Feb 23, 2005, 4:47 AM EST
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,
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.