I'd say I'm surprised by this, especially coming from a Gannett paper .. but I'm not. I'd say I'm surprised at this quote from the paper's executive editor, Hollis Towns: "I think journalists get hung up on certain lines of what’s ethical more than the readers." But I'm not.
Of course I'm outraged. Of course it's awful. Let me repeat that quote "I think journalists get hung up on certain lines of what’s ethical more than the readers.”" from the paper's EXECUTIVE EDITOR! The boss of the newsroom is saying that ethical lines don't matter.
Now, a dirty little secret in sports journalism is that, more often than we'd care to admit, we rewrite press releases. Non-major roster moves. College cross country results. Stuff like that. Is it good journalism? Not really. But the point is the paper always maintained editorial control. It was done for convenience and time on a busy night. But it was never the norm. This move by Gannett (my former employer) is awful. It's sickening to anybody who's ever kept stats at a high school football game, taken soccer results over the phone or opened a notepad at a game. It's enough to make "Hollis Towns" a curse word for journalists for years to come.
But it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a surpise.
Which, in the end, is why it's so sad.