For well over a year, this site has led the drumbeat for those calling to account ESPN's laissez-faire, lackadaisical sourcing policy. ESPN's liberal use of sources and questionable reporting became such a hot button issue it wasn't a surprise to see competitors accuse Bristol of publicly stealing scoops. That was apparently happening as current Good Morning America host and former SportsCenter anchor Josh Elliott admitted at Blogs With Balls in 2011 and recorded by our Andrew Bucholtz.
Throughout the last year, ESPN continued to draw scrutiny for much of their reporting because of this uncertainty regarding these sources. Was ESPN merely copying and pasting from other outlets? What was there to distinguish ESPN's actual reporting from stolen goods? Were Chris Broussard's sources actually just tweets from NBA players? What was happening at the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports?
A turning point seemed to have happened at the turn of the new year when in late December a convoluted series of events led a furious Jay Glazer into a Twitter conversation with an ESPN news editor. The curtain was pulled back on how ESPN's sourcing sausage was made and incredibly, Glazer was told his work was in fact lumped in with others as ESPN's "sources." It's astonishing and against all the tenants and ethics of journalism to think a media company worth tens of billions of dollars would brazenly scoop up the reporting of others as if they were all just happily doing ESPN's work for them in their own special way - without a paycheck from Bristol.
In the months since, ESPN has been much more clear about properly crediting outside sources and distinguishing between their own reporting and other outlets. The phrase "ESPN & Media Reports" has appeared on SportsCenter in the place of sources. It's more transparent and more importantly - honest.
Now via ESPN's PR site, Front Row, we've learned a bit more about what "ESPN & Media Reports" means and the network's reporting policy moving forward. The structure of how reports appear on television are split into three groupings - reports from ESPN, reports from outside outlets, and reports where information is gathered from both inside and outside ESPN. What follows from Front Row is comprehensive and an infinite improvement over the Sources Era...no comments