This has been a very interesting couple days if you are interested in how the media covers a story. In this week alone there have been two events that have happened in the St. Louis sports scene that are really interesting from a media ethics perspective.
The first one involves Albert Pujols. You know the backstory of Pujols name being leaked about the Mitchell Report and how it was covered by another station in town. Monday Albert fired back by telling the KTVI crew that he wasn't doing the press conference with them there. In my opinion Albert did the right thing if he wanted to make a statement. This obviously won't continue throughout the entire season but the message has clearly been sent to the station that there are repercussions to false reporting.
The biggest sin in the whole thing from a media ethics perspective is why that station didn't feel the need to apologize about the incident. They were in the wrong, realized they were in the wrong and then wouldn't own up to their mistake. It wouldn't have softened the blow to Albert but he did deserve that much instead of getting the we're "edgy" line that was used by that station. Unfortunatly there are some good people who are now caught in the crossfire.
All that being said it should be a cautionary tale to every station including ours that you have to be sure of what you are going on the air with. The reality is that it could have been any station (including KMOV) in town that ran with a story like that. The pressure is there to be first. Hopefully this incident will give everyone pause but most likely it won't.
The second incident this week actually involves KMOV and that was the story about Rick Majerus and Archbishop Raymond Burke. I have heard a lot over the past 24 hours about how the media baited him into this or that this is a media driven story. The reality is that it is an interesting story that has taken on a life of its own due in large part to a volatile Archbishop who has made waves in the past. Covering a story that has the town talking does not constitute a media driven story in my mind.
I am a big believer that we in the media specifically the sports media should not be the story and let the players and their actions determine what we cover. In one case the media definitely became the story. The other was in my mind definitely not a case of the media becoming the story.