In Defense (?) Of Borges

In response to our Ron Borges and the Quote Pool Of Replenishing Nourishment item earlier today, a reporter (and colleague of Borges) writes in to (gently) take us to task, requesting that he/she remain anonymous. A quote:

It works this way and it is very simple. Reporters from different beats, maybe a half dozen or sometimes a lot more, send in notes and thoughts to a central source. Then writers pick and choose the information they want. What usually happens is the writer taking the info re-writes it in his or her own words. Obviously, Ron did not do this.

These things are leftovers from the old days of sports journalism, mainly the 1980s, when newspapers used to run these massive notes columns (the Globe and a handful of papers still do them) and because of time constraints you needed extra help. ESPN still does these things but you will notice heavy attribution on ESPN and SportsLine.

Yeah, we'd say "Leftover" is the right term there. Not only is this lazy, of course, but it appears to have been beamed in from a universe where the Internets do not exist. It's very easy to solve this problem; look at what Buster Olney does every day at ESPN. That is the ultimate notes column, but it cites and links to all its sources and, you know, doesn't just cut and paste copy and call it "by Buster Olney." It's really simple, kids. Honest.

The full email is after the jump.

Ron Borges Suspended, But He's Not Alone [Deadspin]

———————

Will: I'm shocked you have not heard of these things. That other site has it slightly wrong. They are not really private forums; that makes it sound like some sort of exotic, porno-like thing. They are pretty simple.

I participated in one of these things years ago but quit because they are unbelievably lazy. Plus, I went to a newspaper that forbid participating in them.

It works this way and it is very simple. Reporters from different beats, maybe a half dozen or sometimes a lot more, send in notes and thoughts to a central source. Then writers pick and choose the information they want.

What usually happens is the writer taking the info re-writes it in his or her own words. Obviously, Ron did not do this.

These things are leftovers from the old days of sports journalism, mainly the 1980s, when newspapers used to run these massive notes columns (the Globe and a handful of papers still do them) and because of time constraints you needed extra help. ESPN still does these things but you will notice heavy attribution on ESPN and SportsLine.

The old school guys have not evolved and still use these old notes systems despite the fact the Internet has completely changed the universe.

Two last things. One, these notes things are stunningly lazy. They should be banned and many newspapers now no longer allow this type of sloppy journalism. Or if they do, they require heavy policing and attribution.

Second, I know Deadspin hates Ron, but he is an excellent reporter and one of the best writers in the country. I may not agree with his vendetta against the Patriots but he is extremely talented. I cannot explain what happened here, however.

One last thing in his defense. Ron made a mistake but I can guarantee this. He is not alone. This type of things happens all the time. Reporters steal other info, sometimes verbatim in these notes columns, from other writers. I would say dozens of reporters plagiarize every week in these things. I have seen it many times. Particularly when it comes to the NFL. Ron got caught because a website hates him and was out to get him, but I cannot stress enough how much this happens all the time with many NFL and baseball writers.

Like many times in our business, one person is busted for a mistake many others make.