What Spartan fans need to know about the MSU media twitter war

Media outlets covering Michigan State football are at “war” with each other following late-night reports surfacing of Detroit Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell, an MSU recruit, allegedly assaulting a school security guard.

The “battlefield” is twitter. And the first “punch” was thrown by Bill Simonson, the host of the Huge Show which airs on 12 radio stations across the state. What was Huge’s major beef which caused virtual fists to fly?

He wanted to know what took the Lansing-based beat reporters so long to report on it?

Just before 11:30 Thursday morning, long-time Spartan beat writer and Detroit Free Press scribe, Joe Rexrode, tweeted out a link to the DFP story on allegations facing Campbell.

Things really heated up in the Twitterverse when HUGE replied to Rexrode’s tweet sarcastically congratulating the writer on his “fast work.”

Rexrode responded to one of Huge’s tweets:

What ensued was a fiery debate between Rexrode, fellow Gannett Corporation employee and Lansing State Journal columnist Graham Couch, and other MSU bloggers/reporters about one of the biggest questions facing journalism today: Get it first or get it right? Huge was on fire on Twitter and continuously bragged that he had already posted his opinion on Facebook:

What was it that HUGE said?

Was it a first-person confirmation of the facts?

Was it insightful sourcing?


It was this:

My thoughts on the Jayru Campbell video: He will never play at Michigan State. What he did isn’t an indictment on what Spartan football is about. Where Dantonio and his staff did go wrong was not doing something after watching the November 2013 video where he punched a Detroit Catholic Central player after a playoff loss. Campbell then went nuts after he threw the punch. State should’ve backed off then. Detroit player pipeline is the foundation for their recruiting. They couldn’t back away from the volatile Campbell. Delicate high wire act when it comes to recruiting. Finally, I was stunned to see not one student come to the aid of the security guard when he was assaulted in the hallway attack. Lesson for any kid out there is that one mistake can change your life.

It continued on twitter:





In a sports news-craved cyber community like the one in East Lansing, sometimes accuracy is traded for speed.

I asked isportsweb senior writer, David Harns, what this was all about. His response:

“As you can see, there are two types of journalists. First are those who are willing to regularly “report on reports.” In other words, their sources are other media outlets. The assumption is that those media outlets have done the proper sourcing.”

Harns continued:

“The second type are those that are willing to sacrifice getting it first for getting it right. They trade speed for accuracy. In a story like this about a 16 or 17-year old kid, the Rexrodes and the Couches of the world want to check and double-check before they report anything. They have a lot at stake if they get it wrong.”

In my opinion, any decently trained journalist will tell you getting the story right is better than getting the story fast.

But Huge and those writing for outlets like MLive Media Group* would argue that accuracy is not necessarily compromised by speed. It’s ok to assume that other media outlets have done their homework and have checked and double-checked their sources.

[*Editor’s note: Just like all the major news outlets in the state, MLive has many, many reporters who do a great job at verifying their information before reporting it. And, of course, all reporters at the Free Press, Detroit News, LSJ, et al, don’t always get it right every time. Isolated mistakes can happen. It was not fair to lump MLive in with HUGE in this regard.]

In this argument, I fall on the side of the journalists who are sure to confirm what they report first hand, whenever possible. As a reporter and information gatherer, trust is something you build. Most MSU fans trust what Rexrode reports. It is assumed that MLive* HUGE and others will probably “report” the stories first. But oftentimes those reports are taken with a grain of salt.

As you can imagine, challenging someone’s ability to do his or her work  is going to upset them, not just in journalism, but in any walk of life. Public claims of media bias without any substantiation is not the way to do it:



Then again, maybe this was just a marketing ploy by HUGE to gain some of Rexrode’s and Couch’s thousands of Twitter followers:


  • Taruckus

    Huge ego, tiny insights.

  • blahblahokgotit

    The only reason to listen to Simonson is if you love commercials.