You are editor: The Favre story

At least one journalist in the Twin Cities has been tsk-tsk’ing the mainstream media for not reporting the details of Brett Favre’s alleged self portraits.

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I’ve been thinking about this since Nick Coleman posted that tweet last week. He’s right, perhaps, that someone in the Twin Cities sports media corps should’ve at least asked Favre about it. That “honor,” however, went to an out-of-town reporter.

On the other hand, it may not be such a bad thing that the rumors stayed rumors until NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s office announced he’d look into them.

But former Twin Cities journalist David Carr wrote in Sunday’s New York Times that even that shouldn’t have led the mainstream media to adopt the blogger mentality.

That cycle is both oddly familiar and rapidly evolving. Most news organizations stayed off the John Edwards love child story when The National Enquirer broke the news in October 2007, but the dam broke over the course of many months as the drip-drip of evidence and consequences began to accumulate. (At least The Enquirer had to chase John Edwards all over the Beverly Hilton. All Deadspin had to do was pay some loot and open a jpeg.)

There are differences between the two stories. First, the informational value of reporting that a famous married athlete may have been looking to step outside the holy bonds of matrimony does not pass the laugh test. If and when the N.F.L. decides that Favre violated the league’s code of personal conduct, it may be news, but not before.

Though they may have been late to the story, the local media is making up for it. In an article in Sunday’s Pioneer Press, about the only angle of the story that wasn’t covered was this one: the possibility that Favre is being unjustly accused.

You are the editor. What would you have done?

  • BJ

    The real reason for the Randy Moss trade. Keep media out of Brett Favre’s texting story!

  • John O.

    As your fellow journalist David Brauer pointed out in his MinnPost blog on October 13, the “editor” from Deadspin.com alluded to the Favre story on air with the morning hosts from 93X on March 31.

    You would think that SOMEONE would have tipped off a newsroom somewhere in this market after listening to this and started looking. A tipoff may have happened, but my guess is Deadspin wanted a payday and, when they could not get one here, they went to New York and found one.

    With today’s digital photo editing technology, anyone with even modest computer skills can do a lot with a jpeg. If I was the editor of a reputable news organization and I had a person wanting to sell me some dirt on a high-profile person without any way of corroborating the contents, I’d also be inclined to say no.

    Coleman is essentially correct that high-profile folks usually get the kid glove treatment, but that’s the way it is. (Apologies to the late Walter Cronkite.)

  • JackU

    I guess if I’m the sports editor for a local outlet (paper, radio, TV) I’d want to make sure that there is really a story before I confront the star player. Why should I risk future access to a player on rumor and innuendo? I agree with David Carr, let the league determine if there is something to the allegations and then if he is sanctioned by the league cover that. There are no questions about the legitimacy of the story then.