Earlier this week, Deadspin reported that CNBC’s Darren Rovell was duped by an average Joe posing as an Escort Service owner. While Darren’s story from last year on the NBA lockout was mostly forgotten, the Deadspin exposé brought it back to the forefront.
Iowa sportswriter Andrew Nostvick gives us this guest column looking at how Rovell got duped.
It’s been quite a rough Wednesday for CNBC Sport Business reporter Darren Rovell. News came out that afternoon that an anecdote from a story Rovell had written in November during the NBA lockout was proven to be untrue as the source for the story was in fact an 18-year-old high school senior.
The report, originally posted at Deadspin, includes Rovell’s original tweet, as well as e-mails exchanged between Rovell and the high school senior Tim, who went by the name of Henry James, a supposed manager of an escort service in New York City.
In the e-mails, Rovell and Tim talked about the escort business and the effect it had because of the NBA Lockout. Rovell used the info from his e-mail conversations and included it in his story. The anecdote was removed from the original story, with a correction. Deadspin has a screengrab of the anecdote on its article.
Rovell also issued an apology, which you can find at his CNBC link. In his apology, Rovell said he went with the story because he thought it was different
There were a couple of points about Rovell’s apology that were quite bothersome. One was when he said he would do fewer stories on “real life impact of big events,” which he thinks the public enjoys.
I’m not really sure what’s wrong with writing big event stories that have implications on people not directly involved with professional sports. There’s a difference between writing a story on how a sports lockout affects a business, as opposed to say…writing a story on fancy hats at the Kentucky Derby.
Rovell made a mistake and he owned up, just stop there. Please, stop! He says that and then he adds in the final paragraph something about people will always want to seek out their 15 minutes of fame. What does that have to do with anything? Especially if the story was written in November 2011 and we’re just hearing about it now!
Seeking out fame has nothing to do with your situation. I’m not sure what happened with the story, what your process was in writing the piece. I’m sure there’s more than just the e-mails. It is true that there is an element of anonymity when it comes to Twitter. But that shouldn’t stop a reporter from, well, putting together the puzzle pieces.
Next time, just stop at “I apologize to my readers.”
This will be an issue that dies down and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.
Andrew Nostvick is a sportswriter living in Southwest Iowa. He graduated from Wartburg College in 2010 and has been a Chicago sports fan for many years. You can reach him at his Twitter handle @NosTheTwit.
That’s all. We have another guest column coming today and more throughout the weekend. Let me know what you think about the columns in the comment section.