Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lack of Ethics from Oklahoma City Broadcast and Print Media on SI Investigative Report on OSU Football Program

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.  SPJ Code of Ethics

Last weekend the University of Oklahoma Journalism celebrated their Centennial which I had the pleasure of attending with my youngest daughter who is a graduate of the Gaylord School of Journalism and Mass Communications with a degree in Journalism.  She wrote for the OU Daily newspaper for several years and they had to meet ethics standards in their articles.  During her time at Gaylord, ethics was a big part of her education. Even at graduation, Dean Foote said that he would hunt any graduate down who didn't wrote things that were not true and ignored ethics.  On the first panel was one of the Ethics professors who talked about how important it is to be accurate not first.  

It is a shame that our local media not only sports but broadcast/print chose to take the side of Oklahoma State University to debunk the writers including the lead writer who has broken stories like this before, Dohrmann, and Evans who helped with some of the background on the 5-part SI article on Oklahoma State Football which is devastating to OSU.  Especially egregious was Channel 4 where even today on their website they went after the messenger Thayer Evans never acknowledging that there might be a problem at OSU.  One OSU homer on the radio declared that they were wrong and then went on to talk about how he was paid.  It was like 'what?.'  OSU former players that had been interviewed and were on tape came out saying they had never talked to them.  Dohrmann who wrote 100% of the story is an investigative sports journalism with a Pulitzer.  If you remember The OSU and Jim Tressel, think Dohrmann.  

Didn't do a blog yesterday because the story was moving so fast and by last night the story had morphed into as a splinter of the original story on the lack of ethics of the Oklahoma City media. Instead of waiting, they jumped immediately without the facts to the defense of Oklahoma State.  They are still at today when Part II came out about the cheating scandal on academics to include not showing up for class, getting grades changed, other people doing their papers for them, passing students who were basically illiterate and the list goes on.  One of their players had a 4.0 average and scored a 7 on the Wonderlic test for the NFL.  That's impossible.  (Just took it and scored a 39) Another player was named academic all-Big 12 when he didn't go to class and frankly is not that literate when he talks.

Their advisory group wouldn't let players take hard majors putting them into sociology without their permission.  One player was asked to come to the board and write the word House and he wrote three letters for the word house.  Several players said some of the recruits who play for OSU were illiterate. Remember this is the home of Dexter Manley of the Washington Redskins who got his degree from OSU and couldn't read or write.  Seems some things don't change except having a big donor Boone Pickens who many have wrote has bought and paid for the athletic department picking the Athletic Director and the Head Football Coach.

Living in Oklahoma especially Norman the home of the University of Oklahoma, a lot of us took great interest in the Sports Illustrated Investigative Journalism piece breaking on Oklahoma State in Stillwater which has been on a meteoric rise since Pickens started donated under Les Miles who is now at LSU. Despite what many of their fans and the local media are saying, University of Oklahoma has had much better control of their athletic program.  They moved the Compliance Department to the Legal Department after the Bomar incident where he and another Sooner were taking money from Big Red Sports for work not performed.  Our coaches hit the ceiling and kicked them off and kicked the donor out of having anything to do with OU.  If I remember right is was three people involved.  Bomar was to be our starting quarterback in a few weeks but that didn't make Coach Stoops any difference -- he was gone.  Now compliance at OU checks to make sure athletes are in class and does grade checks for all athletes.  There are plenty of advisers for athletes but they don't do their work for them.  They are there to help like in the Writing Centers for all students.

The local Oklahoma City Media crucified the Sooner football program like it was standard operating procedure when they knew it wasn't but that didn't keep the so-called journalist from reporting false information on the air and in print.  We didn't know how bad the local media was not only sports but in news reporting until SI broke the first of five parts on OSU.  The media for the most part went into full protection mode with some saying one of the people involved was an OU grad when he never took a course at OU, then they called him a homer forgetting that he went after OU big time for Bomar with some nasty articles.  What difference do the facts make to today's OKC Journalist and I can throw in Tulsa as well after learning what some of their reporters are saying blaming the messanger not OSU?

Actually joined a new site after this came out today:
Tuesday: The day credible print and electronic journalism died in Oklahom****
My sympathies to the good people of the OKC Metro. 
Certainly, journalism itself is speculative enough these days. 
But the absolute fact-less haste with which most, if not all, of your print and electronic media fell all over themselves to deconstruct the SI series should scare the **** out of all of you. 
The vapid nature of their arguments is priceless in its thoughtlessness: The sources are all disgruntled and thus not credible. Really? And Josh Fields, a source alleged to have received an improper benefit, is somehow more credible? Jesus, are any of you dumb enough to buy that one? Neither is credible alone - they must be judged in light of accompanying testimony and what they have to lose or gain. It's what juries do in American courtrooms every single day.
Read More at Land Thieves

This my reply to the article:
Signed up today to post on this thread. My daughter is a graduate of ****lord College of Journalism -- we attended the Centennial Celebration of Journalism at OU last weekend. They had one of their ethics journalism professors talk about the state of ethics in journalism who was very good about the need for journalist who feel they need to be first not accurate. Oklahoma City journalists missed that part about being accurate on the OSU story. At one session Linda Cavenaugh of Channel 4 was part of a team with Bart Conner who interviewed alumni of journalism at OU about their experiences. Took away from that how they learned from their professors the right and wrong way to report on stories. Then this morning after hearing about Channel 4 last night, I read an article on their site attacking Thayer and dissing SI for being wrong (made me) decide that Channel 4 had the most blatant homer article for OSU I have ever seen. My first thought was what did Cavenaugh think of the article about OSU and Channel 4's reporting. 
Don't remember the media being so supportive of OU over Bomar or Kelvin Sampson. Stoops kicked Bomar off the team with his side kick immediately and OU self reported what was happening. They took action and corrected the problem but I don't remember the OKC media backing OU -- remember them attacking Stoops that he should have known what was going on. Can someone explain to me why the news media here is in the hip pocket of OSU? Even asked on another forum if Pickens was paying them out of frustration with what I was reading and hearing.  
When we were transferred to OK in Jan 97, thought the media left a lot to be desired but over the years have seen the bias in OKC get worse not better.  
My more than two cents on my first post here.
This was a reply to what I had to say:
What's bottom line discouraging about all this, from an OKC journalistic perspective, is that professionally none of them should have engaged in any credibility speculation until the entire series was out. The fact they did screams bias - or potentially journoenvy, for getting their ****es kicked on a huge story in their backyard - and is the definition of unethical behavior that PKM lays out. If you're going to trip over yourself to opine like that without the entire piece, you forfeit your right to report on it. 
And to be clear, I give sports radio a p**** on this one. Traber, Eschbach and the like are not news reporters. But some of what I've seen in print and from the TV news is shamefully bereft of even basic ethical journalistic standards, so much so that it actually deserves some of the bull**** ideological rants that this board can crank out on my profession. 
The speculation should be left to the fans. Don't know how any of my Oklahoma friends could have any faith whatsoever in the impartiality and credibility of the OKC media - including some allegedly OU-focused media - after this, if you ever did. 
We are not talking just sports media but actual anchors on TV and in print who are not sports reporters  It was sickening last night to see them attack SI and their investigative journalists.  No wonder we don't get true stories about fracking or oil problems here if we cannot get them about sports.

There are some people who should be fired for what they have said over the last two days and tomorrow is another part being released.  It is a travesty to the SPJ Code of Ethics because these people have zero ethics and now the OKC Media not only is going to get a black eye but their credibility is shot.  Some of the comments have led most of us to believe they have been covering up a lot for OSU over the years.

They have former assistant coaches on record at SI confirming all of this, but our local OKC media continues to shoot at the messenger ignoring facts.  Shameful, black week in the annuals of Oklahoma City and some Tulsa media.  They should all be fired as the truth is released.  The two investigative reporters who have recorded the conversations will not talk to local media until the full five parts are out.  Lack of ethics should get them fired IMHO!   Will never take The Oklahoman again until they get credible journalist and with the new conservative owner that is probably not going to happen.  Also not Channel 4 or Channel 9 again until they replace some of the on-air personalities for lack of ethics.

My more then two cents about lack of ethics of so many of Oklahoma's Media -- kind of like watching Fox News and listening to Hannity.  They have officially jumped the shark.

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