SBD/April 1, 2011/Media

Poynter Faculty Fault ESPN For Not Breaking News On Jalen Rose DUI

Rose reportedly did not tell anyone at ESPN about incident for almost three weeks
In their latest contribution to ESPN.com for the Poynter Review Project, McBride & McCombs wrote Detroit's WDIV-NBC breaking the story of Jalen Rose's alleged DUI, and not ESPN, looks bad "on the journalism front, with the perception that ESPN is willing to report on the failings of current athletes but sweeps the failings of its own staff under the rug." Rose, an NBA analyst for ESPN, "apparently didn’t tell anyone at the network about his run-in with the police for almost three weeks." ESPN encourages its talent to "tell their bosses about potentially embarrassing personal issues that might become public," but no written policy "explicitly requires them to come forward." ESPN officials said that they "learned about Rose's arrest" when his agent called Senior VP/Talent Development & Planning Laurie Orlando Tuesday afternoon as WDIV was "preparing to air the story and publish it on its site." ESPN.com posted news of Rose's DUI around 8:45pm ET that night, nearly three hours after WDIV first reported the incident. McBride & McCombs noted a "number of fans have already questioned ESPN’s loyalties on this issue in letters to the Poynter Project mailbag." It was "obviously a story ESPN should have reported first," but until there is "clarity in contracts and policies, this likely will happen again, given the number of on-air and online talent that ESPN employs." McBride & McCombs added, "In addition to creating policy, ESPN’s response to Rose’s concealment of the DUI citation will go a long way in communicating to other ESPN personalities what the network’s expectations really are" (ESPN.com, 3/31).

ROSE EXPLAINS THE INCIDENT: Rose in a statement released Wednesday said that "his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit" last month "when his car went off an icy Detroit-area road and he was issued a citation for drunken driving." Rose said, "I regret the decision to drive home that evening and am grateful that no one was hurt in the accident. I apologize to my family, my employer and each and every one of my supporters for my lapse in judgment. ... I accept full responsibility for my actions and look forward to a resolution of the legal matter as soon as possible" (ESPN.com, 3/30).

BANNER QUARTER: ESPN announced that the network had its best ratings and viewership numbers ever for the quarter ending March 28, according to Nielsen. ESPN also set record highs for its 24-hour rating each of the months in Q1. ESPN averaged a 0.9 rating, representing an average of 1,076,000 viewers, up 17% from the previous record set last year. The net averaged a record 854,000 HHs, up 14% from last year's previous best. ESPN attributes the boosts to the addition of the BCS and larger audiences for the NBA (ESPN).
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