What's happening today in the media:
Everyone's still talking about Deadspin's bombshell story about a hoax involving Notre Dame star Manti Te'o and a dead girlfriend that never existed. Yesterday, I wrote that the Deadspin piece showed how journalists were unwilling to bother checking facts that may have disrupted a feel-good college football story: "Star player thrives on the field despite personal loss."
It seems at least one journalist did some checking. ESPN senior columnist Gene Wojciechows admitted Wednesday night on SportsCenter that he couldn't find an obituary or car accident report for Kekau when producing a glowing profile of Te'o and his struggles. And yet, Wojciechowski backed off on that angle simply because Te'o asked him to.
Also on the media side of the Te'o hoax:
-- Tom Rosenstiel, director of the American Press Institute, spoke about the media's role to the Washington Post:
Reporters, he said, tend to "push forward" on a story, assuming that what has already been reported is established fact. But errors can result from such assumptions.
"It comes from journalists not checking things for themselves," Rosenstiel said. "The lesson here is 'look inside the freezer.' Journalists shouldn't be taking [a source's] word if there is some way to verify it for themselves."
-- SBNation notes that 21 outlets published details about Lenny Kekau.
-- Deadspin's Timothy Burke said that Te'o' girlfriend myth "became truth through the media."
-- The South Bend Tribune's Eric Hansen -- who reported in Oct. about how Te'o met Kekau three years earlier after a football game -- wrote Thursday that Te'o's father was the source of those details about the relationship.
-- Poynter: "Sports journalism faces a moment of truth."
And in non-Te'o media news:
-- Capital NY held a panel this week on financial news. Reuters' Felix Salmon offered this critique of recent coverage out of the nation's capital:
"We have a bunch of reporters in Washington dutifully transcribing the crazy ravings of various Republicans," he continued, "and not coming out and saying these people are completely insane. And that is a problem, because if they did, maybe we could actually present the truth to the public."
-- Fox News got to ask less questions than other networks at Obama press conferences in first term.
-- Rolling Stone's first iPad edition released Thursday.
-- Chinese weekly newspaper issues correction for mistakes made by censors.
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