Bad column hurts honest reporters

Jesse Cordova - Assistant Sports Editor

Jesse Cordova – Assistant Sports Editor

The only thing that I have in common with Jenni Carlson is my initials.

Carlson, a sports columnist with The Oklahoman, wrote a column about the quarterback controversy at Oklahoma State University that some of you may have read. More of you have probably seen or heard Oklahoma State Head Football Coach Mike Gundy’s response.

In her column, Carlson attacked 21-year-old quarterback Bobby Reid. Did she attack his performance on the field? No. She attacked his character.

“… does he want to be coddled and babied?” asked Carlson in her column.

Folks, there is a right way to criticize a college or amateur athlete and this was NOT it.

It is fair to say a running back fumbled the ball in the end zone or that the quarterback threw an interception. It is not fair to say that the running back has no business in shoulder pads and that the quarterback is a mama’s boy and a softy.

I hear people rambling all the time about how evil the media can be. I am here to tell you that this is not the case. Yes, there are those, like Carlson, who like to stir up controversy with their pieces. But most of us are just out to tell the story.

The way I see it is if you are only in the game to be “that guy” then you have no business calling yourself a journalist.

Please, do us, the real journalists, a favor. When you see something in a newspaper or on the news that just makes you want to slap the reporter, stop, breathe, and ask yourself is this person really a reporter or are they a sensationalist?

The real reporter backs up their comments with this wonderful thing called a source. The sensationalist uses words like “insiders” or “sources close to the coaching staff.”

Here is a little secret, if you are a member of the media; you’re an “insider.”

If you have a press pass, and talk to the coaches and players before and after the game while everyone else is filing out of the stadium or screaming at the person that just cut them off in the parking lot, you are a “source close to the coaching staff.”

That is just a clever way of saying that what they have just written or said is their own opinion.

Quite frankly, I am tired of people like Carlson making it increasingly difficult for honest reporters such as myself to gain a source’s trust.

Before you start calling me a hypocrite, yes, I am criticizing the way some people write. The difference is I am going after a professional, not a kid.