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SBD/November 25, 2013/Media
ESPN Ombudsman Examines Sourcing Dispute Between ESPN, San Antonio Reporter
Published November 25, 2013
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WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: McMurphy "doesn't dispute the fact that Zwerneman's blogs alerted him to the Cook quote or the story." But he "saw no reason to offer attribution ... because he independently interviewed Cook by phone 'for 10 or 15 minutes' as well as other sources." Lipsyte wrote the situation involves a "gray area and the dismissive attitude of McMurphy and his manager," ESPN Senior News Editor Chuck Salituro. Salituro has been at ESPN "for 19 years, and, before that, spent 17 years at The Milwaukee Journal, including five as sports editor." Salituro said, "This is not about crediting news; it's about two reporters getting the same quote. Brett didn't steal the quote. He wanted to show he did his own interview. I don't consider this story a news break. Nobody has been more diligent in crediting others than Brett because he was a 'victim' of ESPN's old policies of taking credit for a story as soon as we confirmed it." Lipsyte: "Nevertheless, I think there's a flag on this play. I disagree with Salituro that it's only about two reporters getting the same quote. Why would McMurphy call the Aggies' Cook in the first place if he hadn't been alerted by Zwerneman's reporting?" McMurphy "might have slightly advanced the story by confirming it and adding some background of his own, but a tip of his hat would have been ethically proper" (ESPN.com, 11/22).