Bennett story — consistency please
March 31, 2008, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Journalism

The background: Tony Bennett said he is not going to go to Indiana, has many reasons to like Pullman, and has not considered other open coaching positions.

The misrepresentation: Tony Bennett is staying at WSU.

I must be foreword by saying I had absolutely no hand in the Spokesman’s (read: Vince’s) breaking this story. But what concerned me was the Spokesman’s headline on its front page much of the day Sunday that said Bennett is staying at WSU.

I’m fairly certain this came about because of the built-in gap between reporter and copy editor. A reporter writes one thing that is very specific and carefully worded — i.e. Bennett says no to Indiana, says there are many reasons to stay in Pullman, but doesn’t specifically say he’s staying at WSU — and a copy editor posts the story online with a headline that jumps to a conclusion.

I’m glad the Spokesman (and other papers that made this error Sunday evening) had fixed the discrepancy this morning. But if you look closely, both versions of the headline are still on the website, as illustrated below.

Just … no.

Oh, and for those of you who might think this is dangerous to write about because it’s commentary on the company I work for, let me tell you something about the journalism industry: Skepticism is the name of the game. Don’t fret.


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