The gamble of when to go public with information from a source and when to just hold back and wait for more confirmation was illustrated nicely in an experience that FOX25’s Butch Stearns recently underwent.
Almost exactly a month ago, Butch Stearns posted the following on his blog:
"NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. will soon be racing under the same legendary #3 Chevy that his dad used to race in......A source with direct knowledge of negotiations tells FOX25 that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finalized a deal with Richard Childress Racing Thursday night, and an official announcement will be coming soon."
This is what we reported on Thursday night and here are some more thoughts I would like to add at this time.
I am no Nascar expert. However, the information I gleaned is very, very reliable and I am confident that it will be announced and come true sooner rather than later. If you're a Boston Sports fan, you probably say so what. Fine, we will always have our own soap operas and dramas to worry about with the Red Sox , Patriots and the rest of the Boston sports scene. By the way, can't we just get those NBA ping pong balls to drop already?
Oftentimes in my broadcasting career, I have gleaned information like this and then done my due diligence as a reporter and decided to report the story and oftentimes I've had to wait to be proven right. (It took two weeks after we announced that Theo Epstein would be the new GM of the Red Sox for that one to come true). That waiting period is an interesting time on many levels. It's fun to listen to the comments from people involved in a story like this as we wait for an announcement to be made.
Butch may have done his “due diligence” as a reporter, but his “very very reliable” information proved today to be incorrect, as Earnhardt announced that he will be racing with Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2008.
The purpose of pointing this out, is not so much to get on Stearns for being incorrect, but because I think it gives a nice bit of insight into the process that a lot the media tangles with when reporting information. The competition is very tough out there and the pressure is on to constantly be breaking stories and being the first with information.
In this case, Stearns took a gamble with a source’s information, and it proved to be the wrong move.