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Demasio–Some Clarifications

Feb 23, 2005, 4:47 AM EDT

After yesterday’s firestorm, there were a few loose ends hanging from the story about the Coles story that Nunyo Demasio related to the blog. I got some follow up comments from him to clarify them.

He did make multiple efforts to get the principles in the story to react to it before it hit the
presses. First, from the original article Monday morning:

Coles, who has changed his cell phone number, could not be reached for comment. Barnes didn’t return several calls last week to his Roanoke, Ind., office. Snyder, through spokesperson Karl Swanson, referred questions to Gibbs. Reached last night, Cerrato declined to comment.

In fact, Vinny gave him a triple “no comment, no comment, no comment.”

Now, I was incorrect in inferring that the story would have gone through even if Gibbs’ flat denial had been issued over the phone on Sunday, before the release story was printed. Demasio told me:

If Gibbs denied the release stuff, the story would have just been that Coles is unhappy and unlikely coming back — instead of being more specific on how he would be jettisoned.

Demasio also told me that he tried to get comments from Breaux and Bugel. He pressed them and they told him to talk to Gibbs.

So, there you have it. Demasio tried to get comments from Snyder,
Cerrato, Bugel, Breaux, Coles, and Coles’ agent. For various reasons,
he couldn’t.

True, he could have waited until Gibbs got back in town. However, it
was pretty obvious that the paper would have been scooped had he done
this. Again, you can decide if he conducted due dillegence here.

A couple more comments from Demasio:

Perhaps my reporting damaged the team, but i still don’t know exactly how, and it wasn’t my intention. as you could see by how many people I spoke to, my preference was to work with the team. If coles’ leaving was inevitable — and old news among some guys (players) — did the skins expect the story to stay quiet until coles was officially gone?

And this about having a stake in the success of the team a writer is covering:

Here’s the deal: it’s actually EASIER to cover a team that wins. As a beat writer you WANT the team you cover to win, although you’re not supposed to root for them. It makes it more fun to go in the locker room.

HOWEVER, when the team you cover is struggling and there are newsworthy stories like Coles, you need to write it. if not, you’re doing a disservice to your paper, your readers and yourself. And you need to find another job.

There it is. Again, you decide.

  1. mbarnes202 - Feb 23, 2005 at 10:49 AM

    As one of perhaps thousands of avid, avid followers of the Redskins, Demasio’s reporting is EXACTLY why I read the Post. Kudos, kudos, kudos to Demasio, again.

    In comparison to the Washington Times, which I thinks puts a particular point of emphasis on Redskin coverage, this is a major coup for the Post and Demasio.

    Any damage done to the ‘Skins negotiating position was done by the Skins, and it’s their fault alone.

    Demasio certainly seems to have put in the kind of due dilligence required to bust such a story. Denials, no comments, and non-returned phone calls only buys so much- if the reporter has a story, and it’s true (it was), Redskin officials only have themselves to blame for not being proactive and trying to shape the story the way they want it spun– the reporter’s job is to report.

    Great job, Nunyo!

  2. mbarnes202 - Feb 23, 2005 at 2:49 PM

    As one of perhaps thousands of avid, avid followers of the Redskins, Demasio’s reporting is EXACTLY why I read the Post. Kudos, kudos, kudos to Demasio, again.

    In comparison to the Washington Times, which I thinks puts a particular point of emphasis on Redskin coverage, this is a major coup for the Post and Demasio.

    Any damage done to the ‘Skins negotiating position was done by the Skins, and it’s their fault alone.

    Demasio certainly seems to have put in the kind of due dilligence required to bust such a story. Denials, no comments, and non-returned phone calls only buys so much- if the reporter has a story, and it’s true (it was), Redskin officials only have themselves to blame for not being proactive and trying to shape the story the way they want it spun– the reporter’s job is to report.

    Great job, Nunyo!

  3. Rich Tandler - Feb 23, 2005 at 11:26 AM

    mbarnes,

    I hope you don’t mind that I went ahed and forwarded your comments to Nunyo. IMO it’s great that Demasio does care about what his readers think and doesn’t just sit there on a velvet throne somewhere and say, “How dare the masses question a Washington Post reporter.”

  4. Rich Tandler - Feb 23, 2005 at 3:26 PM

    mbarnes,

    I hope you don’t mind that I went ahed and forwarded your comments to Nunyo. IMO it’s great that Demasio does care about what his readers think and doesn’t just sit there on a velvet throne somewhere and say, “How dare the masses question a Washington Post reporter.”

  5. mbarnes202 - Feb 23, 2005 at 11:47 AM

    Rich,
    No problem, I suspected as much reading your blog today. I hope you’ll forward my second response too. And I couldn’t agree more on how great it is that he’ll listen to the die-hard serious fans.

  6. mbarnes202 - Feb 23, 2005 at 3:47 PM

    Rich,
    No problem, I suspected as much reading your blog today. I hope you’ll forward my second response too. And I couldn’t agree more on how great it is that he’ll listen to the die-hard serious fans.

  7. Anonymous - Feb 23, 2005 at 12:42 PM

    Nunyo did nothing wrong. For too long the Post has only been printing Skins propaganda and ignoring the hard truth: the Skins may just have the worst front office in football and the way this whole thing has been handled in just more proof of that. Disagree? Well just compare this situation to how Bill Belicheck and the Patriots front office handled Ty Law when he said he wanted out.

  8. Anonymous - Feb 23, 2005 at 4:42 PM

    Nunyo did nothing wrong. For too long the Post has only been printing Skins propaganda and ignoring the hard truth: the Skins may just have the worst front office in football and the way this whole thing has been handled in just more proof of that. Disagree? Well just compare this situation to how Bill Belicheck and the Patriots front office handled Ty Law when he said he wanted out.

  9. Doug - Feb 23, 2005 at 1:03 PM

    While I am a glutton for Redskins news, I would like to be certain that what I read in the paper is truly “news”. I don’t really think this qualifies. If the Redskins are trying to have a private negotiation with a player, why try to disrupt it? Sure, there must be a “source” at Redskins Park willing to divulge such things, but it is unlikely that such a public airing of private negotiations could be good for the Redskins. I have to question the motives of this individual.

    If it isn’t good for the Redskins, I don’t see how it can be good for us fans.

    I don’t fault Demasio though. He’s just doing his job, and he’s not supposed to be a fan.

  10. Doug - Feb 23, 2005 at 5:03 PM

    While I am a glutton for Redskins news, I would like to be certain that what I read in the paper is truly “news”. I don’t really think this qualifies. If the Redskins are trying to have a private negotiation with a player, why try to disrupt it? Sure, there must be a “source” at Redskins Park willing to divulge such things, but it is unlikely that such a public airing of private negotiations could be good for the Redskins. I have to question the motives of this individual.

    If it isn’t good for the Redskins, I don’t see how it can be good for us fans.

    I don’t fault Demasio though. He’s just doing his job, and he’s not supposed to be a fan.

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