Letter to Romenesko
From KURT FRANCK, executive editor, Toledo Blade: There has been some back-and-forth debate today about old vs. new media as it relates to a sports story reported by deadspin.com and The Blade/toledoblade.com. Some may view our newspaper as “old media” — we prefer “traditional” — but we also have a Web site that is updated around-the-clock. We have several blogs and we break news. To assume our method of reporting is only to be found in the printed edition is inaccurate and a stereotype that “new” media supporters need to move past. We are “new” media, too.
Deadspin.com and toledoblade.com reported early Tuesday about a texting scandal as being the root cause of a University of Toledo track coach’s resignation in January. Deadspin posted the story at 2:45 a.m.; toledoblade.com posted the story at 7:13 a.m. With the quotes and details provided in the Ryan Autullo article on toledoblade.com, there was no way that he could have followed the Deadspin story, as some have suggested. It is clear the Deadspin reporter and The Blade/toledoblade.com reporter were working on the story simultaneously, as they were published within hours of one another. For those online between 2:45 a.m. and 7:13 a.m., Deadspin did give Web users a head start of a few hours on reading about this coach’s texting problems.
Both stories have different styles, written for their respective audiences, but they each get the point across that the track coach sent inappropriate texts to at least one of his athletes. Credit goes to Blade sports reporter Ryan Autullo for developing good sources and for getting on-the-record interviews with both the ex-coach and the athlete who brought the sexual harassment charges. And credit to Deadspin reporter Doug Brown for the lengthy piece he wrote, the long list of text exchanges he shared, and his ability to include full content of some of the more profane texts that were sent, reflecting again the different audiences for the two Web sites.
I don’t view this issue as old vs. new media, but rather, more traditional media finding a way to gain equal footing with a growing online, up-to-the minute reporting. We are well aware that news doesn’t wait until tomorrow morning, and we intend to break the news when we have it confirmed, even if it is 7:13 a.m.