- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
ESPN evolves with new media
“Trying to cover these businesses can present a natural conflict, and ESPN’s doing it on a big level with a lot of money at stake,” said Kelly McBride, an ethics-group leader at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for professional journalists.
ESPN executives acknowledged potential conflict but said their reporters are told to aggressively cover leagues, teams and players.
Officials also cite the network’s investigative series “Outside the Lines” and the fact that many of ESPN’s reporters come from the ranks of traditional journalism.
“On one hand, we’re the largest business partner of sports organizations, teams and so forth in the world,” said Vince Doria, ESPN’s senior vice president and director of news, himself a former editor for the Boston Globe. “On the other hand, I think we are one of the most aggressive news-gathering entities in the sports landscape. Some might look at that and say those things don’t seem compatible, and maybe if you were inventing it right now, you’d think about it differently.”
ESPN was criticized this year for airing a reality series that chronicled the daily routine of San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds.
Airing the “Bonds on Bonds” show made ESPN a business partner with the controversial slugger at a time when he also was under intense scrutiny for accusations of steroid use and for his pursuit of the all-time home run record.
“That was a bad judgment,” said Christopher Hanson, a professor of journalism ethics at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. “They sort of created their own conflict of interest by doing that.”
Mr. Doria said the network avoided ethical problems with the “Bonds on Bonds” series by forbidding reporting on any information gathered during the production of the show.
“There’s a pretty strong ethic to not allow the business side to interfere with the editorial side,” Mr. Doria said. “This is how it evolved for 27 years now, and I think we manage it pretty well.”
Battling to be the best
ESPN is the most dominant sports network on television, but, as the emergence of the new college networks shows, the battle for programming rights is ultracompetitive and ultraexpensive.
ESPN’s deal with the National Football League, for example, is worth $1.1 billion each year — just to televise one regular-season game per week.
The rights to NASCAR were so expensive that ESPN could afford only the final 17 races on the 38-event schedule, plus Busch Series events.
Some analysts predict the company’s operating income will be flat next year as it takes on the first year of the new massive contracts.
About the Author
- First Down: Best weekend bets
- SportsBiz: What the next decade holds
- Shifting sands for NCAA
- Monumental sports year will connect fans on a global scale
- SportsBiz: Selling a new career
Latest Blog Entries
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Activists encourage Obama to circumvent Congress, use more executive authority
- Obama lived with Uncle Onyango Obama in the 1980s, White House admits
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!