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Understanding ESPN's News Cycle

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While tuning in to catch Orson live on Scott Van Pelt's radio show yesterday, I stuck around for an interview with Bruce Feldman.  Although not covered at ESPN.com (the site Feldman writes for) or as a headline on Van Pelt's show (hosed on ESPN Radio), the discussion eventually lead to the current Penn State situation.

Keep in mind this was live at 3:30 yesterday, about an hour before Paterno announced that three of the players involved would be sitting out the game against Oregon State.


Really...awkward.  I was originally struck by Van Pelt's heavily conditioned opening, only to be upped by Feldman's maybe-sorta-kinda-mighta been involved description of Evans (Van Pelt simply grouped him with the others as the nameless "big names").  I'm probably making too much of this, but still, why such hesitation?

This had me thinking back at the recent timeline:


Wednesday, 4:59 am - The Daily Collegian reports that police obtained a warrant to enter the apartment of four Penn State football players.
Wednesday, ~10:00 am - Penn State bloggers pick up the story.
Wednesday, ~Noon - Local papers, including the CDT, run their own reports.
Wednesday, 3:30 pm - National blog Deadspin post about the incident.
...
Thursday, 3:30 pm - Van Pelt and ESPN writer Bruce Feldman discuss the incident on ESPN radio.
Thursday, 4:13 pm - ESPN finally picks up the story in their Big Ten blog.  After a short delay, it makes it up on ESPN's front page.  It is eventually covered on the network and runs on the "bottom line" on a seemingly continuous loop during the Thursday night game.

I'm not suggesting anything in particular except that I don't understand why ESPN waited so long to publish the story.  It was determined with confidence that a search warrant was issued for a Penn State football player residence 36 hours before anything was reported at the WWL.

Whether a re-evaluation of policy, or simply a knee-jerk reaction to the apparent harsh backlash they received from Penn State faithful, the time lag, and hesitant approach on the radio show, are curious.