When Professional News Gets Lazy
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Social media has made legitimate news reporting lazy. I cannot find any more information about this story in professional news articles than I can find beyond this post. It’s an entire basketball team, yet there are only two overly-repeated photos of the “Knee-Grow” and “Coon” jerseys. Coon is a credible enough last name, I have a hard time explaining Knee Grow in any sanitized sense. The comments on the league’s pages were well below what I’d consider sportsmanlike conduct.  But zero references to the other team member jerseys. The same three images are recycled on just about every single news item I found, which tells me no one, besides the original FB poster, went and did any actual homework, outside of getting a league statement.

Wet Dream Team is indeed low-brow, and I can’t see how that got past the rec league officials when they registered. On its own, I would have found it snarkishly funny, as a pubescent boys’ team moniker. It is a rec team, so maybe the rules are looser? Or at the very least, the community itself didn’t have a problem with the humor. But I do want to learn more about the team makeup, the other jersey names, and would love to hear the coach Walt Gill’s statement, if there is one, before I go all-in to the swell of accusations of outrageous racism. After all, I see no indication from any outlet that they have bothered make sure this wasn’t fake news, besides getting a statement from league president Ben Goodyear.

Recycling Social Media Posts as News Stories

Tony Rue on Facebook
Tony Rue on Facebook

I have no qualms with Tony Rue. Like the rest of us, he shared what he saw with his own opinions. Social media is just that, social. However, mainstream news outlets and professional news organizations have been flooding their own feeds with nothing more than regurgitations of Tony’s own post. I expect a professional organization to hold higher standards. 

The Price We Pay?

Which is why I feel that we do have to be our own source of news. If the corporate news agencies are simply going to piggy-back our stories for profit, without doing any further due diligence, we have to do two things. 

  1. Step up our own investigative journalism game. If we are becoming reliable sources of information for a global audience, then we should at least become reliable. We should feel responsible to present as much truth and facts as we can with our limited resources and access.
  2. Take better control of our own contributions.  Tony is barely ever mentioned in any of the news agency re-posts. Instead of giving him credit, outlets are referring to his own words as though they were generically used by many people. In most cases, I wasn’t able to find any link back to an original source. I had to independently search Facebook to reverse-engineer the source. 

If NBC/Universal, McClatchy, NewsCorp et al are going to rake in billions of dollars from the work of unpaid amateurs, we amateurs are going to have to look out for ourselves, and our own kind. Because of stories like this, I’m already taking steps to do so.

Update : Direct references to Rue’s post have now been included in many of the sources since I started this post.

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