I couldn’t believe what I was reading: “Little League Baseball announced today that the Little League World Series will leave Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 2015 for a proposed $400 million ‘Little League cathedral’ in downtown Los Angeles.”
“What?” I muttered out loud. “Is nothing sacred?”
I read on.
“Little League also announced it will begin displaying advertising on player jerseys in 2017.”
“This is preposterous!” I yelled.
And then I read the quote from the Little League spokesman about the advertising. “This is about creating new revenue streams to grow the game. Unfortunately, with the players’ small bodies, we can’t fit very many corporate logos on their uniforms.”
As I began to clamor loud enough for the neighbors to hear, bellowing about the audacity for someone to say something so ludicrous, my voice stopped like a speeding Corvette at a just-turned red light located on the corner by a police station.
“There’s no way this story is true,” I thought to myself.
When I searched online for more news about the Little League World Series moving to La-La Land, I discovered it was a hoax and that I’d just been suckered – as in huge, large-swirl lollipop suckered.
Thank goodness I didn’t do something knee-jerk, like tweet the news on Twitter or post it on Facebook. Which brings me to online news.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, but it’s a dangerous thing when it comes to getting news and information. You just don’t know what to believe.
One problem is the source. Bloggers and pseudo reporters, not to mention the people writing the Williamsport-like parodies, are simply reporting things that aren’t true or are only partly true. They enjoy doing this.
Another problem is the “respected” news organizations that are trying to one-up each other by reporting news that’s not yet confirmed (rumors) so they can pat themselves on the back by touting “you heard it here first.” These same organizations are also guilty of using misleading headlines to push stories that aren’t even stories.
As a serious journalist and someone who has been at this long before the advent of “online news,” it’s a huge concern. Because there are so many players, they all want their “news” to be noticed. So they do what they can to get noticed. I see this happening across the media spectrum, from mainstream to trade.
The world is in the midst of a media revolution. You’re being bombarded with information from all angles, whether it’s news about your livelihood or your favorite sports team.
Be careful of “news” that’s doused with opinion. Beware of those who report news that’s tainted by their political standing. Don’t take an unknown blogger’s word as gold.
Three words: Consider the source.
Lawrence Aylward, editorial director of SportsField Management, can be reached at LAylward@MooseRiverMedia.com or 330-723-2136.