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The league
Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 07/29/2011

Checking sources in the NFL’s Twitter frenzy

It's come out recently that some bloggers jump a little too fast on Twitter information and fail to check their facts before reporting them.

At issue is Jared Tokarz — who tweets as @NFLDrafInsider — who was following Jason Schreier, a free-lancer who writes for Wired.com. Schreier noticed this blogger would re-tweet everything he said verbatim. So he set the guy up.

Question the morality if you want, but sometimes the ends do justify the means. Jason Schreier noticed Tokarz fired off rumours with no reservations, quoting no sources or looking for confirmation. So Schreier planted false information , and the bait was taken. Schreier posted the false info about Pat Devlin going to the Arizona Cardinals as fact, and failing to check the facts, Tokarz fired it off on his @NFLDraftInsider account. To make matters worse, other people took that information and ran with it too, namely @CBSSportsNFL and retweeted by eight others! None of which bothered to check their facts.

The blogger defended himself saying his info is always 100 percent correct except for fake facts that were planted, but he failed to learn his lesson: this was pointed out by Andy Staples, who when asked, replied

My advice: Don't plagiarize random tips. Check information. RT @NFLDraftInsider: Nevermind, wanted advice but it's fine. Thanks.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

The advice fell on deaf ears; “Never mind, wanted advice, but its fine”.

What this all does is bring up a never-ending debate on the limits and boundaries that make up the world we know of blogging. This man’s excuse on one of his tweets claimed “By the way, I’m not a journalist, just wanted to tell fans their teams info..”

He failed to understand that because he is not paid by the Associated Press or another news organization, that does not mean he’s not a journalist, or subject to the same rules and ethics that people that do what he does are expected to live by.

Dictionary.com defines journalism as “the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business. Blogging, even as a simple hobby, is journalism. Some people will use that as a crutch to excuse their failure to follow the rules of their craft/hobby.

Anyone who reports news or news events has a moral and ethical duty to take a few moments to research the information before passing it on. To not do so is a disservice to not only the recipients of the news, but the company or blog one is contributing to. Inaccurate facts, half truths, or sloppy/lazy reporting sully the reputation of the entity bloggers are trying to build up.

Newspaper subscriptions are on a constant decline, and more and more sports fans are going to turn to blogs for their specific news needs. This kind of black eye is exactly what blogs do not need; whether you consider yourself a blogger or not, we all have a responsibility to keep the integrity of our medium on the up and up, or soon none of us will be considered journalists — whether we want to be or not.

By Nick Houllis  |  11:15 AM ET, 07/29/2011

Tags:  Nick Houllis

 
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