Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mississippi State FOOD FIGHT!!!

Mississippi Today's Rick Cleveland, The Clarion-Ledger's Michael Bonner, and Mississippi State University are having a good ole fashioned food fight.  The topic: the hiring of the new athletic director. 

Michael Bonner broke the news last week that MSU will promote baseball coach Jeff Cohen to A.D.:

Mississippi State’s search for its 17th athletic director concluded at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU baseball coach John Cohen will be the school’s next athletic director, multiple sources told The Clarion-Ledger on Wednesday. The same sources said that Cohen is expected to be introduced on Tuesday, which Mississippi State president Mark Keenum denied as part of a terse statement that argued against the validity of the entire report. Article

Mr. Keenum  took issue with Mr. Bonner's report in the same story:

“... At present, no decisions have been made, no announcements prepared, and no press conferences scheduled. Neither I nor any of the university’s senior communications staff was asked to confirm or deny Mr. Bonner’s story prior to his publication of it. Perhaps that’s most disappointing of all.

“We’re not going to make this personnel decision in the media. We will follow our plan, we will conduct this search in the manner we previously outlined, and we will ultimately make the best decision for Mississippi State. This will be done in an expeditious timeline, but on our timeline.”

Mr. Bonner also reported the hiring would be announced at a press conference today.  One may be forgiven for thinking that even if Mr. Cohen is hired, MSU will make the announcement on any day but today. 

However, Mr. Cleveland smelled a story here and jumped into the fray yesterday:

Q. In general, what do you think of using unnamed sources in news stories?

A. You always prefer not to use them. At one time, we had a policy at the CL that we would not, under any circumstances, use unnamed sources. That policy did not last long. We missed on many important stories because we could not get critical sources to go on the record. Our policy became that we would exhaust every effort to get named sources. If we could not, we would have at least two reliable unnamed sources, corroborating one another, before we would go with a story.

Mississippi Today, which carries my column now, has a policy not to use unnamed sources except in exceptional circumstances. If a story can be published only by relying on unnamed sources, two such sources are required and the editors must know the names of the sources and the circumstances around which they would have access to the information being discussed in the story.

 Q. What about Bonner’s story? Did he get it right?

A. I honestly don’t know. I have thought all along that John Cohen is the odds-on favorite to get the job. He has much support. That said, Keenum and everyone else I talk to at State, including MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter, my former Clarion-Ledger colleague, says no hire has been made and several interviews are scheduled.
Q. Do you have any problems with the way the story was handled?

A. Just one, assuming Bonner’s sources are knowledgable and reliable. We always had a policy that on news stories like this one, we would give the institution the opportunity to confirm or deny – and comment – on the story. That didn’t happen in this case. I asked sports editor Hugh Kellenberger (Bonner’s boss) about whether or not that policy is still in effect at The Clarion-Ledger.

His answer: “Yes, that’s the policy. No, it did not happen in this situation before publication. But with the sources Mike had on it, I still feel comfortable with the reporting.”

Why did the CL not follow policy on this story?

Kellenberger’s response: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to go into that.”
So, I asked Kellenberger if he had any comment on what Keenum said about Bonner and the newspaper.
“Mike has been consistently ahead of the pack on his reporting throughout this situation, including before Scott Stricklin left for Florida,” Kellenberger answered. “I have full confidence in his reporting.”

He surely must. Bonner’s story also said the same unnamed sources said Cohen “is expected to be introduced as athletic director next Tuesday.”

“That’s just not so,” Sid Salter said. “We would not schedule a press conference to announce the hiring of someone who has not been hired. Article

Feel free to fire away in the comments section.  


Anonymous said...

Old guard out in the pasture still enjoying their sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Kellenburger reports, or lets get reported, what is in the best interest for Ole Miss. Why Bonner is the MSU beat writer is beyond me. In short, for a beat writer, he sucks. He likes to create drama more than anything. Always trying to jump out and be the first one reporting, even if it's incorrect.

Just Saying said...

Anyone know what the Auburn jet was doing at JAN Thursday afternoon? Hopefully a recruiting mission and not interviewing a new baseball coach. If interviewing for a coaching position, certainly he wouldn't use the schools plane for it and keep it more low key.

Anonymous said...

Clarion ledger is garbage. Obviously biased towards ole miss.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think Rick could get more self-centered, given that he already makes every column about himself, but imagine my surprise when I read an interview that Rick conducted with...RICK!

Riveting stuff.

Here's an excerpt from next week's column: "Well, the Cubs have won their first pennant since before I was born, before I met legendary coach Hoozeewhatzit, and before I started writing for the Clarion-Ledger. I remember when I was covering them for the CL..."

Anonymous said...

I'd bet that Kellenburger had good info about Cohen being the guy (though the date thing may have been bad). What I wonder is if Keenum and MSU now hire someone else purely to say "told you so" to the CL. Also, I'd think that everyone in the SEC would be pleased with the hire of Cohen - especially the schools that care about baseball.

Anonymous said...

Kellenberger is a joke. You know the CL is done when someone like that has a supervisory role.

Anonymous said...

have to wonder why Keenum jumped into this... it makes NO sense. Just have Salter say, "the report is not correct." and be quiet afterwards until the new AD is revealed. Bonner obviously hit a raw nerve with his article, but why is the present mystery.

Anonymous said...

If Tate Reeves ever needs a double for his triple chin I know who he should call.

Anonymous said...

@1:39 PM because it is Keenum's hire and he doesn't appreciate leakers in his need-to-know ranks. Pretty simple.

Unless the leaker is Cohen himself then Keenum should be pissed.

Anonymous said...

MSU has had two home run AD hires. They have proven they take the job seriously enough to look at all options, but not to simply ignore what they have at home. Bonner's article could have an impact on who would take the time to toss their hat into the ring. They had to do that from a C-suite level to ensure it was legit. While Bonner may eventually be right, I think the report was illegitimate insofar as no decision had been made. He jumped the gun, and Kellenburger should have called him on it rather than doubling down.

Anonymous said...

The C-L was done when spun (hard) this garbage about a nationwide search and then hired Sam R Hall.

Anonymous said...

The CL and Sam R. Hall just reprint stories from other news sources (i.e. "according to WAPT", "as reported in the MS Business Journal", etc.)The front page is covered with some huge graphic and editorial opinion, not news. A potential "scoop" is much more important than a factual and timely news release, or Heaven forbid a chased and appropriately sourced story.

Anonymous said...

Cohen has been the rumored fill in since the day that Strickland left. Bonners "source" isn't anything special. Most of those in the know have heard this and all think it's a terrible idea. Cohen is great at winning baseball games, but he doesn't have the personality to be an AD out raising money and socializing. Bonner, Kellenburger, and the CL aren't stating anything that wasn't known.

Anonymous said...

12:03 --

Since Auburn hired an assistant coach from State only about one year ago, I doubt that's the reason. Gotta be recruiting, though I don't know whom; Gus was traveling quite a bit during the bye week.

Makes me curious, though.

Anonymous said...

No doubt the decision had been made, but they needed to go through the motions to complete their so called national search. That is why they are so pissed. Bonner busted them. They should have simply manned up and said Cohen is our man. No need to search.

Anonymous said...

Disagree with 3:15 that most 'think it is a terrible idea'. From what I hear, which I am sure is about as good as 3:15's, there are several that think he would be a great AD; some do hate to lose him as the BB coach. He has been shown to have the temperment and ability to be a good AD, and certainly is one of the strong candidates.

My opinion is Bonner jumped the gun based on what most people believe the result will be. Disagree with 5:03 also in that the decision has not been made - why worry about a national search if you already had made the decision? There are also two other Asst AD's that are under consideration on site.

I don't think they are pissed because Bonner "busted them" but because some pissant at a newspaper tried to show his importance with 'unnamed sources' that could have been the posters on this site.

Anonymous said...

11:58 is your prototypical State fan, angry at a newspaper the entire fanbase claims they don't read anymore--but they'll sure as hell tell you who needs to be fired there. Bonner does his job and that upsets you; what you want to read is a press release.

6:38 Spot on. None of them said a word when Matt Wyatt, via podcast, said Cohen would be the guy several days before the Clarion Ledger report.

Fall Four said...

It's hard, sometimes, to follow who is talking or being quoted on these stories on this blog. Not criticizing, just stating a fact. For example, I can't figure out who said this:

"So, I asked Kellenberger if he had any comment on what Keenum said about Bonner and the newspaper."

Otherwise...isn't it the duty of a reporter to 'try to jump out in front' on such stories? Why bitch about that having been done. Do we all sit around and wait for the ever-pompous-ass Salter to belly-up to his mic and make the announcement or do we have fun playing the 'let's guess' game.

Cohen is not the man for the job. Sure, he's been a decent baseball coach. But how many of us have seen twenty or more 'good actors' get promoted to 'acting director' who were not fit for the job. This is a fund raising job.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that Keenum didn't tweet out a picture of himself holding a champeenship wrasslin belt...

Anonymous said...

@12:52 Speaking of Twitter, isn't it the Rebels Ross Bjork who is the king of fighting with idiots on the interwebs.

Anonymous said...

NO 8:43....it is Pastor Freeze who is king of the twitter web. He boasts of something like 15,000 twitter followers.

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