In response to CatfishHunter's comment:
In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
In response to Muzwell's comment:
RKarp: Why can't a sportswriter report what he heard, as long as he qualifies it as unverified, as you did? We're not talking national security here. No lives would be lost if Joe Reporter comes out and reports that the word is Tommy Kelly is done for the year, but that the team hasn't verified it.
If that's what he heard, then it's a true statement. What's the problem?
Legitimate news outlets just don't operate like that. You can get those kinds of rumours reported on blogs, but any outlet that wants to maintain its reputation as a credible source of information isn't going to report things that are unconfirmed. If your brand is based in part on your credibility, you aren't going to risk that brand by reporting heresay and rumour.
Also, your sources may clam up if you start reporting whatever they say . . .
"Legitimate" news outlets put their "rules" aside all the time. They don't wait for a 2nd source when there is a big story breaking. The Boston Bombings and the LA Airport shooting are 2 examples that leap immediately to mind. The race to get the info out before the competition is more important than getting it double-sourced. Then they apologize later and say "well, that's what we were told". Did anyone watch John King from CNN falling all over himself getting everything wrong in the Boston Bombings? I'm pretty sure CNN is still in business and King is still in their employ.
If TK's injury was a life/death major story (well, maybe it is for some Pats fans) the media would be much more lax with their "rules".
It's not that they throw out the rules, it's that they have different rules when reporting live from the scene of an event underway. Very different situations.