Vishnu Parasuraman of All About The U ( Vishnu Parasuraman of All About The U (

All About The U Blog Hits It Again Re: Miami Hurricanes Allegations

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Vishnu Parasuraman of All About The U (www.allabouttheu.wordpress.com) garnered national media attention for his analysis of Charles Robinson‘s ‘Pulitzer-worthy story’. Robinson’s story, as we all know, focused on 72 players alleged to have received illicit benefits from a former Miami booster.

As writers around the country fed off the story, offering kneejerk reactions each one more outlandish than the last, Parasuraman simply pointed out flaws in Robinson’s article that most overlooked or didn’t bother to check. His goal was not to completely discredit the story, but his work provided much-needed perspective as the madness ensued.

He went beyond merely pointing out that the booster is a convicted felon in prison for lying and defrauding, as was the strategy of most fans trying to defend their team. Parasuraman offered sound reasoning. He even responded to criticism of the article the next day.

His latest article, published yesterday, is another worthwhile read. He continues to discuss the allegations against the program, offering new ideas and opinions as the story evolves and we learn more about it, as anybody should. Yesterday’s piece focuses on the media’s reaction to the story and where blame for the sensationalism that followed lies.

The story is long, so I won’t give the play-by-play, but I encourage anybody interested to give it a read. One point that I find particularly interesting, though, is his examination of what role the new media played in the way the story was covered.

“While I disagree with many of the methods Yahoo! used, I understand it,” Parasuraman writes. “Their job is to make the story as big and scandalous as possible. I wish that wasn’t the case, but that’s the way all media works now. The Associated Press, long the standard for fact based, dry news reporting now writes opinion pieces. Yahoo! reported the story the way that stories are reported in the 21st century.”

When we hear that a head coach knew of and did not disclose violations committed by his players, we’re shocked, but it doesn’t garner the outlandish opinions offered when we read words like ‘abortion,’ ‘pregnant,’ ‘strippers,’ ‘prostitutes,’ and others.

I overreacted. I didn’t call for the death penalty, but I started an article I wrote at the time for The XLog, “It’s bad. Really bad. Worse than what happened at USC. Worse than what happened at UNC. Worst than what happened at Ohio State. Just really, really bad.” I like to think that my article wasn’t one filled with kneejerk reactions like others written at the time, but if I had to write it again I’d do things a little differently.

(By the way, the Yahoo! article was published just a few days after I wrote a piece about the tradition returning to Miami. Wasn’t the first time something like that happened. An article I wrote about Cam Newton’s second chance after leaving Florida was quickly followed by the allegations against his father. Maybe I should take up George’s religion?)

Parasuraman goes on to note that those expected to comment on and analyze sports must do so with information that is largely incomplete. “[A]fter every game, we go to a panel of experts who know more about the sport than anyone watching,” he writes, “and we ask them to explain the unexplainable, where saying “bleep happens” is unacceptable. So those experts instead do their best. They take the amount of information in front of them, and they come up with some conclusions as best they can.”

News isn’t news if it’s an hour old these days. Writers are not allowed hours to process, consider, and formulate ideas and opinions. They’re allowed minutes. Sometimes even hours or days aren’t enough when faced with such dense material as was included in Robinson’s article. And when that’s the case you get the shaky analysis and not-fully-formed opinions that permeated the media and blogosphere in the wake of ‘the Miami article’.