Reportedly reporting

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05/16/2013 by anjru0805

This afternoon, former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle passed away from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Soon after, Gary Parrish, a national columnist for CBS Sports, tweeted, “Details on this Dick Trickle thing are wild. Reportedly went to a cemetery, dialed 911, told them where to find his body, then shot himself.”

Using the word ‘reportedly’ is not a Get Out of Jail Free card. ‘Reportedly’ is what you say to your friends before you spill some juicy gossip. It’s a cowardly way of covering your own butt while stirring the pot. It’s lazy, stupid, and all too prevalent among journalists.

Sports journalists are familiar with the idea of reporting something before it happens. How often do we hear about Player X signing with Team Y way before it actually happens? I get it though, as fans, we want to get our hopes up (even though most reports seem to end up being false).

But when a person dies? It’s a little different. Scratch that, it’s a LOT different. Somewhere in Parrish’s head, he thought, “Forget about Trickle’s family or verifying anything, I just want those retweets!” Either that, or he didn’t think at all before pressing ‘Tweet.’ I don’t know which is worse.

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