FanPost

Should major sports news outlets trumpet stories without sources? (Poll)

I clicked over to ESPN and saw their front page story: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard want to play together!

What could it mean?! Dwight to the Clips? CP3 to the Lakers? Both to Portland?!?!?one!

I didn't even have to click on the story to see one of my least favorite phrases in reporting:

"ACCORDING TO SOURCES."

As someone who worked at both a newspaper and a magazine, it was pretty important that if we wrote something, we were able to back it up with a verifiable source. Our stories needed to withstand some basic level of scrutiny, presumably by someone trying hard to disprove what you wrote. Fail to meet that standard, and your story didn't print.

So as I waded through not one, not two, not three, but TEN references to one "source" or another, it got me to wonder: should sports outlets limit these kinds of stories? Is it clear that any semi-respected writer could literally make something up based on what he thinks is likely and, as long as his stories pan out every now and again, get away with generating hundreds of thousands of clicks without actually reporting anything?

Or are anonymous sources a time-tested and important part of journalism, allowing information to get to the public that would otherwise be locked behind closed doors?

Waddya think?

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