Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rush to print hurts daily sports journalism

The crawler across the bottom of the ESPN broadcast Saturday claimed Notre Dame was going to announce its next football coach today.

The report had its roots in The Chicago Sun-Times, and football fans figured the newspaper got the story straight.

I didn't.

I harbor no ill-will toward The Sun-Times; I have had many friends who have worked there. It's a good newspaper -- one with a storied past, a daily with a reputation for excellence, a staple in the Windy City media history.

In hearing the Notre Dame report, I sensed immediately that The Sun-Times had followed the lead of so many newspapers today: It rushed to publish.

I have no way of knowing who the unnamed source of its Notre Dame story was -- not that the source's name mattered. What does matter is that the newspaper reported a story on its website without having all the pieces together, which explains why it later pulled the story.

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