Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Anybody At ESPN.com Read The Comments?


Since the David Newton stories about Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman broke last week, ESPN.com has stubbornly been keeping both of Newton's "exclusives" posted on the front page. My only question is, does anyone at ESPN read the comments?

This is the Martin Truex Jr. page and this is the Ryan Newman story. Both are now so old the computer has made them archive material. That does not matter to the ESPN.com editors, who keep them alive on the front page.

This was the article by veteran NASCAR journalist Monte Dutton talking about the kind of journalism that several of the ESPN reporters have been practicing for the last two years. Prior to 2007, ESPN and ESPN.com did not care about NASCAR and relegated it to a minor sport, just like the New York Times. Each of those organizations apparently has their own sense of sports reality.

Needless to say, NASCAR fans have taken this opportunity to voice their concerns over these stories, which have been denied directly by both of the drivers involved.

ESPN.com does not have the authors of the stories respond in the comments and apparently no one follows-up on the issues raised by the fans in the comments section. So, what is the point of offering this opportunity for the fans to post their views? ESPN.com has recently expanded this practice to Jayski.com, a site that now re-directs viewer comments to the ESPN.com site.

As Dutton said in his article, regardless of whether the drivers in question choose to eventually sign with the team in Newton's story, it does not make him right. Leaving these stories and the comments posted on one of the largest sports websites in the world reminds everyone of that fact 24 hours a day.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers (and responds). To add your opinion, just 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 drop by.

36 comments:

Richard in N.C. said...

Implicitly Newton is vouching for his source and saying the source is creditible. It would seem without question that Newton should at the very least have updated his story to say that both Mr. and Mrs. Newman have stated that the story is untrue.

Anonymous said...

If I ever see you use the phrase "This is a TV blog" or "We talk TV, we don't do quotes" (as you did when someone mentioned Lee Spencer writing a similar article to Newton's last week) to defend yourself against a comment someone posts again, I'm going to laugh and laugh.

Slow news day, indeed...what are you going to come up with for tomorrow?

Tracy said...

ESPN doesn't care what anyone thinks about their credibility, that's the message I'm getting. If they did, as Richard said, they'd add the respective denials from the involved parties, it seems to me. But what do I know? I don't get the whole deal anyway, reporting rumors. It's an instant "who-cares-what-you-report-next-because-I-don't-trust-you" for me.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:37PM,

You must be new to NASCAR. The way ESPN works is to publish a story on ESPN.com at around 4PM and then have that reporter on NASCAR Now at 5PM to introduce that story as an exclusive.

This is normally done on Wednesday, which is exactly the reason I wrote that column today.

Nice try.

JD

red said...

i open with this disclaimer: i did not watch nascar now tonight.

so, if someone who did watch will clarify: has truex said that he has re-signed with dei? has dei once again stated that truex is re-signed? to the best of anyone's recollection, what was said at the end of nascar now about the dei/truex contact/option situation? i'm reading a variety of 'reports" but all my most reliable sources aren't reporting anything.

(see, i'm trying to separate fact from rumor here and i'm getting nowhere fast but rather than just repeat what i've been told was said/not said, i'm searching for information. kinda like a reporter is supposed to do.)

(if i had access to drivers and owners and agents, that is!)

richard in nc: mr newton should also have updated his story on truex's status as well.

Anonymous said...

I see some odd pararllel between ESPN's willingness to treat NASCAR rumors which have been denied as legitimate stories and their purhcase of the Jayski.com site, which, while it is very informative, made its reputation by posting unfounded NASCAR rumors.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Burr tried to sneak it in at the end, but you should check jayski.com for the updates.

JD

red said...

daly planet editor said...
"Burr tried to sneak it in at the end, but you should check jayski.com for the updates.

JD"

yep, been there, done that. nothing yet.

what did burr say, tho'? lee spencer is claiming that "multiple team sources" are stating that "Martin Truex Jr. has decided to remain the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet next season for Dale Earnhardt Inc."
she also says an announcement is due at watkins glen.

and the wednesday rumor mill keeps on grinding.

Anonymous said...

Sure, JD, if Newman and Truex sign, it doesn't make Newton right, but their denials don't make Newton wrong either.

The bottom line is that Newton obviously believes in his source and therefore isn't changing his story. Look, Barry Bonds has denied using steroids for year, but you never see reporters who bring it up say, "Bonds has routinely denied steroid use."

And I find it amusing that you think the NY Times should cover NASCAR. They're a left leaning paper and you want them to cover a right leaning sport. Heck, if Obama would've purchased ad space on a car, most of the people in the crowd would've thrown something at it. They can't even get past the fact that Gordon is not from the south and doesn't "look" like he's from the south. The stereotypes that are allowed to pass in NASCAR are ridiculous when you consider the lofty standards you hold media outlets to.

Anonymous said...

So now that the Truex story has been reported as a done deal by multiple outlets with an official announcement coming Sunday at Watkins Glen, how's that dead horse working for you Daly?

Lisa Hogan said...

I know, I know, JD
Don't feed the trolls.
But, they are really good for a laugh once in a while. :)

I am the editor at ESPN.com said...
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Anonymous said...

Obviously that post above is not from the actual editor at ESPN.com. If it is, then ESPN needs an editor for the editor. Kind of like the assistant to the traveling secretary.

JD, what I wanted to point out, is that your site is one of the few where the editors/authors actually respond to comments. Most sites just let people comment at will and moderate them for vulgar content. Heck, the Gawker Network (Deadspin, Kotaku, Jalopnik, etc) exists almost solely because of its commenters. Some of their commenters have gone on to have pretty famous blogs themselves. But rarely do moderators/editors/authors respond to commenters. So thanks for being one of the few.

Rockin Rich said...
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I am the editor at espn.com said...
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I am the editor at espn.com said...
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I am the editor at espn.com said...
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Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

They folks at ESPN work for a Disney-owned corporation. It requres them to channel their media responses through a media relations person.

The media guys for NASCAR from ESPN are super. They have been cooperative with me regardless of agreeing or disagreeing with an opinion.

This is a big professional company that uses designated individuals to speak in the media.

This article is about why ESPN would let the comments stay? We already explored both sides of the Newton story issues.

This interesting convergence of TV and online is one of the hottest topics where ESPN is concerned, and one of the things they have been working hardest to address.

Thanks for all the comments, I hope you took the time to read the comments on the ESPN.com pages.

JD

OK, fine, i'm not the editor, blah, blah, blah said...
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Anonymous said...

From thatsracin.com. No sources quoted, just says they've confirmed it:

Martin Truex Jr. will be back in the No. 1 Chevrolets for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2009.

Truex will make that decision official Friday at Watkins Glen International, but The Charlotte Observer and ThatsRacin.com confirmed Wednesday evening that Truex has agreed to stay with the team he has been with for his entire Cup career.

Anonymous said...
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IANTE said...
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Anonymous said...

Woohoo! Back in business. So, JD, if I may call you JD, what point were you trying to make with your post on this subject? That ESPN.com lets criticism stay on its pages without comment? I know, I know, being tagged by readers of your own story (blog) may seem counter productive, but doesn't it say something that they are allowed to dissent as long as they aren't being offensive?

Again, what was your point exactly?

Anonymous said...

I'm about to throw out something here that may venture further into the corporate weeds than anyone wants to go.

Is David Newton actually employee of ESPN or a contractor who writes about Nascar for ESPN.com

I raise this question because the Martin Truex Jr. story st least has a contact email that ends with @aol.com

My instinct says this is designed to cover up his actual email address being david.newton-nd or something like that.

I remember from my own days as a contractor for the Mouse that all contractors and temps issued e-mail addresses on Disney servers have a "=nd" tacked onto e-mail to specify "non-Disney" and differentiate them from full time employees. Just curious. . .

Richard in N.C. said...

I seldom read Newton's commentaries so I have not read his article about Truex, but I have read the article about Newman since I saw Newton on N-Now and it is curious. Spokespeople for Stewart and Newman are quoted as refuting what Newton reports, but the the article ends with a statement that "Attempts to contact Stewart and Newman were unsuccessful." Once the article is left standing with the above statement re direct communications with Stewart and Newman, I believe Newton had some obligation to update his article to report that Mr. and Mrs. Newman had strongly refuted what he had stated. I'm not sure why the last statement of the article was made, but once made it seems to me that Newton had an obligation to later readers to not leave the impression that Newman had not personally contradicted what was written about him.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Newmans didn't personally contradict Newton's story to Newton. Wouldn't be the first time a source was THE source and denied it.

Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

Well, that was rather diverse. Now, can anyone address the issue of why ESPN wants viewer comments on NASCAR stories if the authors never respond?

JD

Anonymous said...

Simple. Web people are taught (and thus, repeat to management) the idea that "interactive" features draw users to your site.

They don't care what the viewers actually say once there--they just want to have the feature.

Anonymous said...

It's the same with Speedtv.com ... They've got comment sections on the articles, but they've also got the message boards ...

The only time that I've seen any of the comments ever getting acknowledged is on the F-1 broadcasts when Bob Varsha will do specific shoutouts to people ...

The last time that anyone other than Varsha & the F-1 gang actually paid any attention to what was commented on at the Speedtv.com boards was when Jim Liberatore (aka "speed1") was still there and he wanted to know how the active viewers felt about his new show "NASCAR Nation" (but that was before he hired Chris Long who turned it into more of a "Hoochie Nation") ...


Comment sections are just a way for companies that have websites to increase their overall web traffic & hit count ... Therefore, they can get more money out of the sponsors / advertisers for the site ...


Basically, JD ... It's all about the Benjamins ...

red said...

i agree that most comments sections are there simply to create footsteps to the site. and more's the pity b/c an intelligent, involved moderator or commentator can absolutely enhance the conversation. i believe that the presence of said individual(s) would directly add footsteps to the site and the level of conversation would be raised.

this is not exclusive to sports blogs: i experience the same frustration on political boards as well. without someone invoking the stated rules for posting, the comments degenerate into racism, sexism, innuendo and general stupidity.

it is a fine line to walk, to be certain: control the chaos while still allowing free discussion. but it can be done. the sites that consistently and aggressively monitor the comments section tend to have, in my opinion, the most interesting discussions and i bookmark those sites. if espn (or fox or speed) want to have me become part of their "community" on the boards, they need to step up and actively monitor the board. at this point, i rarely open the comments section and i don't post unless someone goes over the line with some racist or sexist comment. otherwise, it's just encouraging the trolls.

Richard in N.C. said...

red- SUPER. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Well, Truex re-signed today, and every major outlet reported that he had come to a verbal agreement with DEI two week ago. Looks like David Newton was right.

Does anyone not expect Ryan Newman to be #2 at Stewart-Haas? Yep, Newton will be right again.

Mrs. Newman and Truex himself may not like it when their own big announcements get scooped by a journalist -- but that doesn't make them not true.

DalyPlanet owes Newton an apology, but I doubt it will come.

Anonymous said...

Breaking News: 43 cars will start next week according to sources close to David Newton

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:10PM,

An apology for what?

JD