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National Sports Journalism Center

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New York Times, Yale Daily News endure criticism for coverage of quarterback scandal

Kelly McBride writes for Poynter, “As the story of Yale University quarterback Patrick Witt (and his Rhodes scholarship that wasn’t) got more convoluted last week, both The New York Times and the Yale Daily News came under significant criticism — The Times, for running with a story that had too many holes, the Yale paper for holding a story they should have reported.

The critics are right. Both papers missed the journalistic mark on this one. The Times chose the wrong frame to tell the story. The Daily News let protocol prevent its journalists from acting as watchdogs. Because of these journalistic failures, the larger systemic issues faded into the background of our national conversation.

In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap: Last fall, the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee chose Witt as a finalist, leaving him with a tough choice: attend the day-long interview or play in the legendary Yale-Harvard game.

Witt withdrew from the scholarship, played in the game and garnered a lot of attention in the sports media,fueled by the Yale Public Relations Department, for putting the needs of his team in front of his own.”

Click here to read more from McBride.

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