Headlines can deceive, even though they shouldn’t

22 Feb

I don’t usually look at the sports section in a newspaper, so it took me a while to fully analyze what was wrong with this story.

Pete Prisco may have to relearn what it means to be a journalist. First of all, he cited one of his sources as “one player.” To me, this is just poor journalism ethics. If you aren’t going to name a sources, their quotes may as well be considered off the record. The fact that he named a few other players and didn’t name one of them seems a little suspicious to me.

The headline for this story is a bit over-dramatic. Not only is it over-dramatic, it is also misleading. It is based merely on the opinions of a few of the Falcons players. Apparently not all of the Falcons members were upset; Coach Mike Smith even congratulated Drew Brees on his new record. Even if the Falcons were upset, they could have stopped Brees if they really wanted to. They’re football players, for crying out loud. Whether Brees “tainted” Dan Marino’s record or not, he broke it fair and square, and these players can be as bitter as they want (if all of them actually were, which I don’t believe after reading Prisco’s story).

Just two days ago, ESPN fired former writer Anthony Federico for writing a misleading headline about basketball player Jeremy Lin.  Writing headlines like these, and like Prisco’s, just doesn’t show journalistic integrity.

After reading this, I don’t think the author of the NFL article should have even linked to Pete Prisco’s. Prisco took a story that didn’t have much of a story in it and made it a biased journalistic piece. That is, if you can call it journalistic. A headline should give an overview of what actually  happened in a story, not over-dramatize it.

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