While this site does post reports from outside entities, many incorrect, , I think they do a good job of making it clear where and from whom the original report came from and makes no claims as to their accuracy.. During coaching searches, speculation is part of the fun. I enjoy reading other articles, substantiated or not. At this time of year, with all of the cloak and dagger interviews, you have to take every article and report with a grain of salt, regardless of where they come from. Some schools intentionally leak misinformation in order to distract from the true path they are taking. Speculation is what makes this time of year and National Signing Day interesting..
(NOTE — Some of you will read the headline to this story and skip straight to the comment boxes without stopping to read what’s actually written here. This isn’t a knock on fans or on other media members. It’s a knock on the current system of information delivery that we’ve all become accustomed to. And we couldn’t possibly make it any clearer that we include ourselves as part of the problem right along with everyone else. Please read what’s actually written, as this is an issue much bigger than sports.)
Welcome to the future of news coverage, folks. Everyone’s now a reporter. And most reporters — even the real ones — no longer live by the standards they once prescribed to.
With four coaching searches going on in the SEC this offseason, it’s been laughably difficult to follow much of anything that’s really going on out there. God bless Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart for just grabbing a coordinator and moving forward… making everyone’s life at least 1/4 easier.
We have a theory here at MrSEC.com regarding the amount of bad information that’s been out there these past couple of weeks. It’s one theory with five parts. And here it and they are:
1. Coaching searches can best be described as fluid.
One minute a candidate might have an offer on the table from School Y, but by the time that info is leaking to the press and getting posted to the web or airing on ESPN, School X might have put forth a bigger offer. Or the coach might have changed his mind. Or School Y might have heard back from another candidate it liked better than the fallback option offered earlier. What’s actually correct right now might not be correct in five minutes.
2. We are addicted to information in short bursts.
As a society, we no longer want accurate reporting if it means we’ll have to wait a few hours to read up on a subject. Information is simply a new form of entertainment, a constant feed of blurbs, posts, and tweets that kill time until some AD steps to a podium and actually introduces a coach. Truth? Just gimme something to read, Dude.
3. Never before has it been easier for schools, coaches and agents to float bad info.
Negotiations now take place out in the open. Fan reaction is used as leverage by ADs, coaches and their agents. Websites that actually help coaches find new jobs have started providing “news” feeds, as if that’s not a massive conflict of interest. Bad information — or at the very least “spin” — is rampant.
4. “News” can now be delivered by wannabes, liars and trolls.
Everyone is now the media. Got internet access? Then you are the media if you choose to post on a messageboard or on Twitter or in some comment box. In some ways that’s a good thing. In many other ways that’s a very bad thing. Wannabes — people who want to seem more in the know than they actually are — can share gossip and rumors that may or may not have a single grain of truth attached to them. Liars are those folks who enjoy sharing misinformation simply to see the reaction of others. Oh, they’re out there. We’ve had pranksters admit to us that they’ve posted bad info on messageboards for kicks. We’ve also seen that fans from one school can drop into the messageboard area of a website catering to a rival fanbase. These trolls lob grenades of bad data towards their enemies and then chortle at the fallout.
5. The traditional media will now race to be first rather than work to be correct.
Those of us with a background in the traditional media — TV, radio, newspaper, internet websites — have dropped the ball. As consumers’ standards have fallen, our reporting standards have dropped as well. Most try to get good information and report with accuracy, but speed is now more important than ever. The old adage states that a news person would rather be right than first. No more. Now the goal is to be right and first… and in racing to be first, getting the story right sometimes takes a backseat. Instead of finding three sources for a story, now someone might only need two before running with a story. Instead of needing two sources, another media member might feel good to go with the info provided by one. Hoping like hell, of course, that that one source is both informed and honest.
Add it all up and we’ve entered a new age when it’s difficult to know who in the media to trust. That’s because we’re all media now, after all. And would you trust every Tom, Dick or Harry you met on the street?
This issue isn’t limited to college football coaching searches, of course. This problem exists in our coverage of actual news and politics, too.
And it should scare the hell out of all of us. Consumers need to demand more, but they’re addicted to the daily info-stream. We in the media should be just as diligent as ever, but instead we’ve always got one eye on the clock.
Sadly, it looks to us like things will only get worse in the future, not better. To heck with being first or right about that one. On that one, we hope we’re wrong.