Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Anonymous Tipster"

While reading the IRA story in the USRowing 2006 Yearbook this evening, I came across this passage:

In the ensuing days and weeks, however, research by an anonymous tipster revealed that park records indicated that the dam was opened during racing, which would create unequal flow conditions across the course; a follow up investigation by the ECAC confirmed the information.

The anonymous tipster is, of course, yours truly. Yes, it would have been nice to see the FITD name mentioned, but the important point is that the truth was printed. Almost as important, I think, is that this article was written by Ed Hewitt of row2k. Although Ed and I traded emails about the dam when I discovered the true situation, he never corrected his initial story on row2k stating that the dam was closed. I always felt this was unethical and beneath the fine work he does for rowing (yes, I do contribute to row2k), and I'm glad to see him correct it, even if it was in a different forum. Ed has a serious problem with anyone writing anonymously, and with blogs in general, so I know it wasn't easy for him to write this passage, but he did it. (I find his concerns about blogs particularly interesting given that row2k is one of the oldest blogs on the web. Think about it - row2k is a daily diary of links. That's called a link blog.)

Rowing News, however, is a different matter. Although they finally printed a single letter to the editor about the IRA dam, they simply said they received a lot of those letters but never admitted they printed inaccurate information. They only admitted they had Cornell's lane wrong, which I also pointed out to them. I've been lectured in the past by Chip Davis about the difference between journalists and bloggers and the longer Rowing News goes without printing the truth (they never will now, of course), the clearer that difference becomes. Rowing News apparently has no fact checkers while bloggers have their readers as fact checkers. I'm really trying not to belabor this thing (too late, huh?), but I took a lot of grief from the "mainstream rowing media" over this story (as well as from several readers) and it really burns me up that they don't have the moral backbone to chalk this one up to experience and correct it. A silver lining, however, is the fact that the ECAC admitted the problem right away so we can believe that they will take steps to avoid a replay. While criticizing me for my anonymous status, I sometimes wonder if rowing's journalists don't enjoy their "known" status a bit too much when they pal around with the officials, referees, and coaches whose pronouncements they accept as truth. It would be hard to write about an open dam at IRAs if I was worried about losing my press pass and officials' party invitation in 2007.

Sometimes people, even anonymous ones, have no ulterior motives, they simply give of their time to try to better a sport they love.

Technorati Tags:

No comments: