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10/24/2009
05:14 PM
Michael Hickins
Michael Hickins
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Ochocinco Beats Single Coverage, Breaks Anquan Boldin News

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco likes to boast that he can't be covered. Now he says he's the one who'll be doing the covering. Of news.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco likes to boast that he can't be covered. Now he says he's the one who'll be doing the covering. Of news.Ochocinco announced today on Twitter that he's going to start breaking pro football news on his Twitter account -- and dubbed his new service OCNN (for Ochocinco News Network).

OCNN will be providing all news on and off the field, including my own team=no middle man needed, I am the source from now on<---Boom

And he's already breaking big-time news, reporting that injured Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin will play tomorrow against the New York Giants despite a sprained ankle.

If he breaks enough news of this nature, it will give opposing coaches one more reason to want to hold him down.

But as Ochocinco himself likes to say, you can't cover him, you can only hope to contain him. And just as football coaches try using "Cover 2" (effectively a double-team) on Ochocinco, mainstream papers will now have to cover Ochocinco with a media reporter as well as a sports reporter. Fortunately for managing editors everywhere, Ochocinco is too busy with his sports and reporting ventures to get in trouble off the field, or they'd need to add a third reporter to the Ochocinco beat.

This does seem like yet another nail in the coffin of traditional journalism because, as Ochocinco succinctly put it, "no middle man needed."

He's far from the first personality to use Twitter or other social media to speak directly to fans (think Curt Schilling, Miley Cyrus or Jonathan Schwartz).

But those people talked about themselves or their own ventures; Ochocino is promising to talk about other people and other teams. Is this part of the future of journalism? Ochocinco certainly has connections to the news makers and the platform to have himself heard.

But how high are his standards? Will he hold a scoop until he's corroborated with a second source? I doubt it, but very few publications do that anymore. We simply report that "so-and-so-says" and we're off to the rumor-races.

And even if he's consistently breaking accurate news, what about his ulterior motives? If the Bengals make the playoffs, will he break stories intended to destabilize the opposition?

On the one hand, insiders know news when they see it, and their knowledge lends credibility to their reporting. On the other hand, they can have ulterior motives for reporting something, and professional journalists are supposed to have more objectivity.

I'm not sure where this is leading, but I'll tell you one thing: Ochocinco can count me among his followers.

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