Analysis of the Coverage of Colin Kaepernick Nike Deal by Traditional and Emerging News Sources

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This past week the internet was engaged in a storming debate after the controversial appointment of Colin Kaepernick by Nike as its brand ambassador. The announcement of Kaepernick through twitter generated massive excitement in social media as trending hashtags and various publications together with news agencies were quick to pick on the story. However, analysis of the coverage of Kaepernick deal with Nike on traditional news outlets and from emerging news sources such social media and general blogs reveals significant discrepancies in journalism attributes on the coverage of the story.

Reporters of the New York Times (NYT) which is an example of a traditional news outlet Draper and Belson report on Kaepernick debate is utterly different to that made by a general blog called Conservative Columns (CN). The New York Times reporters apply the principles of journalism which include verification, neutrality, and independence, unlike the Conservative Column story that displayed poor journalism. Craft and Davis define journalism as "a set of transparent, independent procedures aimed at gathering, verifying, and reporting truthful information, of consequences to citizens in a democracy" (34). The CN fails at the verification level because the report does reveal the source of their sensitive information basing their story on hearsay. On the other hand, Draper and Belson disclose the identity of the people they quote. Even though the CN reporter can argue that they hide the names of their sources to protect their privacy, lack of a source of information cast doubts to their story. Angelo Fichera of fact check reveals that the story is indeed fake as it originated from a satirical news source, but CN reported it as real news without even disclosing that they are not the source of the story. CN coverage of the issue is a perfect example of confirmation bias as such a story support the belief of the reporter which considers Kaepernick as an unpatriotic and such story is good news for people who share the reporter's views.

The neutrality of CN is also in question as their reporting is one-sided. In comparison to the NYT article, Draper and Belson balance the coverage of both sides that support and criticize Kaepernick. While covering about the backlash that Nike has faced they provide sample Tweets from both sides to acknowledge that while some fractions are against Nike others are supporting the company's stand. Also, Draper and Belson do not show any indication that they support any side but are reporting things as they are. CN can argue that what the NYT reporters are guilty of shoddy journalism as they are merely reporting both sides without objectivity. However, a reporter who advocates and involves themselves in such delicate matters risks losing the public trust even if they were impartial (Craft and Davis 54).

Closely related to the issue of neutrality is the independence of practitioners and their media houses. Just from the title of the CN and the content of the website it is clear that they support and promote conservatives views while despising those with alternative opinions. Traditional news outlets such as NYT have guidelines and policies to support independence from fractions. On the other side, the advancement in technology has given citizen journalist such as CN opportunity to blog and post on social media accounts without restrictions. Such freedom is easily abused as citizen journalists like CN do not apply Craft and Davis definition of journalism which emphasizes for transparency, credibility, and the accuracy of information that impacts on citizens' democracy.

Works Cited

Conservative Columns. "BREAKING: Colin Kaepernick Immediately Loses Nike Endorsement

After Anti-White Rant - Conservative Columns". Conservative Columns, 2018, Accessed 12 Sept 2018.

Craft, Stephanie, and Charles N. Davis. Principles of American Journalism: An Introduction.

2nd ed., Routledge, 2016.

Draper, Kevin, and Ken Belson. "Colin Kaepernick’S Nike Campaign Keeps N.F.L. Anthem

Kneeling In Spotlight". Nytimes.Com, 2018, Accessed 12 Sept 2018.

Fichera, Angelo. "False Claim about Kaepernick's Nike Deal - Factcheck.Org". Factcheck.Org,

2018, Accessed 12 Sept 2018.

September 11, 2023

Business Sociology

Subject area:

News Newspaper Media

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