ESPN’s Adam Schefter responds to criticism stemming from email to Bruce Allen
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The NFL email scandal continued Wednesday morning, not with former Raiders coach Jon Gruden, but with ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
According to a Tuesday report from the Los Angeles Times, Schefter in 2011 emailed an unpublished copy of a story he was writing for ESPN about the NFL lockout to then-Washington football team general manager Bruce Allen. In correspondence, Schefter referred to Allen as “Mr. Editor” and invited publishers to participate in the story, an unethical practice in the field of journalism.
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“Please let me know if you see anything that needs to be added, changed or modified,” Schefter wrote to Allen. “Thank you, Mr. Editor, for that and the trust. He plans to present this to espn around 6 am (sic). “
Schefter now officially has responded to criticism – which he said is fair – for that decision. He acknowledged that what he did was wrong, but also claimed that it had no impact on the content of his story.
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Fair questions are being asked about my approach to reporting on an NFL blackout story from 10 years ago. Just to clarify, it is common practice to verify the facts of a story with sources before publishing to keep it as accurate. In this case, I took the rare step of submitting the full story ahead of time due to the complex nature of collective bargaining talks. It was a step too far and, looking back, I shouldn’t have. It’s fair. That said, I want to make this perfectly clear: in no way would I give up editorial control or give the last word on a story to anyone, ever. “
Schefter’s comment at the end of his statement about not giving up editorial control is worth noting; he seemed to do just that in his email to Allen, when he said “let me know if you see anything that needs to be added, changed, adjusted”. Schefter in his statement said that the decision was made that the story “be as accurate as possible.”
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His choice of wording is questionable, given that he committed a known violation of an ethical principle of journalism. Regardless, this is probably not the latest news from emails collected during an investigation into the work culture of the Washington soccer team.
The investigation included reviews of some 650,000 emails, so it is safe to assume that there will be more leaks of those communications in the future.
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