I have no idea why we haven’t been using this image for every post, ever.
I find the UK fanbase’s fascination with Jerry Tipton… fascinating. The latest round of Tipton vs. UK Fans has been quite entertaining. Now that there is a correction, I’m sure all interested parties want to move on. But I have a few questions still lingering in the wind:
* Did the H-L “fail” by not fact-checking Jerry’s statements about Patrick driving the truck?
I say no, mainly because *I think* I understand the newsroom process that led to Jerry’s correction. I only *think* I understand because I haven’t been in an university newsroom environment in years, and have never been in a professional newsroom environment. All you journalism students and professional journalists can feel free to correct me in the comments (or send me an email), and I’ll gladly update this piece.
During my time in a newsroom, each story was read by several copy editors and editors. Some editors will be checking the overall tone of the piece and fact-checking the information being reported. Most of the time, any fact-checking that occurs during the editing process involves double-checking publicly-released information or quotes made by those quoted in the stories. But more times than not, the reporter who created an article/story is trusted to have fully vetted his sources and information.
Recently I was contacted directly by Yahoo! Sports’ Jason King for his article about Patrick Patterson. Jason wanted to verify that Patrick did indeed take my wife home after the Women’s Clinic. Jason mentioned Patrick’s good deed in his story, but did not quote me directly. I was never contacted by any of the editorial staff at Yahoo! to verify what I told Jason.
If I was a copy editor who was assigned to fact-check Jerry’s Blue/White game story, I would have probably not have questioned Jerry’s assertions that Patrick drove his new truck to-and-from the game. I would have saw the quotes from Patrick about his truck, and assumed — incorrectly! — that Patrick told Jerry that he drove the truck to the game. Also, whether or not Patrick drove to the game or not was not the actual meat of the piece; the story was about the Blue/White game, and all of the stuff about Patrick & his truck was just a way to lead-into the story.
The H-L didn’t fail, because they acknowledged the error and issued corrections. They modified the online article, had Jerry write up something on his blog, and *should have* issued a correction in today’s paper. (I haven’t seen a print version of the H-L in a long time.)
This is pretty standard newspaper stuff. I think.
* Why was Jerry even talking about the truck in the first place?
Because Patrick mentioned it in an interview and could be quoted on it. Notice that Patrick’s quotes about the truck are in the corrected article. That means Patrick actually talked about the truck sometime during the Blue/White game (pre- or post-game).
* Did Jerry ask Patrick about the truck or did Patrick speak about the truck unprompted?
Without the full recording of Tipton’s interview with Patrick, none of us know. If the H-L wanted to straighten this issue out, they can reuse a move they used when Tipton got Vinny Zollo’s mom upset: Have an editor describe Tipton’s interview tape. In that case, H-L editor Linda Austin reported in a now-obsolete blog post:
Jerry did not ask about any rumors alluded to in the podcasts, nor did he comment on Lexington as a place to live. Unprompted, Ms. Curry mentioned that she had heard things about Coach Gillispie. As Jerry reported in his story, “When asked to elaborate, she said, ‘I didn’t hear directly. But I heard he [Gillispie] was arrogant. I saw none of that. He was very down to earth.’”
If Jerry introduced a line of questioning that involved Patrick’s truck, then I could feasibly side with SportsByBrooks’ reasoning: Jerry was trying to stir up controversy and/or the NCAA’s interest in why a student-athlete has a fancy car.
I sent an email to Gene Abell, Sports Editor for the H-L, asking if Jerry or Patrick mentioned the truck first; by the time of this post, he had not replied. I don’t expect the H-L to issue a summary or comment regarding Jerry’s questioning involving Patrick’s truck. Doing so won’t appease the Fire Jerry crowd. Also, as I said before, Jerry’s truck comments were just to lead-into the article, and not part of an accusation into NCAA violations. (At least, not yet. Jerry’s comment about CJ Leslie and Terrence Jones hearing the fans chanting was definitely for future reference if UK is forced to report a secondary violation.)
* Why was there no correction to Jerry’s citing of NCAA ByLaw 13.11.4?
Jerry cites NCAA ByLaw 13.11.4, which does not exist. Everybody makes mistakes: Hell, I said Rich Brooks played at Oregon in the night post. In my Real past, I’ve been part of a newspaper environment. I know how difficult it is for copy editors and editors to catch every single factual mistake. Jerry citing the incorrect ByLaw is not a big deal.
I still agree that Jerry citing the incorrect ByLaw is not a big deal. But this is the kind of error that should normally be caught by the copy-editors and editors. They should have sought-out the latest NCAA Division I manual and ensured that ByLaw existed. (Hint: it doesn’t!) The editors also should have checked that the ByLaw applies towards the allegation that UK may be reporting a secondary violation because fans were chanting recruits’ names. (Hint: Section 13.11 is about tryouts, not publicity or public events.)
In the online versions of the H-L, I have not yet seen a retraction or correction of Jerry’s incorrect ByLaw cite. My email to Gene Abell also asked if a correction to this factual error has been made; by the time of this post, he had not replied. (Of course, he may think I’m going to hack into his computer with my email and steal more of John Clay’s graphics. I don’t blame him for that.)
This is not necessarily proof that Jerry Tipton has some sort of seething hatred towards UK. Instead, it is proof that Jerry’s copy editors and editors are not doing their jobs. (I think.)