When Being First Is Better Than Being Right

Ben Hunt is off contract and is looking to get the best deal he can. If that means moving from the Brisbane Broncos, he will move.

Hunt would tell his manager to get the best deal available for him. He would mention clubs he would enjoy playing for, some he would not want to play for, and he would rule in or our a move overseas or even to play Rugby Union, and from there his manager would go out and start making calls.

Now, players managers usually don’t just have one client, they have several. They are always having some dialog with clubs and it might not necessarily be about their highest profile client. Players managers work out deals for players at all levels of the game, and while they have the ear of a club, they might as well discuss others players on their books.

If a club could use a halfback, why wouldn’t you suggest your star halfback that just happens to be available? The manager stars selling his client, and a good manager can make a club want a player they don’t even need.

There is a difference between these feelers that are put out all the time and negotiating a contract.

Is it worth “reporting” as a news item?

I personally couldn’t give a stuff who my club is “talking to”. I just care about who they sign. Something isn’t news until it happens. Reporting that something might happen is a bit stupid if you ask me.

The problem is that in 2017 journalism is all about being first rather than being right. Get your story out there, call it an exclusive, call it breaking news, and if it turns out your report is completely wrong you just explain it away like a used car salesman would try to make you overlook the giant oil leak a car is sitting over the top of.

Reporting that Ben Hunt’s manager is talking to other clubs is like reporting that water is wet. Of course Ben Hunt’s manager is talking to clubs, that is his job!

Now, managers themselves know how this game works and they do everything they can to drive up the price of their players. After all, that is their job!

A manager loves seeing news headlines that states a player is being offered big money from one clubs. It can help generate a sense of urgency among clubs that actually want the player. It can make them up their game. That always means more money into the players pocket, and more money into the managers pocket too.

So journalists wants to be first, and they will report anything at all. Managers want to drive up the demand for their players, so they make sure journalists know how hot the demand is for their clients.

That the journalists decide to run with this as news doesn’t come as a surprise any more. Modern day journalist is about producing content first, its not about accuracy. Being handed easy content to push is the bread and butter of the job in 2017. Why would you decide to question the motives of anyone involved when you can be first!

When Ben Hunt finally does sign with a club we will see every news agency say it is “breaking news” and more than a few of them claiming they have the exclusive.

At least when that happens it might actually be newsworthy…

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