UFC 116 has already taken a massive hit with the loss of Wanderlei Silva due to injury. Wednesday morning it appeared the event was completely screwed when credentialed UFC media member, Bleacher Report, ran with a rumor that Brock Lesnar was gone from the event due to injury. After a few calls to the UFC powers that be, the story was discovered to be a hoax. The website has pulled the story.
It opens the debate of what's news and what's simply Internet chatter taken from message boards. The problem here is that Bleacher Report appears in many newspapers around the country. If a reader sees a headline, doesn't read the story or look at the source, it could be taken as fact. Major newspapers like the L.A. Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post Intelligencer and Houston Chronicle simply run the B/R headlines.
A quick scan of author's bio and it unearths the alarming discovery that Tom Kelly is just 17 years old. He may be the future of journalism, but his judgement on this one was a little shaky. It also opened up a nice Twitter discussion on journalism between Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole, a journalist with 32 years experience, and the
high Irish secondary school student. If you'd like to write for Bleacher Report, and anyone can, check here to begin the process.
Update: Now we've been informed that B/R made things even worse by dumping the writer.
The kid made a mistake, everyone does along the way. What lesson is learned by this? That's a bad management decision if this was the only mark on his record. Ask any veteran journalist if they've run a little too strongly with rumor and got burned. If they got fired each time, there'd be a pretty small group of guys with anything beyond 10 years under their belts. From beginning to end, this situation was managed horribly.