Well, surprise, surprise. ESPN finds itself in yet-another dust-up with its journalistic practices.
The background: Sports Illustrated senior writer Grant Wahl got an interview with American soccer player Clint Dempsey who recently went through a bit of drama when he was sold to Tottenham from Fulham in the Premier League. The story has lots of revealing quotes, so much so that ESPN FC decided to write about it. In its story—with a "ESPN Staff" byline—there are nine quotes taken from the SI story. The story is 442 words, and 230 of those are words have quotation marks around them, all aped from the SI story. ESPN attributes SI only once. There are no links. By blogging practices, this makes HuffPo look downright charitable. It goes pretty far over the line.
So, Grant Wahl decided to tee off:
@espnfc Revealing quote from Dempsey. Don't see a source listed. Where did you get it?— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 7, 2012
There was no response.
@espnfc Still waiting for a response on your Dempsey quote. You post links/sources on ESPN stories. Why not SI's one-on-one with Dempsey?— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 7, 2012
Poor by @espnfc to base entire story on SI's Dempsey quotes and post unattributed direct quote on its Twitter page.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) September 7, 2012
An ESPN FC editor, James Dall, didn't totally buy it.
Then an ESPN Italian correspondent said that posting without a link on Twitter is a fine thing.
Wahl is appropriately angry, but? The Twitter thing is relatively small potatoes. It's really actually worse that ESPN re-blogged the story and extended the least amount of effort imaginable to give him or SI credit. An ESPN spokesperson told me: "Consistent with our editorial policies, we provided appropriate credit in the ESPNFC story. We also sent another tweet that included attribution."
Here's the tweet, sent—reluctantly—hours after the fact:
SI report: Dempsey reveals stress of transfer saga. tinyurl.com/bqzl6v8— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 7, 2012
UPDATE, 5:03 p.m.: Wahl tweets that the "cesspool" line was about "journalism practices in parts of Europe," not ESPN. We regret the error.