What’s being missed in the media/Te’o story

Former Newsday editor/critic: One thing nobody seems to mention in excoriating early media acceptance of the Manti Te’o girlfriend tale — nobody checked deep enough, blah blah blah (Howard Kurtz just let loose on CNN) — is that many reporters are no longer given *time* to report. For print (or whatever you want to call today’s newspaper/magazine biz), they’re too busy blogging, Tweeting, dashing out “breaking news” alerts/writethrus, and otherwise upping online page views with right-now quick takes. For TV, they’re too busy “going live” from “location” to actually go out and, you know, find out anything, much less make an effort to confirm it. Many if not most reporters abhor this, but going along is the way they keep their jobs. And we all know how few of those are left.More.

I suspect there are a great many journalists who would agree with this. They’re ‘slingin’ hash.’



The media’s Te’ogate

* Tom Rosenstiel on the Manti Te’o saga: “The lesson here is ‘look inside the freezer.’ Journalists shouldn’t be taking [a source's] word if there is some way to verify it for themselves.” (washingtonpost.com)

* Josh Levin: Sportswriters didn’t catch on to Te’o’s phony relationship because they didn’t care to look into it. (slate.com) | Today’s South Bend Tribune front page.

* Outsports writer: Everyone’s asking me if Te’o is gay. (outsports.com) | Lots of Twitter speculation, too.

* Deadspin’s Tim Burke discusses the story with a SiriusXM sports talker. (soundcloud.com) – (Source for links)

“Why should I care what a craven, slipshod outfit like the Boston Globe thinks of my ‘journalistic standards’?” (Source)

• The original bizarre story of the football player’s nonexistent dead girlfriend on Deadspin by Jack Dickey and Timothy Burke.
• “I can tell you we’re as baffled as anybody,” said a South Bend Tribune staffer when Poynter phoned Wednesday evening. “If this story was a cruel hoax, as the University of Notre Dame has now indicated, we indeed were taken in, as were many others, including officials of the Notre Dame football program,” Tribune Executive Editor Tim Harman said in a statement.
• “You can learn a lot about what happened by looking at the contradictions between other journalists’ stories,” Burke tells Poynter’s Mallary Tenore. “That was what really tipped us off, after all, that something was weird here. Major news organizations disagreed on the date of a person’s death by up to four days.”
• The South Bend Tribune didn’t delete its old Te’o stories: It yanked reporter Eric Hansen’s Oct. 12 article from the paid archives so that it could be more readily accesible, and it collected its other previously published content on the hoax here. (more…)

Deadspin’s widely circulated report on Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s began with a tip. Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey got an anonymous email last week saying: “Hey, you know, something is fishy about the Te’o girlfriend story, you should check it out.” Burke told Anderson Cooper:

Deadspin’s Burke: Te’o story shows ‘diminished role’ of investigative journalism

Notre Dame football player Te’o girlfriend hoax ‘became truth through the media”

The fact is every media outlet failed to confirm the stories they sold as inspirational – the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, ESPN, CBS, and many more all got caught short.

UPDATE: Statement from South Bend Tribune executive editor Tim Harmon:

At The Tribune, we are as stunned by these revelations as everyone else.  Indeed, this season we reported the story of this fake girlfriend and her death as details were given to us by Te’o, members of his family and his coaches at Notre Dame.  We’re still trying to put together stories that will be posted later tonight and printed in Thursday’s paper that will answer some, but not all, of the questions about today’s astonishing story. (Source)