Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Professor Roy Gutterman
Professor Steve Davis
Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
On Nov. 17, 2011, sports media conglomerate ESPN aired a story in which Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, stepbrothers and former ball boys for the Syracuse University men’s basketball program, accused Bernie Fine, then an assistant coach for the Syracuse men’s basketball team, of sexually abusing them as children. As the story developed, the reporting methods used by ESPN and The Post-Standard, the daily newspaper in Syracuse, were put into question. This report looks at what these news organizations did in their investigative reporting of the allegations against Fine and analyzes whether or not it was morally acceptable. To do this, the report considers the accepted ethics of journalism to use as a lens through which these events can be examined, as well as articles and interviews, including those about the investigation and those looking at the reporting that went behind it. It concludes that while both ESPN and The Post-Standard were correct in not publishing the allegations when they were first received in the early 2000s, these media outlets did not act as ethically as expected at various points throughout their investigations.
Diglio, Giuseppe S., "Over the Line: Ethical Issues in the Media Coverage of the Bernie Fine Scandal" (2014). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 779.
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