It’s a story that blew up on the internet this week. For those of you who do not know the entire saga, read Rant Sports writer Riley Schmitt’s breakdown of the entire case as it stands. Basically, an ESPN Page 2 writer, Sarah Phillips, was dismissed after she was tied to corruption, internet scams and questionable illegal activity. The implications of this story could be far reaching for the future of online reporting.
First off, ESPN’s behavior during this entire incident is peculiar. Why would they carelessly hire someone? As the “World Wide Leader in Sports” they should do a thorough background check, especially if you are picking the writer off a sports gambling site. ESPN’s carelessness shows that the network and site’s ego is out of hand. Their hiring procedures will have to change quickly to keep up with the influx of their ever-growing empire.
Credibility is still important on the internet – that is the most disturbing part of ESPN’s oversight. ESPN is already seen as a site that sits back and waits for news to break before pouncing on it. If they cannot build trust with their audience then they may lose audience members to other sites.
This credibility issue is something that all sports sites, including Rant Sports, have to deal with. Despite improvements in recent years, the internet is still an anonymous place. Google and Facebook seem locked in a battle to try and identify the most users on the internet, but until the days of retinal scanners in every webcam and finger print identifiers on every mouse, how can we trust who is online? The downfall of MySpace, for example, was due to a lack of credibility in the participant members of the site. Despite the push for privacy, credibility is important. Is Sarah Phillips real, or is she the concoction of a scam artist.
Of course, creating a stir on the internet is not a bad thing. Sarah Phillips is an attractive young woman competing for male attention. She is now a legend among those in the blogging world for being able to, in a way, scam the big guns. If she avoids lawsuits for fraud and identity theft, she would easily be able to find a job. According to her twitter account she wants out of the sports media, but for someone obsessed with making money, what price is right? Would you hire Sarah Phillips if the opportunity presented itself?