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January 27, 2012

Poynter Reveals It’s Bias

Filed under: Media,Mouse Monopoly — Chas @ 1:43 pm

I have a ton of other things that I should be writing. Yet I have to get this out of my system.

I last wrote about the role of the Poynter Institute in acting as the ESPN ombudsman, back in September. Specifically, about how badly they were doing in that role. I have tried to stop worrying about them, because it is a fruitless thing to let annoy me.

That Poynter wants to take it’s elitist, high-minded, ethical standards and toss them away for ESPN is their business.

Then I saw Awful Announcing’s great takedown on Poynter’s latest defense of ESPN — regarding Tebowmania.


That led me back to the piece written defending ESPN’s coverage as just dandy.

Specifically the closing paragraph.

When a story gets bigger than the sport itself, and ESPN leans into that narrative rather than turning away, some fans throw up their hands and cry, “excess.” But an all-sports network is the very definition of excess. We’re not inclined to fault folks for doing the very thing that’s made them successful.

So much revealed in just a few words. And that reveal is about Ms. McBride and Poynter Institute.

“But an all-sports network is the very definition of excess.”

In the Poynter world, it seems ESPN cannot be excessive in its coverage of something because ESPN’s very existence is excessive.

Does she share that view towards, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and the Sports Business Journal — to name a couple print examples? Considering that there are channels devoted to a single sport — NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL. To say nothing of golf, soccer and tennis channels, it might be time to revise that viewpoint.

That is a big reveal of a bias. That Poynter views ESPN as some giant obsessive fanboy. That the subject to which they are devoted — sports — is not really a big deal. In the big picture, that may be true. But they were hired to be ombudsman for this organization. They can’t cop-out by saying the subject matter is not weighty enough, and because it is only devoted to one subject it is excessive by its existence.

The second part, “We’re not inclined to fault folks for doing the very thing that’s made them successful.” The caveat I imagine be as it applies to what they consider a business decision. I doubt they had the same perspective towards News of the World’s decisions on how to cover a kidnapped child by tapping cell phones.

Remember the topic of this piece was the over-the-top coverage/hyping of all things Tebow. Not the editorial process or reporting. This has been the pattern with Poynter in their ombudsman role. They will defer on “business decisions” by ESPN. Going with a, “they know their business, and the ratings back them up” approach.

They didn’t touch the Craig James aspect of the Bruce Feldman story because it didn’t have anything to do with ethics involving journalism and reporting.┬áThat seems to be the only area they feel comfortable critiquing.

That James was a color analyst employed by ESPN who hired a PR firm along with his own position at ESPN to help get a college coach fired. Bad stuff, and lots of messy issues, but nothing to do with journalism. So they had nothing to say since it was a business decision by ESPN to keep him employed.

I don’t know if they don’t feel comfortable judging decisions made by the business side, or they don’t want to sully their hands with that side of the media. It really doesn’t matter. It means that they can’t even do the job they agreed to with ESPN if they are limiting their views to only journalism and reporting at an all-sports network.


Off topic but Paul Chryst announced today that he has hired a great WR coach in Bobby Engram. I’m not quite sure why Engram would be taking a step down(IMHO) to the college ranks as the Pitt WR coach after having such a successful season with the SF 49ers but there you have it. I’m happy with this pick.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.27.12 @ 1:56 pm

I believe Bobby Engram’s wife is from Pittsburgh…and we all know how influential the Mrs. can be when it comes to occupation locations.

Comment by ECH 01.27.12 @ 2:51 pm

Maybe he was tired of dealing with players that earn ( or “not” earn ) salaries more than his.

Comment by mtoolmn 01.27.12 @ 3:01 pm

Bobby was just an offensive quality control coach. He’ll be a WR coach for Pitt. It’s all about job titles…

Comment by Pittastic 01.27.12 @ 3:09 pm

I am ELated that Coach Chryst CONTINUES to bring in qualified, quality assistants for his Panther staff. Bob Engram was a heck of a ball player for the Nits and, at times, in the Pros. I don;t feel this is “a step down” in any way because I do not know what career goals he has. Perhaps he aspires to be a college coordinator or even a head coach some day. Pitt, will prosper with the staff being assembled, in my opinion, both on and OFF the field. Welcome, NEW PANTHER, Bobby Engram. Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 01.27.12 @ 3:24 pm

ESPN is all about Big Names. The spend 90% of their time talking about Kobe, Lebron, DuWayne, etc in NBA; Tebow, Brady, Manning, Rex in NFL; Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, USC, etc in NCAAF and so on. And not only on TV but on their radio .. it must sent out a directive to all of their talking heads of subject(s) to talk about because they never seem to vary.

I do remember Dan ‘ The Duke Davis’ sports update of a few years back when Bret Favre finally signed with the Jets … “our long national nightmare is finally over”

What really galls me is that they build up the giant, and then often try to destory it. I can remember about 10 years ago when they would show the mandatory Anna Kournikova highlights every Spoorts Center .. then they had the balls to talk how overpublicized she was when she was retired …. pure hypocrisy!

Comment by wbb 01.27.12 @ 3:26 pm

Recruiting update: deaysean rippy has trimmed colorado from his list. He has a final 3 they are pitt, wvu, arizona.

Comment by Pk 01.27.12 @ 3:31 pm

Does Bobby Engram’s hiring leave one spot still open on the Pitt staff?

Comment by Justinian 01.27.12 @ 3:41 pm

The announcement in Post Gazette mentioed that he was hired a few weeks back but it wasn;’t announced until the 49ers were out of the playoffs.

This lends credence to the expected hiring of Giants’ def assistant Al Holcomb as DL coach

Comment by wbb 01.27.12 @ 3:45 pm

BTW, FRANKCAM first mentioned Holcomb on this site about a week ago …. (don’t want Dan to chastise me for not acknowledging this)

Comment by wbb 01.27.12 @ 3:48 pm

WWB as were all learned in school, it’s important to footnote your sources.

Comment by Justinian 01.27.12 @ 3:51 pm

Engram was an assistant to an assistant at San Fran and he lives in Murrysville. Makes perfect sense.

Comment by Mike 01.27.12 @ 4:12 pm

Info for you just left the vist site it looks like
the 2 players who were to vist from wisconsin
did not come there names are gone from list of vists for 1/ 27/ 2012 to 1 /30/ 2012

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.27.12 @ 4:36 pm

Frank, they committed to wisconsin

Comment by Pk 01.27.12 @ 4:37 pm

here is the list updated visit list from — note the 1st name — very interesting:

16 Brandyn Cook
(St. Xavier HS)
Cincinnati, OH 6-2/265 Verbal Yes 1/20/2012 Pittsburgh
DT 28 Tyrique Jarrett
(Allderdice HS)
Pittsburgh, PA 6-4/315 Verbal Yes 1/20/2012 Pittsburgh
DT 38 Willie Henry
(Glenville HS)
Cleveland, OH 6-3/273 Med Yes 1/20/2012 Pittsburgh
DT 66 Terrell Jackson
(Marion-Franklin HS)
Columbus, OH 6-3/260 Med Yes 1/20/2012 Pittsburgh
CB 103 Sean Draper
(Glenville HS)
Cleveland, OH 6-1/180 Med Yes 1/20/2012 Pittsburgh
DE 115 Myles Hilliard
(Bedford HS)
Bedford, OH 6-6.5/246 Verbal Yes 1/20/2012 Pittsburgh
CB 145 Ryan Lewis
(Eastlake HS)
Redmond, WA 6-0/185 Med No 1/20/2012 Pittsburgh

Comment by wbb 01.27.12 @ 4:43 pm

that was from last week. Uopdate this week is just Jarrett and Hester

Comment by wbb 01.27.12 @ 4:47 pm

Yeah, it was reported earlier today by Dokish, and I assume others, that the RB and the kicker are going to Wisconsin. And what’s weird is that the kicker chose to go to Wisconsin even though they don’t have a scholarship for him.

Comment by Mike 01.27.12 @ 5:10 pm

Mike, he grew up in wisconsin. In wiscy the packers and badgers are all you have so im not completely surprised.

Comment by Pk 01.27.12 @ 5:13 pm

I know but college is expensive. If you can go for free then you do it.

Comment by Mike 01.27.12 @ 5:34 pm

RU commit Ryan Brodie contacted by Pitt staff.

Comment by steve 01.27.12 @ 6:46 pm

Heres the thing…ESPN has always presented sports from an entertainment point of view. Sure, they have OTL but for the most part ESPN was built on SportsCenter (Highlight Show) and college basketball. I don’t recall them ever trying to be a news channel. They’ve followed trends in how news channels presented their material…they went all fox news on us a few years ago with Rush on Countdown and Stephen A. with his argumentative rants.

First and foremost they’ve presented sports with an eye on entertainment…the reason we have Dickie V. I am fine with that. Leave SI and the other news outlets to report the news but I personally like my sports separate from the drama. Tebow was/is excessive but their coverage was/is no different than CNN covering that baby killer this summer and I treated it as such.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 01.27.12 @ 7:26 pm

…I do think ESPN mishandled James and he should have been reprimanded for using ESPN as a jumping point for his agenda.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 01.27.12 @ 7:30 pm

Hey, I got my name in lights!!! LOL

Comment by Dan 01.27.12 @ 7:52 pm

steve is that for real

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.27.12 @ 7:57 pm

I will never forget that game with Penn State when Engram just burned us (d back for Pitt was Randy ? cannot remember) for 3 tds blowing past our secondary like they were not there.
Thrilled to have him on our staff. Maybe we (Pitt) finally has gotten this coaching thing right.

Comment by Dan 72 01.27.12 @ 8:04 pm

brodies father said uconn and pitt both called
that was on jan 26 .

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.27.12 @ 8:27 pm

Deaysean Rippy any thoughts?

Comment by isnore 01.27.12 @ 8:55 pm

I think he goes some were else not here just my thought.
and i know i will catch hell for this but i have a bad vibe i think we only get 2 more players
bye LOI day . hope i am wrong
as he said in the movie i got a bad feeling bob.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.27.12 @ 9:18 pm

pk you out there

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.27.12 @ 9:19 pm

rippys final three are pitt, wvu, and arizona. i asked dokish if he had a vibe as to where rippy will go he said he has no idea. rippy has said though that he will tell the coaches his decision on sunday night. im not sure whether hell announce then, though. itd be tremendous if pitt could get brodie. hes a very solid three star recruit with good height at 6’5″. anthony standifer, the three star cb has said that he wants to go to notre dame but he can only go if the school permits him to take an online spanish class. if they dont, pitt was the only other school who he had interest in. i havnt heard anything about sean draper. also, id be willing to bet, and this is just a hunch, that treyvon hester will commit after his visit this weekend.

Comment by pk 01.27.12 @ 10:52 pm

Chaz, not to nitpick, but “it’s” is the contraction of “it is.” “Its” is the possessive form of “it.”

Comment by Jeff 01.28.12 @ 12:20 am

Jeff, not to nitpick, but it’s “Chas”, not “Chaz”.

Comment by Cnorwood 01.28.12 @ 12:42 am

Engram is a very good hire, and probably better than that. His pedigree is almost peerless when you think about it. THE receiver in PSU history, long (that speaks volumes) NFL career, played and coached for some of the best coaches in history (including the late JP)…what is not to like?

Think coverage is tight in college, to survive in the NFL you gotta have fundamentals; witness Limas Sweed. To stay as long as Engram did you gotta have more.

The reality is that this guy is a rising star in coaching…how far I don’t know, but I hope he is better than Pitt so to speak…I hope he becomes the greatest coach ever and stays at Pitt. I hope that for all our coaches. I want them to prosper…in turn Pitt will prosper.

Comment by SFPitt 01.28.12 @ 3:11 am


Comment by Dan 01.28.12 @ 4:36 am

Some very refreshing quotes from Bobby Engram:

“I think the University of Pittsburgh sells itself. This is a phenomenal university, and really it’s about conveying to the young men what this staff is about and what we’re trying to accomplish as a coaching staff and how we see them fitting into the program and fitting into the offense.

“I’m not a salesman; I’m a representative of this university and what we stand for, and I will tell the kids and tell the parents the truth and not what they want to hear. I think that’s the best way to approach it: just be up-front and put all of your cards on the table.”

Comment by HbgFrank 01.28.12 @ 8:47 am

If this is any precedent, a previous PSU alum who coached here (Gattuso) I thought served Pitt very well.

Comment by wbb 01.28.12 @ 8:52 am

I love that this staff coaches and recruits in black and white. All of the best recruiters do: nick saban, les myles, and the list goes on. When youre up-front and truthful, the players know exactly what youre about right away and thats very polarizing, but what will result is kids who want to work hard and who want to be at pitt. This plus the fact that at the very least chryst, bostad, and rudolph are great evaluators of talent should lead to some great players comin to pitt.

Comment by Pk 01.28.12 @ 9:26 am

So much better now that the snake-oil salesman is gone. Thank you Todd Graham for leaving, for correcting Pederson’s one of many humungous mistakes.

Comment by Gas 01.28.12 @ 10:08 am

From the looks of it, LOI signing day could produce some surprises not really anticipated. It seems like a lot of stuff that could have a bearing on signing day is being conducted on the down low since Chryst took command.

Is it just me or has this entire coaching transition/recruiting finalization period been flying just under the radar?

I can’t remember another time, especially in this digital age where you can’t fart in public without it showing up on YouTube or Twitter, that has been so low keyed with little or no information coming out of the major news and social network sources regarding Pitt Football during this critical period of transition.

I wonder if this is occurring because of the persona that Paul Chryst brings to the table, understated, no hype, under promise over deliver type style?

Polar opposite to Fraud Graham’s tenure so far, that’s for sure.

Comment by Dr. Tom 01.28.12 @ 10:08 am

I like Bobby Engram’s statements posted above by HbgFrank. They sound frank, pardon the expression, and seem to indicate an honest open approach to dealing with recruits. Welcome aboard Mr. Engram, I may not have been rooting for you, when you were wearing blue and white, but I’m rooting for you now.

Comment by Justinian 01.28.12 @ 10:20 am

If at the very least, come Wednesday we keep what we cuurently have, it will by no means be disastrous especially considering an entire new staff is in place. Anyone else would be icing.

Comment by wbb 01.28.12 @ 10:23 am

O concur. Coach Gattuso did a fine job for the Panthers. No doubt Coach Engram will do as well. They gave me fits while at PSU, but we will be delited to use BE’s expertise. Hopefully a potential WR or two will see that too and COMMIT TO PITT!! Rev. George from Columbus.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 01.28.12 @ 10:36 am

DR Tom let me be the cold water man the downer
may be there is no informatiom to come out
may be we get one more commit and that is all.
i know i rain on parades but i worry cant help it

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 11:33 am

Frank, There is no problem in worring. In my work some of the best outcomes came from projects I worried about the most. I think regardless of how many additional recruits they pull in over the next week, I feel good about the staff Paul Chryst has in place. If they bring in a few more solid players, all the better. If not I still like their chances over the long run. I think this time around the university hired the right guy and I like the people he hired and will be working with.

Comment by Justinian 01.28.12 @ 12:50 pm

Does anyone know the answer to this. How come Penn States OBrien was hired and still allowed to coach the Pats while we can’t say officially that we hired the Holcomb guy from the Giants and then we had to wait nearly 2 weeks to officially announce Engram. What’s up with that?

Comment by TX Panther 01.28.12 @ 1:51 pm

Tx panther, odds are pitt has already hired him it just hasnt been announced. Thats what happened with engram.

Comment by Pk 01.28.12 @ 1:54 pm

well Chryst was hired at Pitt and then coached at Wis for 2 more weeks. I’m sure Holcomb is hired but Pitt is just not annoucing it .. maybe as a courtesy or something.

Comment by wbb 01.28.12 @ 2:07 pm

Update it looks like pitt staff is visiting jj denman today

Comment by Pk 01.28.12 @ 2:30 pm

Pk I saw that on Panther Lair, but I don’t subscribe. Does anyone know for sure? J.J. Denman would be a big get for the Panthers. He’s a terrific run blocker and he would have senior Ray Graham and in-coming freshman Rushel Shell to block for. If you give running backs like that a crease, they’re off to the races. If I were an offensive lineman I would be excited to play for Paul Chryst and Bob Bostad. They like to run the ball and they play smash mouth football.

Comment by Justinian 01.28.12 @ 2:50 pm

Justinian, the last thing I could find on JJ Denman was that he a re-confirmed RU. I was disappointed to hear that but that showed he was committed to the program and personal ties there (family in area). It would be a great get, but I’m not that optimistic. It would be great to scoop a couple of RU OL and PSU 3-4 stars to round out this class.

Comment by IH8PITT 01.28.12 @ 3:25 pm

FWIW, I still would prefer “IH8ST8”

Comment by wbb 01.28.12 @ 3:38 pm

pk pitt has a new vist this week end but it
is behind a pay wall .
would you see if dockish knows who it is

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 4:55 pm

TX panther we i have ask that 4 times in last 2 weeks i dont know had we done it sooner with engram we may have picked up some nice WR.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 5:00 pm

scoop from Zeise who among other injuries had a cobcussion and had to stay away from computer screens;

Holcomb apparently not the DL coach .. instead from the blog ..

There is also a report here that Chryst has finalized his staff by hiring UCLA defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield to coach the Panthers defensive line but nobody has confirmed that for me yet. If true, however, it means the staff is done and with signing day coming up Wednesday, it won’t be long til we start talking about football again.

Comment by wbb 01.28.12 @ 6:34 pm

Note that this is unconfirmed and Holcomb still may be the one.

Comment by wbb 01.28.12 @ 6:35 pm

Well if i am wrong i am wrong but if it is the ucla coach why the wait he was not in playoff
may be Holcomb changed his mind
hell the coach from ucla could have been here weeks ago helping with recruting.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 7:06 pm

Wbb you are right just checked 2 sites it is
ucla coach Breckterfield i was wrong.
and Bruce Arians is now the OC of the colts.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 7:18 pm

Breckterfield was a all american DE at
oregon state played in candaian football
was the ucla DL coach last year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 7:27 pm

sorry frank i just got home fromn the pitt game. what a win! i just posted the question to dokish so ill let you know what he says. am i wrong or did you call this dl hire weeks ago?

Comment by pk 01.28.12 @ 7:45 pm

frank, dokish didnt give me a name but there was a 6’7″ 260 ot from new hampshire there. ill try to find his name.

Comment by pk 01.28.12 @ 8:06 pm

pk, and frank-Dokish says its John Guy- rivals has him as a two star OL from New Hampshire. Pitt looks like his only offer.

Comment by NYPanther 01.28.12 @ 8:29 pm

pk thank you very mutch no i was wrong on the DL C
but if this was the chose he could have had this man weeks ago i wonder if the outher changed his mind but who knows i was wrong.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 8:31 pm

Sure frank. And hes 290 not 260

Comment by Pk 01.28.12 @ 8:33 pm

NY PANTHER thank you for the info at this point i
would take any big OT we can get.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 8:35 pm

pk sign him up 6 FOOT 7 290 POUNDS we will coach him up have him first string in 3 years.
that was a great win pk glad you could go.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 8:50 pm

Agreed frank thanks. If pitt is his only offer then thatd really be a steal. I know hes in NH, but how does a 6’7″ 290 OT go unnoticed?

Comment by Pk 01.28.12 @ 9:01 pm

Espn has him listed as a DT. I highly doubt that how many 6’7″ dts are there?

Comment by Pk 01.28.12 @ 9:09 pm

pk not unnoticed he is a 2 star but he has size we can coach him up.
we have to start some were and i guess jj denman has told us to get lost.
so we take what we can get at least he is a big one if they offer he will take it.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 9:10 pm

pk on outher site he is listed as OT he like
outhers plays both remmber hester plays OG and
DT this kid is most likley the same.

Comment by FRANKCAN 01.28.12 @ 9:15 pm

FootballScoop reports:

Pitt: Multiple sources telling us that former UCLA defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield will be named to the same role at Pitt. Update> Sources close to the situation say Paul Chryst just offered the job to Inoke and he has accepted.

Comment by mtoolmn 01.28.12 @ 10:28 pm

Pantherlair (Rivals) no longer lists Geter the Tweeter as a commit but Panthedigest (Scout) does .. maybe they foresee what a PIA this kid will become

Comment by wbb 01.29.12 @ 7:41 am

Geter is gone! (Dokish)

The last thing we need is an academic disaster with a bad attitude.

Comment by isnore 01.29.12 @ 8:08 am

Good article in the Trib on Rippy and Geter:

link to

Good for Paul Chryst pulling the ship from Geter. I think this sends a message early on that he’s not going to put up with any B.S., especially from a recruit.

Comment by Pitt Is It 01.29.12 @ 1:25 pm

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