Often Partisan

Rumours

Don’t believe everything you read. You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? It’s as true now as it’s ever been, yet some people still jump on every little rumour they hear. Football is one of those things that thrives on rumours, hearsay and gossip and I want to talk about this further.

Last night, a rumour started on twitter by a few bluenoses was picked up by Talksport within an hour or so, and reported by them as a credible rumour. They had to climb down quickly as they realised they’d been hoaxed, but the damage had been done – they had reported something as possibly true and lots of Villa fans were taken in by it.

I’ve said it before, but in the days of 24/7 sports news, the stations have to have something that fills the time. Not only this, but the pressure is on to be first with this news – people are taken in by exclusives, by yellow ticker tape banners on Sky or by breaking news reported on twitter. That news has to come from somewhere, and there is only a finite amount of reporters and resources to find this news. Now sure, good journos have lots of contacts and they regularly get fed stuff through with which to use as news. However, with the advent of social networking, it’s very easy to disseminate news quickly, and thus journos have had to learn to keep their ears to the ground – messageboards, forums and twitter are all sites to keep an eye on to catch on to a bit of news that hasn’t broken yet.

Obviously, the noise to signal ratio becomes high. There is a lot of smoke out there, but not much fire. A good journo can sift through the crap and pick up on the tiny nuggets of gold; but even good journos are under severe pressure to deliver news on a regular basis, and with this, comes desperation and laziness. Desperation in trying to find an exclusive, and laziness in not wanting to trawl through a black book of contacts to get a fat news story when there are stories all the time online. And thus mistakes are made, such as they were last night.

This is why it’s important for fans to realise that it’s not worth listening to every ounce of gossip without having a bit of inbuilt scepticism. I know some people who fly off the handle at every little thing they hear on Sky when it’s not worth it; often stuff is written to make people angry, to get them to call and email – it’s what drives things and keeps people watching and listening.

At the moment, Blues have a policy of not really talking about anything until it’s official, transfer wise. Whilst this ongoing managerial shenanigans have been going on, very little has been said officially by the club. Silence is hard to take sometimes, but it’s best it’s that way because then you know when the club DO say something, it’s happened. The club have taken to tweeting a picture of a player holding a shirt or a scarf on the kop as soon as they’ve signed for Blues; this sort of visual confirmation is what people should be holding out for all the time.

I’m sorry if any of you were taken in the by the rumour last night; I was in on the whole thing and sent a couple of messages from the Often Partisan twitter account. I saw it as a) a bit of harmless fun poked at our near neighbours, and b) an easy way to prove that this actually happens. I won’t do it again. Promise.

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2 Responses to “Rumours”

  • Griff says:

    On the whole I’ve enjoyed reading your blog but today’s article has left me uneasy. Namely the last paragraph.

    While some, I’m sure, would pat you on the back for “going along” with the fun and games of yesterday evening I’m confident there will be other pointing out the immaturity of doing so. Then of course there are those, wrongly or rightly, who will point out that the perfect get out clause for falling for such rumours is to say you were in on the joke all along. Either way it casts doubt and leaves egg on the face.

    Finally there the irony of taking the time to create and update what is a pretty serious and well research blog and then start an article with the words “Don’t believe everything you read”. Aah.. So you weren’t “in on the whole thing” at all!!


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