The Media Learning Curve: July 31-Aug. 7

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The sports media world was all atwitter this week with the news that ESPN has established some “chilling effect” policy about how its reporters usie Twitters and Facebook as a means to do their jobs — break news (linked here).

Mostly, because it had become a joke, with rumor after rumor being replaced by another inaccurate story to the point where the news-gathering source’s reputation was taking a well-deserved hit.

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When the New York Times (linked here) gets a sniff of something like this, then it really smacks into a s*$&storm, and there’s more explaining to do, more others commenting on it (linked here), and others, of course, merely tweeting more about it, leading to other leagues and networks considering if they’re doing the right thing by adding to the electronic noise of non-news filteration that’s inflitrating our senses like a spilled truckload of manuer on the 405 near the 710 interchange (linked here).

Incredibly, it was wanna-be reporter Ric (no K, thanks) Bucherwho “broke” the news, on his Twitter account, with the tweet: “The hammer just came down, tweeps: ESPN memo prohibiting tweeting info unless it serves ESPN.” Jim Gray wasn’t fast enough. So far, it has probably proven to be the most accurate thing he’s reported on since insisting Kobe Bryant would be traded by the Lakers within days.

What did we learn about this story as it circulated, recirculated and then died an unnatural death because something else brighter and shiner came around? Nothing, just like anything Twitter related.

If you can’t trust the source, why use it? It’s that simple.

Some speculate ESPN did this because it’s been pulling readers away from the other rumors and inuendo that’s commonly reported on ESPN.com. True enough, but for those of us who’ll never use, rely on or acknoweldge Twitters as a news-gathering resource, we can sleep easier knowing nothing we write will be affected by some half-assed texter who has a free account linked to a social network of nimrods who won’t blink because they fear they’ll miss out on the next biggest piece of information to cloud their opinion.

Yes, we’re hatin’ on Twitter. We’re in tech-denial. Go tweet that, sweetie, and let us know who reacts to it.

Other stuff we learned about this week:

== Frank Deford wilst nary a tweet for ESPN (linked here).

== The United Football League has a TV schedule, with ever single game of the four-team charade appearing either on Versus or Mark Cuban’s HD Net (linked here). Who’s brave enough to take the job as the play-by-play man?

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== Fox’s Jay Glazer has gladly grafittied Chris Mortensen’s ESPN tour bus (linked here) and then flashed some Fox gang sign to prove it’s him. What’s Mort supposed to do now, beat him up?

== Do you really need the entire ABC/ESPN NBA schedule? (linked here). Or TNT’s (linked here). Or just the highlights (linked here).

== How will ESPN cover the upcoming US-Mexico kickball game when it doesn’t even have the rights to it? (linked here).

== Who gets the first interview with victim Erin Andrews? Oprah? Diane Sawyer? Does she interview herself, for ESPN? Naw, that’d be too stupid and no information would ever come forth (linked here).

== One of the best lines ever written about Mike Lupica: “Mike Lupica’s ego is to sportswriting what Milton Berle’s (member) is to comedy. (linked here).

== (ALMOST) FINALLY:

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Apparently, when writing for ESPN’s website, you can get away with “pretending” to flip off a Yankee Stadium authentic chair, as Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons does here in an otherwise outstanding tour of the national sports collectors convention in Cleveland (linked here):

== AND FINALLY:

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== Best fake sports story of the week from the Onion (linked here):

Blue Jays GM Confirms There Never Really Was A ‘Roy Halladay’

TORONTO–Responding to criticism that the team should have done more to deal star pitcher Roy Halladay by the trade deadline, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi revealed at a press conference Monday that there was no such person as the alleged six-time All-Star.

Please, guys,” said a defensive Ricciardi, who shopped “Halladay” around to the Phillies and Red Sox, among other teams. “A 6-foot-6, 225-pound pitcher with a 94-mph fastball who plays 200 innings a season? We’re not giving that guy away for just anything, even if he does exist.”

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