There's nothing like a LeBron James Decision to remind you how weird and off-putting the world of sports journalism can be in 2014. Sources on sources! Unnamed executives abound! Guarantees that don't go anywhere!
It's enough to make you wonder exactly who you can trust.
I'm not telling you anything new. And as a blogger, where I count on reporters to provide the news that I
steal comment on, it's beyond frustrating to have people I'm supposed to be able to trust constantly mis-speak, run with bad info or just get it flat-out wrong.
I suppose I could go to DYST route. Just throw shit against a wall and see what sticks. If it sticks, great, you look like a genius. And when it doesn't, well, you just say "it was true when I reported it." But, I'd like to keep a modicum of dignity going around these parts.
So when I stopped to think about the sports reporters whose word I take 100%, I realized that list is incredibly short. Granted, not everyone who didn't make the cut is terrible at their job. Some reporters just haven't built up the street cred. Or I haven't seen how they operate in the middle of a scandal or breaking news. They might be great reporters but they just haven't hit the "I trust everything this person is saying implicitly" stage.
For the purposes of this discussion, I'm sticking to college-related reporters. Here's how I decide who makes the list...
Rumors are swirling. Sources are talking. Everyone claims to know what's up.
Who is the reporter I am waiting for to say that a certain piece of news is legit before I feel comfortable writing about it?
Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports: No one strikes more fear into the hearts of a college fanbase than Robinson. If he's reporting on your school, be afraid. Sparta will burn to the ground.
Remember that Yahoo! report on Syracuse basketball drug policy issues from a couple years ago? If it had just been Pat Forde on the byline, I would have chalked it up to yet another SCARE JOURNALISM meant to capitalize on a trendy topic (and in retrospect, considering nothing came of it, it kinda was). But it was the fact that Robinson was on the byline that made it legit.
Brett McMurphy, ESPN: The original "Source," McMurphy is always on point with his college football reports. He was so much better than anyone at ESPN was, they hired him up. Of course, I'm also a little biased here...
Bruce Feldman, FOX Sports: I can't say I necessarily remember an instance when I leaned on Feldmen, I just feel like he's Mr. Dependable in my lineup of Twitter reporters.
And, honestly...my list basically stops there. Like I said, it doesn't mean guys like Jeff Goodman or Gary Parrish or Andy Glockner or Andy Staples aren't good reporters, just means that if I need to ABSOLUTELY KNOW FOR SURE, these are the three college sports reporters I look to.
As for Syracuse Orange-specific news, I think that Mike Waters and Donna Ditota make the cut for me. If I see either of them reporting news, I believe it. They've been at this too long, put up with Boeheim for too long and seen too much off-the-court drama to mess around. Not that I don't think Chris Carlson, Nate Mink and the rest of the Post-Standard young guns aren't legit, I've just got more history with Waters & Ditota.
How bout you? And which reporter would you trust least? And if that answer isn't Darren Rovell...why?
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