Friday, December 22, 2006

Scott Wolf "Maybe" or "May Be" a Bad Reporter

A few college football reporters, including USC troublemaker … I mean, beat writer … Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News, told us that Norm Chow (right) made a disparaging comment about Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, the two “young guns” who together hold what used to be Chow’s job as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at USC.

Wrote Wolf in his “blog”:
Former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow was interviewed on 570-AM today.
Here's a couple quotes: […]

On offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and assistant coach Steve Sarkisian:

"I know (UCLA defensve coordinator) DeWayne Walker may be better than both of those guys.''
USC fans who don’t know any better might consider this an outstanding piece of reporting by Wolf. The problem is there are those of us who do know better … like anyone who heard the interview with their own ears.

Listen* to Chow’s statement, and it is very clear that Chow is actually attempting to articulate only that he knows Walker better than Kiffin and Sarkisian, not that he thinks Walker is better than USC’s “dynamic duo.”

At least one reader of Wolf’s “blog” accurately interpreted the meaning of Chow’s statement:
"I [personally] know DeWayne Walker MAYBE better than [either] of those guys [know DeWayne] (as Chow coached a year w/ him), and DeWayne's one heck of a football coach, and that's why it wasn't too surprising when Dewayne did what he did with UCLA".
Perhaps, Wolf could learn something from his ugla counterpart, Brian Dohn, who also writes a blog for the Daily News. Unlike Wolf, Dohn occasionally responds to his readers' comments. And apparently, unlike Wolf, Dohn checks multiple sources before writing a post.
All I can do is speak for myself and my philosophy. I treat my blog like an extension of a newspaper story. I do not run items without multiple sources confirming the story. I never did, and never will, deal with rumor in a newspaper story I write, or a blog entry I make. I will get beaten on a story before I will write something I did not confirm to be accurate. That is my approach. It always has been, and always will be.
Of course, in the case of Chow’s radio interview, the only sources Wolf had to check were his two ears and perhaps his brain. Not very reliable, apparently.

Anyway, all this points to a possible reason why Division I athletic directors continue to pass on Chow for open head coaching spots. Perhaps he doesn’t speak definitively enough … that is, with enough authority and clarity. Chow’s careless use of an ambiguous word “maybe” doesn’t sound like someone willing to make tough, program-altering decisions.

Take out the “maybe” and Chow’s words can’t be misconstrued, even by a beat writer with an agenda:

"I know DeWayne Walker may be better than both of those guys.''

Sure, this is nitpicking, but sometimes the little details make all the difference. Certainly, good reporters understand this. It’s too bad Wolf isn’t one of them.

Fight On! Beat the Wolverines!

* Download the interview.


cindy said...

I agree with you, DP. I read Wolf's blog frequently, mostly for the widely varied, and many times hilarious comments to his postings.

I know that he is an alum and a long-time beat writer, but instead of an unbiased and in-depth look at the world of Trojan athletics, there seems to be an air of negativity and a continual attempt to create conspiracies where there are none. Why?? Any insight into this, anyone??

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that this is the same guy who voted West Virginia 1st for the majority of the season.

Anonymous said...

OK I should try to explain this.

I spend alot of time on the Scott Wolf site. He advertises himself as "the scourge of internet posters" and that is what he likes to do. He likes to bait the internet "Geeks" by confusing information a little or dropping a word here or there to start an argument. I have seen some REALLY stupid threads on there, arguing about things that have nothing to do at all with USC football. There are imposters everywhere using other people's nicks and kicking up the confusion/stupidity even more, and of course Scott Wolf loves it all.

Displaced Trojan said...

Anonymous (@ 7:42 PM):

No need to explain. Most sane people understand that he tries to bait his "blog" readers. And, I have been a victim of an imposter stealing my nickname there, so that's nothing new.

There are idiots conversing on blogs everywhere, so Wolf's group is like shooting fish in a barrel for him. Good to know he's having so much fun.

The thing is Wolf hasn't stated that he intends for his "blog" to have lower journalistic standards than his pieces for the Daily News. In fact, most of the time they are one in the same, verbatim.

For me or any other amateur blogger to post completely biased points of view, not to mention misinterpreted misinformation, is one thing.

But to do so intentionally, under the guise of professional journalism on a blog bearing the name of a supposedly legitimate newspaper, is irresponsible and wrong.

Brian Dohn understands this.