympics. I don't think it would matter as much if he didn't hold that position. It might not be important in the realm of things, but it definitely sells and many people were interested to read about it.

Jamie Hunsberger said...

This does qualify as news, because we have this perception that people who America looks up to should be a certain way, we all have faults and are not the most perfect individuals. Although it seems as a "GOTCHA" type article, it just showcases that even the most famous looked up to stars & celebrities are just the average American.


-Jamie Hunsberger (J1111)
(Can't really speak, because never smoked a day in my life.)

Anonymous said...

This is a newsworthy story, but he should not scrutinized in the media as much as he said. The man has won 14 gold medals, and basically put America on his back as the dominant country in Beijing over the summer. If athletes using drugs is an issue, get angry at Barry Bonds, and the other steroid users. NFL and NBA admittedly smoke weed very often, and people are not up in arms about that.
-Jeff McDevitt

Naila said...

i don't think so it should be a news because all most every one does that in America so it shouldn't be a big deal if he did that. he just won 14 gold medals and he is swim star it does not mean that he should not have fun in personal life so what he does in his personal that's none of any one's business.as a journalist i will not think that this is a news and i will not print that.

Erica said...

I think that in this day and age anybody who is 'famous' that does something illegal with their lives makes it into the news. I think that there is so much more out in the world that would qualify as "news" but people like to see famous people in the news, as said earlier is a human interest piece. People like to read or watch about people they can relate to.
I think that the news blew it out of proportion, and everybody (for the most part) has smoked a little illegal substance in their life and they should be allowed to get away with it. ITs not as if it makes him a better swimmer or anything, if anything it slows the guy down. What he choose's to do in his off season is up to him, no need to exploit the guy.
How did they get that picture anyway? was he like "He photo man, i'm about to smoke a bong, want to take me picture and post it all over the internet, show people i too am a real person?" really. let him do what he wants.

Amara Kamara said...

All I have to say is, from making over 100 mills to about 80 mills. WOW!!!

Anonymous said...

Of course it's newsworthy! It's timely, it has impact, proximity, and the attractive element of CONTROVERSY! If that doesn't make it newsworthy, what does?
Alessandra

Jenny A said...

I suppose it is news worthy because it falls under some of the criteria, however i think its more news worthy just because its him. I wont read about this article because who cares if he smoked weed. hes still amazing so let him smoke if he wants to smoke. the only thing that i think would be news worthy is if he hurt someone while under the influence.

Joshua Rultenberg said...

I think this story is going to come back and bite the American people in the ass. USA Swimming decided to suspend Phelps for 3 months. The man just won a record 8 gold medals for you and this is how you repay him? I bet he will think twice before suiting up for the US again. He already is now second thinking the next upcoming olympics in 4 years. Great job US. They really screwed this up. Whats to stop him from gaining dual citizenship with another country like where his parents are from and competing against the US!? Nothing but TIME!!!!!!!