An Example of My Ongoing Disappointment with ESPN Cricinfo
by Devanshu Mehta
The Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case broke wide open today, and ESPN Cricinfo, like many others, were on the story. In a news article that was not written by any particular author, bylined to the omnipresent “ESPNCricinfo Staff”, they snuck in this line:
The match was televised live and available in India, the centre of cricket’s illegal gambling industry.
What the what?
- How is this relevant to the Westfield case, other than insinuation of guilt of an entire nation?
- If you know something about the case that links it to India, state the link. Don’t play games.
- Since it’s written by the nameless, faceless ESPNCricinfo Staff, there is no writer to call out. So the entire ESPNCricinfo establishment is at fault.
Later, they revised the line to read:
The match was televised live and was available in many parts of the world, so making it an appealing target for cricket’s illegal gambling industry.
And by “they revised” it, I mean the entire ESPNCricinfo Staff. Because they all wrote it, right?
UPDATE: ESPN Cricinfo UK Editor David Hopps responds in the comments.
Previously on DeepBackwardPoint:
Even if it was written by a writer employed by Cricinfo, Editors are still responsible for whatever contents that show on the website.
May be editors took note of the #outrage and did a (sort of) turn around.
Agreed, editors are always responsible. But I find it harder to digest these little snide opinions snuck in when the writer doesn’t put their name on their work. It reads like an opinion, with no byline– which makes it the opinion of ESPNCricinfo, not the individual who wrote it.
This interpretation is unjust and inaccurate.
1. The piece does not automatically suggest Indian guilt. It merely refers to the coverage of the match outside the UK and recognises the fact that any match shown in India gains more prominence because of the huge influence of cricket in that country.
2. Legal briefings clearly suggested that the betting syndicate cane from outside the Uk therefore the televising outside the Uk is relevant.
3. There was a writer – Charlie randall – as the byline states, supported by ESPNcricinfo staff in the UK. I am totally happy to take responsibility. Facless no longer.
4. The argument that this mixes fact and opinion has no merit. OIt mixes fact and assessment which is our job.
5. We made editing adjustments because the Uk office deemed them appropriate — on a busy day in which we unearthed severalk exclsuive stories. What constitues “outrage” incidentally. One disenchanted blogger plus what?
UK editor ESPNcricinfo
1. There is a clear insinuation of Indian guilt. If not, there is no reason to state that it was televised in India *and* India is the illegal betting capital.
2. The legal briefings were not mentioned in the article. So there was insinuation without corroboration.
3. The Charlie Randall line was added later. Originally it only stated “ESPN Cricinfo Staff”.
4. I’ll give you #4.
5. I don’t claim to be outraged. Only disappointed. But if you think this perception is limited to me and my blog, you are mistaken. My previous post on “The Case Against Cricinfo” which you have read remains one of the most popular on this site with tremendous encouragement from readers. Also, you will see numerous similar examples of “disenchanted” fans on Twitter and elsewhere on blogs. This example is not a big deal, but there is a pattern of insinuation without backing up with facts without a byline.
I appreciate David Hopps for responding here. Very unusual for an editor of a big website and hence all the more appreciable.
My reaction to the casual mention of India was exactly like yours’ – “What the What ?”
I understand that in a hurry to break the story inappropriate remarks can be made but the editorial board needs to be careful in such cases so as not to make any additional remarks beyond the basic facts. Without proper corroboration the original line is misplaced. The revised line is a more apt assessment.
I don’t disagree with the last comment.
But I would say this.
I think your first cricinfo attack was a legitimate debate that has been taken seriously. The second one suffered from the problems suffered by most follow-ups – it wasn’t remotely as justifiable as the first.
I thinFast-breaking stories are written in a hurry, especially in the days of 24/7 news coverage.
That can lead to loose sentences that are misinterpreted or over-interpreted. It is common practice to address any potential issues when there is more time to contemplate.
But more important is this point:
The Internet has been a driver for democracy. But it has also destroyed the financial health of much of the media, especially the written word. the result of that is hundreds of pseudo news outlets all exising on the same material, and much of that is written in offices by people with limited knowledge.
ESPNcricinfo is committed to stretching its budget to unearthing stories, being present when it can affords to be, and providing accurate information and fair-minded assessment. That should be respected. Because without companies making this commitment, and without those efforts being respected, the end game is everybody pontificating on blogs, but nobody able to afford to do the job properly.
Think we can end it there. We all do 12-hour days on cricinfo as it is.
Interesting that the Judge in the case has specified Danish Kaneria in this case,yet Mr Hopps still hasnt the elementary courtesy to apologise or even apologise for the “Indian” allegation.Par for the course for Hopps,sadly,yet still deserved to be highlighted.