June 25, 2008
"An unsourced report out of St. Louis had Bowman joining his son Stan in Chicago as director of player personnel. Stan is the team's assistant general manager for hockey operations. 'I don't know anything about that,' Scotty Bowman said this evening. 'As long as I'm healthy and there's no change in ownership in Detroit, there'll be no change. I'm perfectly satisfied.'" - Detroit Free Press, "Scotty Bowman says he's not going to Chicago."
When it comes to offers on the sly from rival teams, Scotty Bowman's credibility is basically zilch after his flirtatious dance with the Toronto Maple Leafs and subsequent public denials. So while the Freep shoots down the rumor that Detroit Red Wings consultant Bowman will take over as hockey overlord with the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Chicago Tribune calls the hiring unlikely, Bob McKenzie of TSN strikes the right balance: Writing that it likely won't happen, but that "there is every reason to believe there has been conversation between Bowman and the Blackhawks about that very subject."
What I found interesting about the Bowman coverage from the mainstream sources above is how they handled the origin of the rumor. Detroit called it "an unsourced report out of St. Louis." Chicago said it was started by "St. Louis radio reporter Andy Strickland." McKenzie sourced it to "an internet report out there by St. Louis radio reporter Andy Strickland."
Look, we don't consider that Web site to be a source of anything but rampant egomania; but like I wrote last week, this trend in which the MSM either fails to source or vaguely sources news broken by blogs is unreasonable and unprofessional. The majority of hockey blogs exhibit rigid attribution when quoting print or online news outlets. Writing "an unsourced report out of St. Louis" is akin to a blog writing "some guy at a newspaper somewhere" in reporting on a story. It's an irresponsible trend that needs to stop, because it continues to fuel mainstream writers' misguided disdain for the blogosphere.
That said: Andy, Andy, Andy ... you actually wrote in the Bowman piece that, "Word is Bowman is expected to accept the job. This would be huge news!" Haven't you learned anything from your boss Dwayne Klessel, the musician currently playing the role of "Eklund" on your site? Never make a declarative statement like that, or else you'll end up reporting that Ryan Smyth re-signed with Edmonton moments before he's actually traded to the Islanders.
It'll be much more beneficial for your career if you publish every conceivable (and inconceivable) outcome as "speculation" over the course of several weeks to cover all your bases. Might I also suggest creating some sort of vague, senseless ratings system so readers can better understand the quality of whatever it is you're shoveling?