The Seattle Times’ Danny Wesneat writes this morning about a storm of criticism from Huskies fans that his paper’s blistering series on players’ misdoings constitutes “old news.” It is a subject that ignited some debate in a Weekly news meeting the other day. Personally, I think such criticism couldn’t be more wrong. It’s usually only after the fact that the details of what really happened comes out. If you’re not willing to go back and take a look, the ones at fault get a free ride. It’s something media savvy folks count on, and use to their advantage. One of their common tricks, employed on me on this story and others, is to play the “old news” card in an attempt to embarrass reporters and discourage them from pursuing a story.
Even more importantly, such criticism ignores the point of journalism like this. It’s not really about the specific people involved. It’s about the culture that let’s these things happen -- in the case of the Times’ series, a sickening culture of college athletics that covers up even criminal behavior and sucks in prosecutors, judges and reporters. To understand what happened here is to understand what happens elsewhere and what probably will happen here again -- especially in light of the “new news” of UW athletic director Todd Turner’s ouster, seemingly for valuing integrity more than victory.