Found November 29, 2012 on
The Worldwide Leader In Sourcing Controversies is at it again. Les Miles has decided to stay at LSU thanks to a generous contract extension after a prominent flirtation with Arkansas Tuesday. Brooks Melchior of Sports By Brooks first reported on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that Arkansas had made Miles a five-year, $27.5 million offer to take over as their head coach, and New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Jim Kleinpeter soon confirmed that with his own sources while giving Brooks credit for being first.
At first, ESPN followed suit. First Karl Ravech credited Brooks during halftime of the Indiana-UNC game aired on ESPN. Then on the 11 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, anchor Steve Levy relayed the report and cited Brooks' tweet. However, that clearly didn't sit well with the suits in Bristol.
Deadspin's John Koblin reveals the ESPN internal wire received a "IMPORTANT: DO NOT CREDIT SPORTS BY BROOKS FOR THE ORIGINAL STORY ABOUT MILES HAVING AN OFFER. CREDIT REPORTS" message shortly thereafter. That's what ESPN did in Jonathan Coachman's on-the-air take at 1 a.m., and their on-the-web treatment only cites The Times-Picayune.
It's not surprising that ESPN did this, especially in the college football realm. They've become so famous for taking reports from other networks' college football reporters like Bruce Feldman (who used to work for ESPN) and Brett McMurphy (who now works for ESPN) that Twitter types have joked Feldman's name has been changed to "Sources."
The practice goes well beyond college football, though; consider Chris Broussard's infamous "sources" reporting of a move Deron Williams had previously announced on Twitter, ESPN's on-air graphics staff boldly ripping off a graphic compiled by Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn, Sportscenter referring to FOX's Jay Glazer as "sources", ESPN.com plagiarizing five paragraphs from Pro Football Talk and Rick Reilly trying to grab credit for a Ben Roethlisberger story broken by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Dejan Kovacevic.
ABC's Josh Elliott (who was at ESPN before that) openly spoke about the Worldwide Leader's internal demands not to give credit to outside sources at Blogs With Balls 4 in New York in September 2011, and the issue's only escalated since then. The sourcing problem's become so widespread and so reflective of ESPN's problems with journalistic credibility that Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch retweeted Deadspin's story on this latest one with an "As you wish, Lord Vader" appended in front. By our Star Wars analogies, though, the problems go well beyond just Skip Bayless. Along with Elliott's quote, Koblin's reporting is a bombshell giving tangible proof to ESPN giving direct orders to not credit specific outlets.
Why does this matter? If it's only other media outlets who suffer, then this practice of refusing to give credit is merely underhanded tactics that go against most journalistic ethics. That's a media problem, but not one that would really affect the vast majority of ESPN consumers. However, a strong argument can be made that ESPN is doing its readers, listeners and viewers a tremendous disservice by misrepresenting where these reports come from, and the Miles situation represents a case in point. When anonymous sources are used in any report, the credibility of the report shifts from the source itself to the outlet relaying the anonymous comments; viewers and readers need to know which outlet that is so they know how much credence to give any particular piece of information.
Brooks hasn't always been right, but he has a strong track record of breaking college football news, so attributing the piece to him (and to the Times-Picayune) provides viewers with the information necessary to make an informed judgement on the report's validity. (Also, it's worth pointing out that those reports appear to have been absolutely right-on; the reports weren't that Miles was leaving, but that he'd been made a very specific offer to leave, and that appears to be the case.) That's beyond good journalistic ethics; it's good journalistic service to your audience.
Losing sight of that in a quioxtic quest to have all your information appear like it was found in-house not only hurts your company's journalistic reputation, it also damages the quality of your product. Furthermore, it hurts the reputation of the talent themselves, like Levy and Ravech (and presumably others) who want to do the right thing, but are directed otherwise by management. ESPN should keep that in mind the next time they tell their staff not to credit sources properly.
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The most recent Discover Fan Loyalty Poll asked college football fans across the country what they were most thankful for when it came to their favorite team this season. It also asked them who they would have preferred to have sat down to Thanksgiving Day Dinner with this past Thursday, with the players topping the list, over the cheerleaders, band members or mascot. It also turns...
People familiar with the situation say Les Miles and LSU have agreed to a new contract.
The people spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because LSU and Miles have not announced deal.
Miles has had a previously scheduled news conference on Wednesday pushed back at least an hour. One of the people say it's because Miles's agent, George Bass and...
Les Miles is known to most as the "Mad Hatter" of college football and once again he earned that moniker as he parlayed talk of him moving to rival Arkansas into another contract extension and more money to stay as the head coach at LSU - a school where he's 85-20 and has won one national championship (2007).
Don't believe me that the speculation of Arkansas...
In their search to replace lame duck head coach John L. Smith, the Razorbacks have reportedly offered LSU head coach Les Miles a five-year contract worth an estimated $27.5 million dollars.
#LSU source: #Arkansas has made “serious offer” to Les Miles and Miles agent meeting with AD Joe Alleva. #secfootball. nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/…
— Jim Kleinpeter (@JimKleinpeter) November...
You're Louisiana State athletic director Joe Alleva. You're surfing the web one afternoon while you "oversee" the renovation of your office's private john.
All of a sudden, you come across a report from Internet muckraker/public masturbator SPORTSbyBROOKS claiming your head football coach has received a substantial contract offer from SEC West rival Arkansas...
LSU announced on Wednesday that Les Miles will remain at the school as head coach of the football team, and that he will receive a raise and contract extension.
The new contract and raise comes a day after it was reported that Arkansas was heavily pursuing Miles to be their next head coach, offering him $27.5 million over five years. LSU Director of Athletics Joe Alleva confirmed...
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU athletic director Joe Alleva says football coach Les Miles is getting a raise and an extension.
Miles has had a previously scheduled news conference on Wednesday pushed back an hour so Alleva and Miles's agent, George Bass could finish work on the deal.
Alleva says details of the contract are still in the negotiation process and will be announced...
All of the speculation surrounding Les Miles and the possibility of him leaving LSU to coach at Arkansas came to an abrupt end on Wednesday.
The Mad Hatter signed a new seven-year contract with LSU that will keep the coach in Baton Rouge until 2019, according to Gary Laney of ESPN.com. Miles has led LSU to an 85-20 record since becoming the head man in 2005 and won a national title...
We can finally call this Les Miles/Arkansas charade complete and done. In a press conference this afternoon, AD Joe Alleva confirmed Miles was indeed staying at LSU and would be signing a 7 year extension. That extension will also be accompanied by a raise but declined to comment on how much exactly, but the internet seems to think it's in the neighborhood of $500k annually....
Come on, there isn’t a soul out there that believed Les Miles was going to bail on LSU when it was reported that Arkansas was offering their head coaching job with a contract worth $27.5 million over the next 5 years. But everyone did believe that Les Miles would be getting a nice deal out [...]
Les Miles and Steve Ensminger made an in-house visit with 2013 JUCO commit Logan Stokes on Wednesday. They discussed Stokes future at LSU, and how possible it could be for Stokes to start next season.
The LSU Tigers ended any talk surrounding their head coach Les Miles leaving the program after they offered him a raise and added years to his contract, reports USA Today.
"I can tell you that I very much respect those Razorbacks, but I'm an LSU head coach and wil be an LSU head coach for as long as I can be," he said. "We've done some special things here...