"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."
Dr. Ian Malcom's quote in the first Jurassic Park movie applies to the Adam Schefter tweet about Jason Pierre-Paul's medical chart.
Replace scientists with reporters in that sentence and therein lies one of the main problems with the media today.
It appears that Schefter, ESPN's NFL insider, made Pierre-Paul's medical chart public without his consent. There are rules that protect the confidentially of such charts, which could come to light in the following days if Pierre-Paul decides to push back on Schefter and his employer. But regardless of whether or not that happens, it's important to look at the motive for the reporter's actions in this case.
James Harrison calls out Adam Schefter on Twitter
There are some things which you just don't do, and in James Harrison's mind Adam Schefter of ESPN did just that by tweeting out a photo of New York Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul's medical report.
With the evolution of technology, news breaks to more media circuits faster than ever. Google "Pittsburgh Steelers" sometime and see how many websites chronicle the day-to-day actions of the team, which includes this website. This mass media over-saturation has created pressure from all those associated with these media circuits to get news out as soon as possible. An hour late on a story and you're an hour behind your rival site, which just picked up 20,000 new hits while you were preparing dinner or folding your laundry.
Media today is a constant stream of gathering and posting news as quick as possible just to keep up with the ever increasing pace. Time to let news marinate is a thing of the past, and apparently, time to deliberate over the ethics of publishing certain types of news is, too. In short, search for news, find the news, publish the news, and watch the hits, likes, Facebook shares and re-tweets pile up, ethics be dammed. This, unfortunately, is how we evaluate good writing in the 21st century.
The only thing worse than this is when the media creates news out of nothing just to keep the hits rollings on their site. Honestly, I never realized how much the media doesn't know until I became a coach myself. Even then, you're not a player, who really are the only ones that know the true beat of the team and the inner workings of what's really going down within a locker room. Everyone else on the outside is just making speculations.
While I do admit that there are wonderful advantages to the technology that engulfs us today, it's moments like this that remind us to take a step back and reflect on where we're going as both a media provider and as a media consumer. Why are we writing the stories we write? And what is bringing you back here every day? I choose to still believe that there are consumers out there that still enjoy a good story, stories written using facts and not speculations. I still believe that there are readers that like stories about football and not about the drama that unfortunately dominates most websites. I still believe that not everything an athlete tweets deserves 270 words and your 90 seconds.
Adam Schefter didn't do the worst thing on earth, but he deserved to be called out. It's somewhat ironic that James Harrison was the first to do so. If one of the most violent, baddest football players on the planet sees the issue with inappropriate news stories, maybe others can, too.