Journalsim 101: Chad Finn Gets Burned By Unnamed Sources

Another bad look for the Boston Globe.

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Boston Globe sports media columnist Chad Finn.
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The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics says journalists should “reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.” It is a standard that is rarely followed these days, but recent debacles by the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn offer a good reminder of why anonymous sources should be the exception and not the norm.

Yesterday, Finn tried to beat today’s announcement about WEEI’s Red Sox radio broadcast pairings with the help of “sources with knowledge of the process.” Let’s break down the number of errors in his story, now that WEEI’s announcement is official:

  • Finn said WEEI would announce in the next few days that Pawtucket Red Sox Will Flemming will call some of the games. Flemming was not mentioned in WEEI’s press release.
  • Finn said Lou Merloni would resume his role as occasional third man in the booth. Merloni will be one of the rotating co-broadcasters, per WEEI.
  • Finn said Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam and WEEI’s Rob Bradford would also be occasional third men in the booth. No mention of McAdam in WEEI’s release.

Some of these may come to pass, but the bigger issue here is that Finn missed one of the bigger parts of the story: ESPN’s Chris Berman will be calling games. Along with Sean McDonough (who Finn did manage to get right), there’s a context of a bigger story her with strengthening ties between WEEI and ESPN.

Finn has blocked me on Twitter, but he’s taking a victory lap this morning (guess what, Chad? I have multiple Twitter accounts so you can’t hide). “Never claimed to have all of it. Just reported what I knew. Turned out to be a lot,” Finn tweeted.

 

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