By Gavin Davis, columnist
In the world of pop culture, the term “Twitter fingers” was recently coined by a certain Jewish Toronto-based rapper. For those who might not be familiar with it, Drake’s new phrase refers to someone acting foolishly or making absurd claims on social media websites such as Twitter. This Twitter tomfoolery has a large-scale impact in the world of sports. As recently as the latest professional basketball off-season, fans of the NBA saw the impact of reporting on a topic too early without a strong source.
DeAndre Jordan, the current center for the Los Angeles Clippers, was reported having agreed to sign with the Clippers’ Western Conference rival: the Dallas Mavericks. However, after a change of heart, Jordan was unsure if he wanted to take his talents to Dallas or stay in the City of Angels.
In light of the indecision of the 7-foot big man, a swarm of reports came in regarding Jordan’s decision and what the NBA franchises were doing to sign him.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard, a well-established reporter for the network, came under serious scrutiny during the Jordan fiasco when the credibility of his sources seemed questionable.
Broussard tweeted that Mavericks’ Owner Mark Cuban had been driving around Jordan’s hometown of Houston desperately trying to find his address. Cuban called out Broussard, saying the reports were completely false and additionally offering $100,000 to the charity of Broussard’s choice if he named his source.
Ultimately, Broussard issued an apology and attempted to lay the story to rest. However, this story is just one of hundreds of examples regarding the lack of credibility of reporting via social media.
Often, the goal for many reporters in sports is to be the first to break the hottest developing story as a means of gaining notoriety for themselves or the news bodies they represent. It is a rat race to who can get the newest, but not necessarily truest, story.
Thanks to social media styling, many online reporters face little responsibility. Tweets can be deleted, sources can be disputed and rumors can fly. Those who do tweet or post online about a false or inaccurate story are doing more harm to themselves than they are to the public. The stigma that comes along with an inaccurate report is one that is hard to shake, and it could potentially be the undoing of a career in journalism. When giving information to the public, sports related or not, it is better to be correct than it is to be first. There is an analogy about the tortoise and the hare in here, but I’ll spare you the cliché.
– Gavin Davis, a journalism major at Northeastern, can be reached at Sports@HuntNewsNU.com.