Mickey Spagnola Criticizes Sports Reporters For 'Blurring Lines Of Accuracy'

DallasCowboys.com writer Mickey Spagnola is pretty irritated with the press and the recent reports about the Dallas Cowboys. Spagnola talks about something I have direct knowledge about as a professional journalist, and I have written about it before: using sources in critical stories.

Spagnola points out how Calvin Watkins’ recent report that Cowboys players were often tardy and practice habits were poor, creating a locker room of havoc was full of holes. Watkins cites five sources in his report, but no one was willing to say something on the record. Using sources is a very sketchy practice, and you have to have trust in what these people are telling you. Having five sources is a sign that Watkins was on to something.

But Spagnola points out he didn’t get the entire story right. I remember when Watkins wrote a story that the Cowboys were not going to give Marion Barber the full tender to protect him from being taken by another team without two first round picks. The report didn’t even seem plausible and I emailed him about it. Eventually, the report was wrong, he never corrected it and emailed me back that “Usually his sources are 100 percent right,” and I am paraphrasing what he said. I might have saved the e-mail.He just rewrote his story when the truth came out.

The point is, the Dallas press is making mountains out of mole hills after the Cowboys had a disappointing season, and they’re drooling over every minute of it. Spagnola also mentions the report I first had from the Baltimore Sun’s beat reporter blogs that the Cowboys were interested in Ray Lewis. I think Spagnola may have misinterpreted what the blog was representing, but certainly there are ways to learn about these kinds of deals before they are actually deals. But I think it makes complete sense that the Cowboys are interested in Ray Lewis. Who wouldn’t be? His age does not seem to be a problem, as he remains one of the best linebackers in the game.

But the key to all of this is you better ensure your sources are right, and you better do all you can to get at least one, or more, of these sources to go on the record because those who may be possibly leaking any of this stuff might be the bigger story than what they are actually leaking.

You can hear the entire interview here. Just keep in mind, Spagnola is employed by the Dallas Cowboys.

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