February 13, 2002
7:35 AM   Subscribe

Is this really news reporting? This entire article is based on one source: another ABC Reporter. I'm not saying the allegations aren't true, but the ABC piece just seems more fit for a newsgroup posting than for a major media outlet. Tell me if it's just me.
posted by lawtalkinguy (11 comments total)
I think it's just you. It wasn't based on just one source, a CTV reporter is quoted as well (about being told by the French judge Le Gougne that she wasn't supposed to speak to the media). And the ABC (actually ESPN if we're going to be picky) reporter quotes "reliable sources within the ISU" (not that such things can't be made up, of course). It doesn't seem at all out of character for a developing scandal to me. Such stories (in many areas) often rely on "highly placed sources speaking on condition of anonymity" for the initial reports. And it's not surprising that there aren't many people willing to talk about it, since an inquiry has been called. Reporting breaking news is tricky, since you can't verify everything, but it's pretty standard to report things like this in this manner, AFAIK.
posted by biscotti at 7:51 AM on February 13, 2002

Well, I just read the article and what popped out at me was that the French judge's last name (Le Gougne), was spelled Le Gonya two paragraphs after its first appearance in the story. "Le Gonya" is how it's pronounced (more or less), but what sloppy job of proofreading. Shame on ABC/ESPN.

The rest of the article just seems to reiterate what's already known about this issue.
posted by eilatan at 7:57 AM on February 13, 2002

From the article above:
The story could grow if the United States were to get involved because it's conceivable that if Sale and Pelletier should have won gold, Americans Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman could have won bronze, Brennan said.7

Ina and Zimmerman placed fifth overall, why would the silver medal team moving to gold move the US team up to third? Can someone explain this to me?
posted by pnevares at 7:57 AM on February 13, 2002

Back in the day, we had a thing called "covering the story from mahogany ridge," which basically meant sitting at a bar with CNN/local news on the TV and writing up your story from that. Sometimes, going out and fetching brand new quotes and angles is just a bitch :)
posted by UncleFes at 8:19 AM on February 13, 2002

I think they have sketchy, unconfirmed info at this point. They have communicated that it is sketchy and unconfirmed, so to me they have respected their duty to their readers.
posted by NortonDC at 8:21 AM on February 13, 2002

Can someone explain this to me?

I think they're implying that if the allegations are true, the judging might have been questionable in placing the second Russian team in fourth place. If you remove the two Russian teams in the top 5, you'd have the Americans in third.

If that is what they mean, then it's really absurd. Regardless of the colour of the medal, I think the top three are deservedly in the top three.
posted by mkn at 8:22 AM on February 13, 2002

I think the Americans were better than the second Russian team and should have been 4th but probably not 3rd. One thing that struck me on Monday night was that Pelletier said something about the French judge screwing them that night. Was there talk about the alleged conspiracy before the free skate?
posted by noether at 8:41 AM on February 13, 2002

I see what people are saying. I guess this paragraph just threw me:

"Their agent told me he's had about a hundred calls," Brennan said. "I'm guessing they are now a household name, which never would have been if they'd won the gold medal with no controversy. I would imagine that they became millionaires in the last 24 hours. The sympathy factor is huge."

It contained enough hyperbole (they are now a household name, sympathy factor is huge), conjecture (I would imagine, I'm guessing) and seemingly irrevelant info (does it matter that their agent got alot of calls?) that it cast doubt on the credibility of the reporting in the first place.

noether: Maybe Pelletier comment stems from the fact that some people just like picking on the french.
posted by lawtalkinguy at 8:54 AM on February 13, 2002

Is this really news reporting? This entire article is based on one source...Same thing could have been said about Woodward & Bernstein re: Deepthroat, in fact some people thought that there wasn't any source, so yes, I think it's quite common.
posted by Mack Twain at 9:37 AM on February 13, 2002

I think this article is being misinterpreted. All that's going on here is than one of ESPN's web site writers "repurposed" the original story, which ESPN TV reporter Cynthia Brennan first aired on the actual TV channel. That's standard operating procedure. The only question here is who Brennan's source(s) is/are. All Faulkner is doing is translating the results of Brennan's work into print form, not creating a whole new story from scratch.

The general journalistic rules aren't that every individual reporter reconfirm the same story before running with it, only that every individual news organization do so. (If that weren't so, we could never have news anchors; think about it.) Once any ESPN reporter had confirmed it, anyone else at ESPN, including Faulkner, was free to go with the story. (And since ABC and ESPN are the same company, ABCNEWS.com can also grab Faulkner's ESPN.com piece, drop it into their own template, and post it.)

As for why Brennan is mentioned in the very first sentence: plain old crowing. "WE got this scoop."
posted by aaron at 11:32 AM on February 13, 2002

Apparently the French skating federation now confirms that their judge was "pressured", but they say there was no collusion (meaning that while she was pressured, she judged fairly?). They do, however, seem to be distancing themselves from her a bit, calling her "fragile." (Does that have a different connotation in French?)
posted by litlnemo at 10:50 PM on February 13, 2002

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