Recently, two issues have popped up across my desk that needs to be address in terms of professionalism and ethics in reporting the news. The first deals with sharing of information, and the other is what is proper and not proper to write about. Both are serious and needed to be address, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone in this article.
A plaguing problem that I have had to deal with day in and day out is the rampant plagiarism of some of my articles. I am always interested in sharing news and information for other websites and appreciate the fact that I have been one of the better sources for women’s mixed martial arts news. However, simply copying and pasting a post on another website without any credit is lazy and is one of the most impolite and insulting things to do. If you want to use my information on your website, all I request is two things. First, make sure to attribute the information to WombatSports.com. Second, write your own piece about the information. It’s the best way you can differentiate your site and make a name for yourself.
Now on to the other issue that has popped up this week. Since the Atchley Gate scandal, more fighters have been coming forward with gripes and allegations that have been plaguing the community for a while. The major focus has been on a certain person who has been asking certain unnerving and uncomfortable questions towards fighters for his posts. The person in question has been trying to repent, but his reputation in the community is pretty much ruined. You can read about some of the allegations about this person on the Supporting WMMA website.
The person in question writings brings us back to a time when it was the wild wild west in WMMA journalism; when the only reason a female fighter got coverage was because they were “hot and sexy”. Since then, sites dedicated to cover the women’s divisions in mixed martial arts has evolved, focusing on the fighters as well trained athletes first and foremost. The best way to be taken seriously as a journalist is to do so.
We cannot deny there is an audience still for the more sexy side of the sport, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. From the allegations I am hearing from fighters, the person in question has crossed it more than once.
The thing about being a journalist in the sport is that the relationship is cyclical. We cover the fighters, and the fighters gives us information and insight. You need a good relationship with fighters, and asking them inappropriate questions is basically a death null for your credibility. It makes you a blogger for the most part, who talks about news from other sites, and doesn’t give credence to the subject matter you are writing about. Fighters need to be aware that they have the power to give coverage to whoever they deem fit, and to show awareness of those creeps that make them uncomfortable.
Do I think reporting WMMA news always has to be serious? Not at all. I from time to time do fun articles, but I make sure that my subject is respected and I am comfortable with it.
The best thing we can do is not read articles that disrespect the fighters and WMMA as a whole. (Why I haven’t named this person in the article.) Internally, we must educate and encourage some up and coming reporters to focus on the important things of the sport, and not to rely on the “sexy” angles for their reporting.
Filed under: MMAPowered by Sidelines