Both professed to learn from their mistakes. Benjamin retracted his reports, apologized and said in a statement, “The experience has only improved me as a journalist and gathering/checking sources and proper information.”
Zavala, who hasn’t had any courses in investigative journalism yet, explained how she fell victim to the initial tipster and what she’d do differently.
“He texted me and he said, ‘I’ve got this huge story for you, please tweet and blog about this because I promise you this will boost your career. I want you to be the next Rachel Nichols.’ Like please, oh my god, I want to throw up just thinking about how he was telling this story to me,” Zavala said.
“So now I realize, especially when I have ‘Reporter’ attached in my ‘About Me,’ that I just absolutely need to be 100 percent sure about something or not post it at all,” she said. “I’ve learned my lesson. I really can’t trust anyone until I hear directly from whoever that person is talking about. It was indirectly through ‘inside info,’ but it ended up just being a bunch of crap.”
That’s what two aspiring reporters learned from the ordeal, and now the question is how long it will take sports fans to learn the difference between media with the appropriate training and background and students, fans and pranksters.
Then we can move on from, “I read it on the Internet, it must be true,” to the next technologically advanced information-spreading gadget.
What You Said
If there was ever a time to go to Twitter for your thoughts on a subject matter, this was it. Here’s what a few Eagles fans said about whether Twitter would be the end of journalism as we know it.
@WILLYUM Yes, more about how fast we can pump out the stories. Less interest in long, thought out feature stories.
@ImToBlame yes..it could be..cause everyone considers themselves a “credible source” with no ways of proving validity on here
@adammacdotcom It has its issues, but completely worth it to have up to date info at your fingertips
@EaglesScout73 but for most of us, it has changed journalism and social media in general has changed how things are reported. It is immediate
Follow Ryan Messick, where else, on Twitter.