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Payton reporting prompts ESPN to twist news terms


FOX’s Jay Glazer often jokes that ESPN misspells his name when he breaks a story and then ESPN puts the same story on the crawl at the bottom of its screen with the word “sources” instead of “Glazer” in front of the news.

We didn’t realize he wasn’t joking. (He likely didn’t, either.)

Last night’s report from Glazer that Sean Payton has agreed to terms on a new contract with the Saints resulted promptly in ESPN programming the news into its crawl after the term “sources.” That prompted Glazer to call ESPN out on Twitter -- and it eventually provoked a response on Twitter from an ESPN producer named Steve Peresman.

Peresman explained that ESPN uses the term “sources” when there are multiple reporters reporting the same thing, including one of their own (in this case, Adam Schefter).

I didn’t go to what the cool kids call “J” school, but when there are multiple reports, the operative prefatory term is (wait for it) “reports.” Reporters employed by other networks are never “sources,” unless they are leaking information about their own situation or network.

It’s a stupid way, in our view, to avoid giving Glazer due credit for being the first to report it. Not that it’s a surprise he was first; it’s well known that Glazer and Payton are tight. While other reporters and media outlets may choose to resent that, we choose to accept it. And in turn to acknowledge and credit Glazer when that relationship bears fruit for him.

The most unfortunate aspect of this exchange is that it perpetuates audience confusion regarding the meaning of the terms “source” and “report” when used here or elsewhere. For us, “source” applies when we are reporting something based on a source of our own. We use “report” when some other company is reporting something based on its own sources. For ESPN to use the term “sources” to encompass a melange of their own reporters and other reporters is misleading, factually inaccurate, and hardly inadvertent or accidental.