Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Should This Be An ESPN NASCAR Story?


There certainly is a very big difference between what ESPN's NASCAR reporters post on ESPN.com as "stories" and what other NASCAR writers choose to publish as news.

This is David Newton's latest offering, which you will be hearing more about on NASCAR Now and NASCAR Countdown this week. The key words in the article are "sources" and "speculation."

When ESPN first stepped into NASCAR back in 2007, the new NASCAR writers and reporters were a combination of television veterans and print journalists appearing on TV for the first time. It was a good mix that kept NASCAR Now somewhat viable despite the poor hosts and awful features.

This season, The Daly Planet has already written several stories about the "crew" of David Newton and Terry Blount. It seems that when gossip, innuendo or speculation are going to be the central theme of a story, these two are enlisted to present it.

This column from February talked about another big story put on-the-air by NASCAR Now despite the fact it contained no shred of truth and was ultimately denied by top officials from the International Speedway Corp. as ridiculous.

Regardless of the reporter involved, ESPN presents the various media companies owned by the corporation as being upright and proper. The suits and ties on NASCAR Now seven days a week might give fans a hint of just how proper.

This season, ESPN's NASCAR reporters flow seamlessly through the infrastructure of ESPN like never before. NASCAR Now, ESPNEWS, SportsCenter and First Take are ESPN TV outlets that may feature the NASCAR reporters at any time.

Over in Internet land, both ESPN.com and Jayski.com have text, audio and video links posted to direct NASCAR fans to the most up-to-date "content." Therein lies the problem. The "content machine" needs to eat a big meal every single day.

Have you noticed how these murky ESPN stories often appear on a Tuesday or Wednesday? Are you puzzled by how this information has magically appeared on a slow news day for both NASCAR Now and ESPN.com?

Suddenly, in the middle of the week, a controversial story with no sources and loaded with nothing more than innuendo is fed to TV, audio and Internet outlets for distribution. What an amazing coincidence.

Newton's story has already gone viral all over the place. Blogs, other websites, forums and chat rooms are all talking about the fact that "ESPN said" Tony is shopping for sponsors and leaving Gibbs. My only question is, how fair is this to the people involved?

If there is no comment from Gibbs, none from the Haas-CNC team, none from the sponsors and only sly suggestions from the media-savvy Stewart...is this a national news story for ESPN.com, NASCAR Now and the Internet world?

What is your opinion on whether ESPN is reporting the news or creating it where NASCAR is concerned this season? Last year, the clashes between Stewart and ESPN reporter David Amber were memorable. This year, Amber is back to stick-and-ball land, but what really has changed?

Creating "content" to feed the machine on a slow Wednesday for NASCAR news is not what ESPN and its award-winning news division are normally about. This "news story" is now all over the Internet as fact.

As a NASCAR fan who took the time to check the Internet or perhaps NASCAR Now for news, were you really served by ESPN and David Newton reporting speculation and using unnamed sources?

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your opinion about this topic.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everybody has been talking about this story, on other sites and on the radio. Geoff Smith from Roush said point blank there may be a holdup with Biffle's sponsor because Tony Stewart is in play and the sponsor may be looking at Tony before finalizing the deal at Roush. He said that earlier in the week, perhaps Monday. So it's not even new from ESPN and one of the rival team executives talked about it too. No big deal at all ESPN reported it.

As far as the comment "The "content machine" needs to eat a big meal every single day."

I hate to say it, but I think the same thing is going on at this blog. This doesn't seem worth a column, but it's put out there anyway, just to have something out there on a slow day.

Anonymous said...

ESPN.com also said this weekend Mark Martin will take the 5 car from Casey Mears, and that article, with unnamed sources, was written by both David Newton and Marty Smith, who confirmed he believes it to be true again in his Q&A today. It was repeated on TNT and SPEED and on other sites Sunday and Monday. Hendrick, Mears and Martin aren't talking but Smith and Newton put that article out there Sunday. I don't see the difference in fairness to them to fairness to Stewart. It's Silly Season. Last year there were plenty of inaccurate reports with sources and speculation, and not always from Blount and Newton. Sometimes they were from Marty, who supposedly always had the exclusives about Dale Jr's sponsor, car number, team, last year before the correct facts were announced by Jr and Hendrick.

alex said...

Maybe Tony's hiring Dale Jr. to drive the #18 VISA car. Or, it could just be another unfounded rumor. You have to take all of these things with a grain of salt until something "official" comes out.

Anonymous said...

If there is no comment from Gibbs, none from the Haas-CNC team, none from the sponsors and only sly suggestions from the media-savvy Stewart...is this a national news story for ESPN.com, NASCAR Now and the Internet world?
posted by Daly Planet Editor at 9:17 PM on Jun 25, 2008


Sure it's a story. What, do you expect every reporter to wait around twiddling their thumbs until he/she gets an email inviting them to a 'media opportunity' addressing a driver change or sponsor change in the garage? That's not the way it works and it would be boring if it did!

From what I've seen, lots of stories with unnamed sources which are denied at first end up being correct. Go over and look at old Jayski items, in 'Update 2' people will be denying stuff all over the place, and by 'Update 4' it's true.

Have you noticed how these murky ESPN stories often appear on a Tuesday or Wednesday? Are you puzzled by how this information has magically appeared on a slow news day for both NASCAR Now and ESPN.com?

Couldn't it be stories come out on Tuesday and Wednesday because those aren't travel days for reporters? They can spend the day at work writing new stories. Mondays are for writing about yesterday's race and Thursdays are for writing about the next weekend's race, based on what I usually see.

Anonymous said...

Just because they don't name sources doesn't mean they don't have sources. They do have sources, but those sources have chosen to remain anonymous, probably to protect their jobs since Tony is probably contractually obligated not to talk to another sponsor while under contract with Home Depot.

The only surprise in this non-story is that Tony as an owner would hire a no-talent like Ryan Newman. The guy isn't going to make the chase and guess what - it isn't Penske's fault.

alex said...

That no-talent sure can qualify a car well. And I think he won a race in February, not sure which one. Maybe you could remind me?

bevo said...

I think this is a very interesting post and a good subject for discussion.

I don't have a problem with the meat of the ESPN story. Face it, if the only things that were written about in NASCAR were stories where the parties went on the record about something then you would just publish press releases. Reporters would be nothing but stenographers. The purpose of a reporter in an ideal world is to take facts and place them in context.

The problem for me in this case is unnamed sources. That should only be used as a last resort for a truly important story that the public must know about. Drivers switching teams and possible sponsor moves do not even remotely fall into that class.

The other issue here is the reputation that a reporter builds. If he or she has a track record of getting the story right then I will have much more faith in the accuracy of their story citing unnamed sources. Otherwise I see it as just lazy reporting - or worse - spreading misinformation at the behest of a party with a stake in the outcome. Sadly I think the vast majority of these types of stories are done as a favor for a driver or owner, reporting in NASCAR tends to be very incestuous.

Anonymous said...

To JD - You seem to be criticizing ESPN and/or some of its reporters. I suggest you go back and review the remarks you made in response to reader comments on your column titled "NASCAR Lawsuit In The Media - Updated: First Interview by Grant". Commenter "Red" was critical of some of the reporters on that story and suggested they failed to meet the standards of journalism. You responded by telling him that he was mistaken and that television reporters were not expected to follow the old standards. Red later expressed more doubts and solicited opinions of others. I responded as "Old time fan" and told him to keep his standards high, to expect truth, honesty and integrity. You never responded directly to my comments, but you later responded in a general manner. You indicated in a polite and respectful manner that Red and I were living in an ideal but naive world which had been made obsolete by the internet.

Specifically, you wrote "Despite the theory of journalism, the Internet changed that permanently and made speed more important than truth."

Those are your words, not mine. So as long as ESPN got the story out before anyone else, they met your standards. If the story turns out to be totally untrue, it really doesn't matter. Because as you said, speed is more important than truth.

In this world, you reap what you sow. Why would you expect anything different?

Old time fan

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey guys,

Think about the point I was trying to make, which most of you did a great job in totally avoiding.

The issue is not the reporter, but the fact that this is not Sirius or an Internet blog like this one. It is not a fan forum or a chat room. This is ESPN.

As you look at the other shows of NASCAR Now and the other posts on the ESPN.com NASCAR page, they work to separate news from rumors.

This story was written as fact, and has been passed around the media world. Many of you used the info from this story in your posts.

The issue is not putting this type of content out, it is putting it out labeled as news on the biggest sports website in the world.

No one is being critical, just raising the point and asking for your comments. If this information is rumor and speculation, shouldn't it be labeled as such?

Those of us who went to Journalism school got a set of rules about what is news and what is editorial content. My question is, do you think ESPN is blurring the lines with stories like this that just happen to appear mid-week?

JD

Anonymous said...

Those of us who went to Journalism school got a set of rules about what is news and what is editorial content.

I did, and I was never told not to use anonymous sources, nor was I told that using them makes a story an editorial.

Remember, he source is not anonymous to Newton. He knows with whom he spoke, and it is up to us to decide whether we trust his judgment that the person is credible.

This story was not, as you keep implying, written "by ESPN," it was written by a reporter with a reputation in the business.

Ritchie said...

I never went to journalism school and that may explain why I get so confused by the influx of information I suddenly have about this sport.

I agree that I see NASCAR Now as a 30 minute news program and if they continue to broadcast rumors as certified facts it will hurt the credibility of the program. That would certainly be a bad thing. However, they still seem like the best broadcast option for facts.

However, the battle for control of information between the teams, drivers, and the media is overwhelming as a fan.

I get the "vanilla" press releases from the teams and drivers, I get the sensationalized viewpoint of some reporters on NN, I get the "sermons" from the current and ex-drivers that show up on SPEED telling me everybody else except them is a liar. Then I have the print media telling me that the broadcast media are sensationalist "TMZ" types who hype everything regardless of whether or not it is true. Then there is the internet and podcasts, which with there unique problems and lack of controls.

It would be nice if I could be sure everything being reported was true. I'm just not sure that anybody really knows what the truth is.

I certainly don't; I'm as confused as ever.

Anonymous said...

Once again (how many times has this occurred?), if we don't agree with John Daly, we are "missing the point."

Never mind there have been some great opinions posted here which simply don't coincide with your opinion or mine.

No one is being critical, just raising the point and asking for your comments.

Yes, you are being critical. You're criticizing David Newton and Terry Blount by stating "This season, The Daly Planet has already written several stories about the "crew" of David Newton and Terry Blount. It seems that when gossip, innuendo or speculation are going to be the central theme of a story, these two are enlisted to present it."

In case you hadn't noticed, Newton and Blount rarely appear on NASCAR Now anymore. It's the Marty Smith Show with cameos by Angelique Chengelis (which is fine with me, both are excellent). So I fail to understand why they continue to fall under your critical eye when they've mostly gone back to what they do best: write good stories for the website - which may or may not be mentioned on NASCAR Now. And as pointed out above, Smith (and Chengelis) also write website stories with anonymous sources; Marty had a byline with multiple anonymous sources earlier this week along with Newton (Mears being let go from Hendrick) and Marty also reported it in a TV segment. It did not appear mid-week, it appeared before the race last Sunday.

Suddenly, in the middle of the week, a controversial story with no sources and loaded with nothing more than innuendo is fed to TV, audio and Internet outlets for distribution. What an amazing coincidence.

Pot, meet kettle. Isn't that what you're doing here? Honestly, if you don't have anything to blog about, I'd rather see a blog entry examining why the NASCAR partners passively continue to allow drivers to wear sunglasses in interviews with their on-air staff. (The count during five Bestwick interviews at Fenway yesterday: Kenseth, Biffle, McMurray, sunglasses on; Ragan and Edwards, who are obviously from the media-trained set of drivers, sunglasses off.) I'd sincerely like to hear the responses from your NASCAR network contacts about the "I insist on wearing sunglasses whenever I'm on TV" situation, because it's getting out of hand.

Signed,
Yet another J-school grad

Anonymous said...

Once again (how many times has this occurred?), if we don't agree with John Daly, we are "missing the point."

Exactly.

Worth noting is that fact that, if readers "miss your point," it is your fault as a writer, not theirs.

Anonymous said...

If this information is rumor and speculation, shouldn't it be labeled as such?


Sure.

But it isn't.

If you tell me, "I'm going to discontinue writing this blog. But don't use my name," and I write a story saying, "A source who asked not to be identified said..." that is NOT rumor or speculation. I didn't hear it from Jayski (the man), which would a a 'rumor,' or guess at it, which would be 'speculation.' You told me, and asked that I not use your name.

Daly Planet Editor said...

So, now that the name calling is over, what is your opinion of the issue?

Do you believe that Newton is saying what he knows and quoting anonymous sources or just creating some mid-week content?

JD

john said...

it maybe innuendo but apparently Stewart is no longer doing any 'promo' shoots with Home Depot

Anonymous said...

JD- I never got within a mile of a journalism class. However, I did graduate from the engineering college of a major university. For four years, I never took an exam that was monitored. For every exam, I had to write out and sign the honor pledge, or the exam would not be graded. I spent a career in the military where honor and integrity were more than academic concepts. I may not know journalism, but I know integrity and professionalism when I see them.

As an ESPN alumnus,I think you are trying to draw a fine line that is lost on the general public. To quote another of your lines from the "NASCAR Lawsuit .... Grant" response to comments, you said, "With newspapers effectively wiped off the plant earth, the information we gets comes from Internet, TV and radio." At another point, you wrote "Right now, the Internet wags the tail of the cable TV news networks." In context, you seemed to be saying that journalistic ethics were a quaint notion that were of interest only to such relics as the Washington Post and New York Times. The logical conclusion is that the world of journalism had descended to the standards of the Drudge report. In one of your responses to Red, you said that any TV reporter who failed to use the new standards would be fired.

The last time I checked, ESPN is perceived as a television organization. They also operate their own home web site and Jayski. And as you stated, the Internet wags the dog.

You have praised ESPN this year for the way their reporters move from venue to venue within the company. I take no position on the practice, but it does all but eliminate any distinctions you or ESPN might like to draw between their different operations.

As individuals and as corporations, we are judged by the company we keep. It is not realistic to suggest that some ESPN reporters can maintain high class reputations when they appear regularly in low class surroundings.

These efforts may be of interest to ESPN insiders or journalism classes, but they are lost on the general public. Whether you were a willing participant or drawn along against your will, the results are the same. The blurring of all lines is the inevitable result of the ethics adopted by dogpile electronic journalism.

Old time fan

Lisa Hogan said...

Well, JD, the anons came out of the woodwork on this one! Always good for a few laughs. :)

I only go to ESPN.com to read Marty’s door-to-door column. I go to Jayski to catch up on silly-season rumors.

For some reporters, the line between rumor and fact has been a blur for some time. I guess the person who signs the paycheck decides what they want from the reporters.

Just my opinion: I don’t care whether a driver wears sunglasses or not during an interview. If I watch an interview, it is because I have an interest in what that driver has to say. They can wear sunglasses and clown makeup and it would be fine with me. :)

JD, I hope you had a great vacation and I look forward to the weekend activity here.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
So, now that the name calling is over, what is your opinion of the issue?

Do you believe that Newton is saying what he knows and quoting anonymous sources or just creating some mid-week content?

JD

June 26, 2008 10:55 AM

I quote from Logan's Run: "The question has been ANSWERED."

If you can't see the thoughts relating specifically to your questions already expressed in the various comments, well...

bevo said...

Do you believe that Newton is saying what he knows and quoting anonymous sources or just creating some mid-week content?

I still go with my observation. Look at his previous stories where he uses unnamed sources. Did the stories prove to be true?

One thing I would keep front and center though if I were at ESPN covering the Stewart story - it's not exactly a secret the contempt he holds for them. Look out for misdirection with the end game being a story that opens ESPN to massive ridicule. The people surrounding Stewart are very loyal, I doubt any of them would be whispering in a reporter's ear unless he told them to.

Anonymous said...

JD - To respond directly to your post at 10:55 - Your fundamental question is irrelevant to me. I don't care. If your world of journalism values speed over truth, it just doesn't matter. Stories that are essentially making predictions will be revealed to be true or false by the events when they occur.

ESPN is a business. The people who run it are trying to make a profit in a competitive world. I expect them to sometimes engage in practices that are profit-driven rather than ethics-driven. I expect the same for all of ABC/Disney/ESPN and other similar organizations.

I don't believe I have engaged in name-calling. I have expressed disapproval of the ethics you have attributed to electronic journalism. I have also used your own writing to illustrate my points. If you are offended by either of those, you need to develop a thicker skin or find a new line of work.

Old time fan

Anonymous said...

Re: sunglasses. I think JD has said before ESPN had a general policy against athletes or whoever wearing sunglasses on camera. Maybe the policy has changed. I'm not a fan of sunglass wearing on television myself. KyBusch put his on after he already started answering questions in his VL interview at Sonoma, which I found a little distracting.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe that Newton is saying what he knows and quoting anonymous sources or just creating some mid-week content?

Asked and answered.

What's the problem, here, JD?

dannyboy said...

Interesting discussion, but I'm thinking it's mostly of the "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" variety.

To me, anything that shows up in any media is of questionable authenticity. (Remember Jayson Blair? Mary Mapes? Exploding GM pickup gas tanks?)

Therefore, whether it is on ESPN Sports Center, Jayski, DRUDGE, 60 Minutes or the NY Times doesn't matter a whit.

They've all been guilty of offering unattributed rumors as newsworthy. And last time I looked, they're all profitable.

Dannyboy said...

Re: my post above - "they're all profitable"

Well maybe except the NY Times...

Anonymous said...

They've all been guilty of offering unattributed rumors as newsworthy. And last time I looked, they're all profitable.

You didn't come close to showing evidence that every news organization does what you claim. You used three examples, one of which is twenty years old.

That's like grabbing the names of Aaron Fike and Shane Hmiel and saying, "See, they all use illegal drugs."

Just ain't true.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Old time fan,

About your quote "ESPN is a business. The people who run it are trying to make a profit in a competitive world. I expect them to sometimes engage in practices that are profit-driven rather than ethics-driven. I expect the same for all of ABC/Disney/ESPN and other similar organizations."

Does that mean you believe that truth is sacrificed for profit where ESPN is concerned?

JD

LuckyForward said...

The point here is the "e" word: ethics!

Is it OK to write anything as long as it makes a profit -whether what you write is true or not?

Good writing requires proof of who said what and documentation. "Speculation from unnamed sources is NOT journalism."

mrnturn1 said...

"... this is not Sirius or an Internet blog like this one. It is not a fan forum or a chat room. This is ESPN."

Wow, can't say I'm feeling the love right now, JD.

SophiaZ123 said...

I have long been confused about blurry lines of news/rumors/facts years ago. I just like to try and read all sides of a story.

Not always easy with NASCAR who likes to run their deal with an IRON fist. and those that go against it might get media passes yanked. Thus makes this fan more confused.

I read the story last week somewhere about Zippy hinting Stewart had made up his mind but Zippy said he had no clue about moving on, that Zippy "appeared" to be staying with JGR if Tony moved on. He is VERY LOYAL to Tony and I found it shocking he would put out such an interview without Tony's blessing.

As far as sunglasses on interviews.

HATE THEM. EVERYBODY is doing it. Last week even Dale Jr KEPT THEM on during an interview. First time I had seen that boy do that and was disappointed. It's just plain rude. If I can't see the eyes, I am annoyed. Especially since tv is a VISUAL MEDIUM! Hello.

If they are doing a radio interview, who cares.

:-)

Anonymous said...

To JD - Regarding your 1:41 post.

In a word, the answer is "Yes".

Don't take it personally. That's my view of the electronic media as a whole, and I don't make an exception for ESPN.

You will recall that Red and I were the ones saying that television reporters were not living up to high standards of journalistic ethics. We wanted adherence to the higher traditional standards. You were the one who said that those days were gone forever and that speed was valued above truth.

I believe that electronic news organizations as well as at least some individual reporters have flexible standards depending on the need for material that will catch the audience's attention. I believe that this makes them vulnerable to people who will use the media for their own purposes. People within NASCAR (the sport, not the sanctioning organization) seem to be good at planting stories for their own benefit or amusement.

In a perfect world, reporters and editors in any media would function as gatekeepers for the truth. Mistakes would be seldom, and they would be cause for attention within and outside the media community.

But that's not the way things are according to you. The value of truth has been lowered below that of speed. And once you have lowered the value of truth, how far down does it go? What else has also become more important? Economics? Egos? The desire for attention? Nobody seems to pay a price for getting things wrong, so the practitioners with lower standards have no incentive to change their ways.

I admire an individual who works within journalism and tries to adhere to the old higher standards. But as I have said before, we are often judged by the company we keep. The electronic profession has lowered its standards so far that I have no faith that material I read or hear is truthful. It all goes into one big pile of material under the heading "stuff I have heard". I then wait for time and events to sort out the truth from the speculation and fiction.

I am not now a member of the journalistic profession nor have I ever been. I consider myself an interested observer from the general public. In my view, any effort to reclaim professional respect is a lost cause for the electronic branch of the profession as a whole. Any individual or niche organization that attempts to claim a reputation for integrity is facing a severely uphill climb.

The time for the electronic media to establish a strong positive reputation has long since passed. As my father would have said, the horse has already left the barn.

Old time fan

Tracy said...

LuckyForward said...


"Is it OK to write anything as long as it makes a profit -whether what you write is true or not?"

You gave me a great laugh, Lucky. Yeah, if it's fiction, LOL. And it better make a profit or you're toast.

And who on earth besides me has read LOGAN'S RUN??? I'm impresssed someone else would admit to being over 30yo.

Isn't it amazing that Tony Stewart is at the heart of this debate? He, who hates the press?

Anonymous said...

ESPN and any legitimate media outlet ought to be abiding by generally accepted journalistic standards. The problem is figuring out what those are and who is legitimate, both of which the Internet, conventional and tabloid journalism have blurred considerably over the years (well, since media was invented, I guess.) I don't think we can really decide that in comments on a blog. There is no 'media police' except for the general public, which quite honestly, I believe makes very poor choices based on what I see of ratings, etc. So I try to get multiple objective sources for news rather than one commentary linked at 14 places (and some networks are notorious for inserting much editorializing into their 'facts'). (As is happens, I did take several media courses in school.) My first thought is always of the source. One of the issues with electronic journalism is obviously the immediacy and the lack of time to check facts so you can go to press before you get 'scooped'. That leads to a good deal of garbage getting released. Sometimes those turn into rumors that go around the Internet and seem to have a life of their own; people see it and just swallow it whole.

But as far as racing coverage specifically, personally, I want to see that rumors are treated in a way that 'unnamed sources', if used, are mentioned prominently and the fact that no statement has come forth from the team involved ought to be stressed. I want to know that there is no confirmation and they're getting this from someone who isn't willing to come foward publicly--that way, I can decide if I want to think it sounds believeable or not. I am a 26 fan, and when that reporter put forth as 'fact' that he was leaving the team--well, it turned out to be not true, as has happened so far (and McMurray says he spent an *hour* on the phone discussing it with the print reporter--I took that to mean he wasn't satisfied with the explanation.) So it isn't just the Internet that pushes the rumors. At least when I read Jayski, I *know* they're only in the rumor stage, and a number turn out to be not true (and many more true). On the other hand, I do believe that teams, agents, owners and others are very likely (like certain government officials) *purposefully* leaking information both true and untrue to further their own interests, since teams compete both for personnel and sponsors. It's an ugly business, and it would be hard for *any* reporter to know who is telling them the truth. Once burned, twice shy, but if you use others to funnel your leaks, there might be an unending supply of helpers; when one is used up, you can move on. I guess I have become rather cynical about this. Yes, there are rumors in other sports, but they tend to either come through quickly. A trade rumor pops up and two days later it's a done deal (or totally denied). In racing, the negotiations tend to drag on and on. Like Ritchie, I end up more confused than ever. But I think you just have to take all this stuff with a grain of salt, and not believe everything you see/read.

Jo said...

Entertainment
Sports
Programing
Network

No - I do not believe everything ESPN "reports" or the "breaking news " hype either.

I do believe certain reporters who have built up credibility with stories w/ un named sources being true - it takes along time.

I have no problem with unnamed sources - remember "Deep Throat"?

I just check around and wait and see what pans out & what doesn't.
Its silly season, and most of it is well, silly.

I do wish that it was more accurate,but, hey, journalism standards went down the tubes with Dan Rather & the manufactured document about Pres. Bush.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of you are confused about anonymous sources.

First of all, whoever said journalism school told you not to use unnamed sources is missing the point: that is not a blanket rule. In fact, it isn't even a very followed rule. Pick up the NYTimes any day of the week and I guarantee three of the top five stories will rely on unnamed sources.

Second, an anonymous source isn't anonymous as in they called in and left an anonymous voice mail on the reporter's machine and now ESPN is reporting it... no, the reporter DOES know who the anonymous source is, and there is an editorial process by which the editors at ESPN must either vet the story and sources or else it won't run. The anonymous source may be anonymous for a variety of reasons, but it would seem pretty clear in this case that no one in Tony Stewart's camp is legally allowed to be courting sponsors for another team. That would be wholly and absolutely prohibited under ANY deal Home Depot would have with Tony. So obviously whoever it is can't risk the million-dollar breach of contract suit and they ask not to be named.

And finally, whoever said Ryan Newman sure can qualify a car - I have two words for you: Joe Nemechek. Make as many poles as you want, Ryan Newman - but you were pushed to victory at Daytona when the 20 car made a boneheaded move and you don't look like you'll be getting close to victory lane any other time soon. Newman sucks at everything except saying "Alltel Dodge" every sentence.

T

Anonymous said...

Jo, at that point many other networks had already made worse errors. Very late in the game.

And T--not a Newman fan here, but if that were true, why haven't ANY of Penske's racers been in top form? (For that matter, um, when was the Captain's last championship?) The entire organization has its problems, like many others.

Anonymous said...

"Speculation from unnamed sources is NOT journalism."

But you don't know the sources in the story are speculating. They could know very well exactly what's happening.

Anonymous said...

I do wish that it was more accurate,but, hey, journalism standards went down the tubes with Dan Rather & the manufactured document about Pres. Bush.

Again, nonsense.

What if I said "working honestly to win went down the tubes with Carl Edwards' crew messing with the oil tank cover?"

Does that mean every team is cheating? No.

Same deal.

Newracefan said...

WOW JD did you realize what a hornets nest you were shaking when you posted this one?
My opinion is this
1. I trust Marty Smith, he says this is what I'm hearing, this is what I think. I take it as rumor based on information from people that very well could know and opinion from a guy who has an inside track. I went back to look at a few of his pieces he uses words like might and could and then explains why he thinks that.
2. I don't trust Newton and Blount. They don't make it sound like it's all rumor and opinion but more like it's information from really important people that know the truth and it's a fact.

Maybe it's just a difference in the way they write.

Now on to the original concept. I'm OK with it being on NN if it's presented as here's the latest rumor and closed with what ever true facts are available like Tony isn't saying anything. This allows me to draw my own conclusion. It's fine on ESPN.com or where ever again if it's labeled as rumor, scuttlebutt, whatever not this is a fact.

Anonymous said...

Re: sunglasses - The drivers wear them during the interviews because they're getting PAID to wear them by the sunglasses' manufacturer ... It's just another sponsor ... Yes, it's tacky & bad manners ... But, to the drivers/sponsors, a buck is a buck ...


NASCAR NOW isn't technically a "news" show ... It's more infotainment ... information plus entertainment ...


Disney blurred the lines between fact & fiction when they bought Jayski and decided to allow some of their new hires (that they'd gotten from Time-Warner) write & report stories that would compete with or be linked from Jayski ...


The reason this is considered to be such a big story that has everybody chomping at the bit is that the subject is the biggest name that's currently under contract negotiations ...

The problem is ... Too many stories are coming out of the media and the alleged facts are all attributed to anonymous sources ... Many times, the "facts" turn out to be false ... How many of these stories are actually someone's fantasy?? Many of them ... Each time that a story falls through, the person who originally reported it is losing their own credibility ... This has happened to Blount & Newton, as well as Marty & Chengelis ... Their constant use of unnamed sources has forced me to NOT believe anything they report until I see the parties involved actually admit that the story is true ... They have lost any & all credibility that they might've had in the first place ...



That being said ... Newton doesn't even know that there IS a difference between "jail time" and "prison time" ... Gene Haas is NOT in the Ventura County jail ... He's in a low-security federal prison near Vanderberg AFB near Lompoc, CA ...


Personally, I think it would be foolish for Tony Stewart to get into business dealings with Gene Haas (or his estate) ... as the IRS has been known to look a lot closer at the finances of those who do get involved with people / businesses that have been convicted of tax fraud / evasion ...




Anon @ 4:07pm - Nemechek has 10 Cup / 7 Busch poles and 4 Cup & 8 Busch wins since 1993 & 1998 respectively ... Newman has 43 Cup / 11 Busch poles and 13 Cup & 7 Busch wins since 2000 & 2001 respectively ... The stats can't even compare ...

haus20 said...

Newrace fan I agree with you. As far as answering the original question that was posed by JD. It can be a NN story, but it better be qualified as speculation and not fact.

For example, on Sunday morning, Angelique Chengelis made it sound pretty certain that the Army sponsorship was going to BDR. However, other stories are still circulating stating that the Army wants to stay with the 8 and Amirola and even other reports state that the sponsorship may go to Red Bull racing.

This is another example of a story stated as a fact, but so far, no facts can be substansiated.

I enjoy hearing the rumor and the speculation especially about marquee drivers, but there is a journalistic responsiblity to state it as such. At the very least it must be stated that this has not been confirmed. At least the written article does that.

Dot said...

I don't put much stock in the stories I read about who's going where and who's doing what. Not until the person in question is saying it. I do enjoy reading about them though. I have learned over the years that if I repeat what I've read, I preface it with "allegedly" or "rumor has it..". Nothing worse than the roommate saying, "I thought you told me..". Now I have an out.

Regarding the sunglasses. On TV they don't bother me much. Talk to me in person? Whole 'nother story. Next time you are talking to someone wearing them for no reason (inside for instance), don't make eye contact with them. Look at their forehead. I do this and more often than not, they'll take them off.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, its not news if its completely fabricated. In this case, it is not a fabrication. The crux of Newton's story is factual and the details (who the sponsors are, etc) are not critical to the overall focus of the story, which is TONY STEWART IS LEAVING JGR. I, too, have sources and know its the truth, so Newton's story is based in fact, not fiction.

If you think Newton made up most of his article, based on conjecture and hearsay, then I can see where you are coming from. "News" implies some amount of verifiable fact. Since there are multiple sources of this particular story, it can be called "Breaking News" or whatever they want to title it. In the end it could turn out to be a fabrication, but that would mean all the sources were wrong or misleading. Do you believe that?

In the end you either believe and trust the reporter or you don't. I do not think Newton is positioning himself as the next Woodward or Bernstein. ESPN is not positioning themselves as the sports TV version of the Washington Post. This is not a White House scandal being covered up. Its just some race car driver leaving one team to become a part owner in another.

Holding these people up to some lofty standard is a bit excessive. Yes, it would be better if "news" was really news and rumor and gossip were not taken so seriously, but that's sports media for you. Expecting more from it only leads to agita.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:26PM,

Creating and operating a NASCAR blog can also lead to agita.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

mrnturn1,

You know what I was speaking about was the fact that Sirius has programs that include opinion from the veteran NASCAR reporters, NASCAR personalities and the fans.

The distinction I was trying to get folks to address was when and how to report opinion and when and how to report fact when ESPN wants to get the story out, but can't really speak in concrete "hard news" terms.

Both Newton and Blount have been in this position. With guys like Brad Daugherty and Tim Cowslishaw appearing on the TV show to speak about their personal views on subjects, it seems to be perhaps pretty easy for NASCAR Now and ESPN.com to tell viewers up front that something is fact or rumor.

I thought it would get some good comments, and it certainly did.

JD

darbar said...

Newton didn't say anything that I haven't already read about on the internet for the past two weeks. And when I say he didn't say anything new, I mean anything. If you go to any number of internet sites, there's been speculation about Tony buying into CNC Haas for over a month. There's been talk that his sponsors would be both Office Depot and Old Spice for at least a week. And the Ryan Newman talk has been hot for more than 10 days. So, Newton didn't break any real news, he just reported what every Nascar fan has been blogging about for at least 2 weeks, despite his adding "according to sources". Heck, his sources could very well have been the gossip mongers over on Topix. Even the guys who write columns over on Nascar.com have been writing commentaries on the Tony Stewart rumors for the past 10 days. This "story" is nothing more than filler for a slow news day, and I won't believe anything until I hear it from Tony Stewart own mouth.

Dannyboy said...

June 26, 2008 1:21 PM Anonymous said...(quoting me)

"'They've all been guilty of offering unattributed rumors as newsworthy. And last time I looked, they're all profitable.'

You didn't come close to showing evidence that every news organization does what you claim. You used three examples, one of which is twenty years old.

That's like grabbing the names of Aaron Fike and Shane Hmiel and saying, "See, they all use illegal drugs."

Just ain't true."

MY ANSWER -
What just ain't true is your allegations:

1) The NBC Dateline scandal where they put model rocket engines on GM pickup fuel tanks and simulated crash explosions without lableing them as intentionally detonated was in 1993, not "20 years ago". Small discrepancy, but we're dealing in facts here. And have you already forgotten the 2006 story about the same NBC show planting middle-eastern looking men at NASCAR races in order to film race fans' reactions and characterize them as a bunch of redneck bigots?

2) I didn't say "every news organization", you left out my actual comment: "Therefore, whether it is on ESPN Sports Center, Jayski, DRUDGE, 60 Minutes or the NY Times doesn't matter a whit." After which my quote you posted above.

I picked the ones I ennumerated because I know for a fact that each has offered unprovable rumors or been found to be deliberately falsifying stories, and each has had to retract same.

And it looks like the same anonymous responded to a post by "jo" at 5:05 PM

Anonymous said... (quoting jo)
"I do wish that it was more accurate,but, hey, journalism standards went down the tubes with Dan Rather & the manufactured document about Pres. Bush.

Again, nonsense."

MY ANSWER -
Poppycock: First of all, jo is wrong, but not for the reasons you state: the fake Texas Air National Guard documents were far from the first outrageous mis-representation of facts by 60 Minutes; or have you also forgotten the Audi automobiles' Sudden Unintended Acceleration scandal? (OK, that one actually IS twenty years old.) CBS faked their demonstrations and got caught, but not before almost ruining a company.

Furthermore, it is only a short leap from bias and advocacy to outright fabrication in major national media. It was in fact less than twenty years ago when a top reporter for a major newsmagazine (Time or Newsweek) declared that balanced reporting was no longer required as an ethical standard when it came to reporting on the environment. The reason: "the issue is just too important" for us to be bothered reporting both sides. Hence we have the standards in place today. And we have junk science being foisted upon us by ignorant "journalists" who declare that such and such an issue is "settled".

Jo is absolutely entitled to think as she (he?) does because they DO in fact all do it.

Thus my contention that standards have lowered to the point that out here in the field, we're all looking at the Tony Stewart rumors as just that until we hear it straight from Tony or JGR.

Whether it comes up on SC or NN or TWIN (fat chance) or ABC Nightline, it doesn't matter much to me.

I believe what I hear on the news as much as I believe what a politician or lawyer tells me.

Sorry, JD, I know you really care about this, but you asked.

Anonymous said...

Jo is absolutely entitled to think as she (he?) does because they DO in fact all do it.
You've offered no proof of that statement, but instead a quote from one reporter.

But you've clearly decided it's true, even though you have no way to know what "all" reporters do.

Luckily, most people are a little more ration in their analysis.

Anonymous said...

--sorry, got cut off--

If you hear a famous crew cheif say, "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying," does that mean that "all" teams cheat?

There's no evidence to support the belief that all journalists are manufaturing stories just because some have done it.

Dannyboy said...

Anonymous wrote (quoting me):

"'Jo is absolutely entitled to think as she (he?) does because they DO in fact all do it.'

You've offered no proof of that statement, but instead a quote from one reporter.

But you've clearly decided it's true, even though you have no way to know what "all" reporters do.

Luckily, most people are a little more ration [sic] in their analysis.

AND:

If you hear a famous crew cheif [sic] say, "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying," does that mean that "all" teams cheat?

There's no evidence to support the belief that all journalists are manufaturing [sic] stories just because some have done it."

MY RESPONSE:

I think most would interpret my declaration that "they all do it" in the context of the supporting information I provided, most of which "anonymous" ignored.

I was speaking rhetorically, not specifically, a fact that also seems to have eluded "anonymous".

Since two attempts and mulitple examples have failed to convey my point, and since "anonymous" continues to offer "straw man" arguments, this discussion has run its course as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I was speaking rhetorically, not specifically, a fact that also seems to have eluded "anonymous".

Convenient dodge, after you made a claim that's unsupportable.

Lou,Kingston,NY said...

What goes around comes around. Tony is leaving JGR. Gee, who would have known. I still do not know if this "Should have been an ESPN NASCAR Story" at the time of this column. But more often than not. Stuff like this does seem to wind up being true. Only we just lack the details of the deal, which come when the story founded to be true after the announcement. Just goes to show, nothing is secret in the NASCAR garage.