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WSJ Throws Dart To Decide BCS Quote Attribution?

Monday, November 17, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 5:26 PM, under ,

Athens, GA (Nov 17, 2008) - As reported a little while ago, Fox Sports issued a statement that they are withdrawing from the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rights negotiations for 2010-2014. While there were no quotes in the statement released by Fox Sports. Wall Street Journal reporter Matthew Futterman decided to attribute the statement as a quote from Fox Sports' Lou D'Ermilio.






























How one attribute a quote from a statement that was released as follows is a head scratcher:

Urgent: FOX Sports Statement on BCS Rights Negotiations

FOX Sports has elected not to match an offer the BCS Group has received from ESPN to televise BCS games from 2011-2014, and plans to notify the organization by phone today.

Even with today’s vast economic uncertainties, FOX Sports made a very competitive bid to keep broadcasting BCS games free to every home in America, one that included a substantial rights fee increase, and certainly as much as any over-the-air network could responsibly risk. Unfortunately, the University presidents and BCS commissioners were not satisfied and they’ve decided to take their jewel events to pay television. We wish everyone well.

Contact:

Lou D’Ermilio – 212/XXX-XXXX
Dan Bell – 310/XXX-XXXX
If a non-mainstream media blogger had incorrectly attributed a quote like this, it would be held up as a shining example of why bloggers are not journalists. So what do you call it when a journalist does it?

Currently have 3 comments:

  1. Mark says:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/business/nation/story/776055.html

    This writer clearly states the email came from Lou.
    Are you SURE about this?

  1. The email did not come from Lou, but from a generic email address at Fox Sports. I received the email as well, and examined the full message header. There is no indication that it ever came from Lou's desk or computer.

    The only explanation I can come up with is that it is an acceptable journalistic practice to attribute a quote to the media contact listed in the release? But if that were the case, why did they not attribute the quote to Dan Bell, who was also listed as a contact in the e-mail?

    Tell you what, I will ask Lou if the quote was correctly attributed to him or not.

  1. Here is what happened. Lou did speak to each of them on the phone, and FORWARDED them the release, which is what showed as being "from him".

    The AP reporter in question in the link you included above also chose to attribute the link to him, when he wrote:

    "Even with today's vast economic uncertainties, Fox Sports made a very competitive bid to keep broadcasting BCS games free to every home in America, one that included a substantial rights fee increase, and certainly as much as any over-the-air network could responsibly risk," Fox spokesman Lou D'Ermilio e-mailed (emphasis added)."

    "Unfortunately, the University presidents and BCS commissioners were not satisfied and they've decided to take their jewel events to pay television," D'Ermilio said in an e-mail statement emphasis added. "We wish everyone well."


    This is where the problem is. The reporters were not sent an email from Lou saying those words. They were forwarded a copy of the statement, which included no attribution for the quote, only contact names.

    It may be just the way AP and WSJ do business, but it is misleading at best.

    Here is a link to the Futterman story.

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