Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Should Journalists Report What Bloggers Write?

AN OBSCURE BLOG recently ran a story about one of the Flyers sleeping with the wife of a teammate, thus explaining the tensions in the locker room and the poor start to the season the team suffered.

The rumor was picked up by other websites and message boards despite none of the websites ever speaking to the players or the team.

After ten days of floating in cyberspace, the Philadelphia Inquirer followed up on the story. The Inquirer spoke to the players and team representatives, all of whom denied the rumor. The reporter also tracked down the blogger, a Temple University student.

Should the Inquirer have even bothered with the rumor? By publishing a follow-up to the blog post, aren't they only perpetuating a tale that everyone involved has denied? Isn't the Inquirer only legitimizing the blog and it's rumor?


FoodFitnessFreshair said...

If the Inquirer were to report about it, they should mention the blog only after first speaking with the team and finding legitimate sources. However, I'm all for blogs! You just can't always trust their credibility..

DAN said...

I don't think it's enough for the blogger to simply say "I'm sorry" and I don't believe his excuse that he "didn't think anyone read my site anyway". You don't make a blog, school project or not, that you don't expect people to read, and you can't be surprised when they DO read them and interpret and spread the information you put on them. It was irresponsible to try to hide behind words like "bizzare rumor" and "if this is true", and it obviously didn't work, and if the Flyers pursue legal action it will be expensive as well. I hope everyone reads this and absorbs it and realizes that you don't need to have 1 million hits per month to spark up a controversy wild-fire that will be impossible to put out, and will probably burn down your budding reputation along with it. And, even if the rumors ARE true, Jerry said so himself that he didn't witness it and he was going only on a "credible source" that he would not name. This just goes to show how bogus the information we crave to consume is. Where was he in class when we discussed defamation and the consequences that arise from it? I don't think Jerry did this to make a name for himself, rather I think he was very careless and ignorant to the impact that one person can INDIRECTLY have on the lives of others. Regardless of the outcome of this, I think it is a valuable lesson to other students who are or will be in Jerry's shoes soon to utilize our wonderful freedom of speech but not misuse it.

What do you think Geo? Do you think the blogger was in the right for bringing this into the light, even without adequate proof? And if the answer is no, that he was in the wrong, what about if in 2 weeks we find out that the players wife WAS having an affair? Then was he in the right??

Journalism inspires, confuses, enrages and enlightens me more every single day.

Geo said...

Somewhere along the way, I was told that journalism is a discipline of verification. Wise words.

Here's my thinking: when you hear a rumor, the responsible thing is to investigate whether it is true. And just because people deny something does not make it false. If you trust your original source, you can run the story despite the denials of those involved.

But you need to hear from the people implicated/ involved in the story. They have a right to address the situation. Without them in the story, I think the story is incomplete.

Does it change things if the blog's rumor proves to be true? Not in my opinion. Running the rumor without doing the legwork is just plain lazy. Who knows ... he could have confronted the players, they might have admitted it, and he could have had a massive, legitimate scoop.

Stranger things have happened.

- George
(the teacher who knows his principles of journalism)