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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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ICYMI: June 10 - The Class of 2024s graduation, volleyball state championship and Junes Fashionista of the Month
ICYMI: June 10 - The Class of 2024's graduation, volleyball state championship and June's Fashionista of the Month
June 17, 2024
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Opinion: Charissa Thompson is an unethical reporter

Credit: Jenny Shine
WSPN’s Jenny Shine and Bella Schreiber share their thoughts on Charissa Thompson and her scandal.

Charissa Thompson has destroyed the shred of respect that women in sports journalism have been working towards for years. Sideline reporting, a typically female dominated field, has never been given the amount of credit that it deserves. Women in all different areas of the sports world are looked down upon compared to men in the same field. It took years of effort and dedication for women to receive any credibility, all of which has been dismantled by one lazy reporter.

Thompson was a sideline reporter for Fox Sports and worked primarily at NFL games. She admitted not once, but twice, to fabricating quotes in her reports, quotes that were supposedly said by coaches. Thompson claims that she would do this in moments when coaches wouldn’t come out to the field during halftime or when it was too late to ask them questions. She would need to fill that space in her reporting, and resorted to concocting false narratives.

“No coach is gonna get mad if I say, ‘Hey, we need to stop hurting ourselves, we need to be better on third down, we need to stop turning the ball over and do a better job of getting off the field,” Thompson said. “Like, they’re not gonna correct me on that. I’m like, it’s fine, I’ll just make up the report.”

The harm in putting words in peoples mouths as a reporter is that you are supposed to be an unbiased, trusted source. There is almost no way for people to verify whether a coach truly said something or not, which feeds into the already existing mistrust surrounding reporting.

After immediate backlash from other sideline reporters, Thompson released an ‘apology’ post that aimed to protect her current role, and didn’t even own up to what she did. She stated that she has “never lied about anything or been unethical during my time as a sports broadcaster.” Further in the post she says, “I never attributed anything I said to a player or coach.”

While some of her apology post doesn’t even seem factual, the post feels like a slap in the face to the entire situation. She doesn’t seem sincere or willing to learn from her past mistakes. What impact will Thompson’s actions have on the future credibility of women in journalism? We fear that everything women have worked for in journalism is now in jeopardy because of Thompson.

Although we aren’t sports journalists for Fox Sports, our commitment to reporting on the truth has always been based on mentor journalists, who guide the way for us students. Seeing one of the top female sports journalists admit to these lies not only damages her own reputation, but also puts into question every other female journalist. Because she is one of the most prominent women journalists in the sports field, she holds a role of influence over the idea of women in journalism. Her lying makes it seem as if the women in the overall journalism field are unable to fulfill their job and journalistic responsibilities in an ethical way.

When we found out about her fabrication of quotes, we felt anger towards Thompson and anyone else who would back her up. It’s hard enough to be a woman in a male-dominated profession, so why would another woman deepen the narrative that women don’t belong in sports?

What does the future hold for opportunities for women and sports reporting? Will we be closely monitored by our male colleagues? Will we no longer be trusted to do our own work? No matter the amount of hard work and truth that other female journalists put into reporting, Thompson’s actions have threatened the credibility of their work everywhere.

CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson felt the same hurt we are currently experiencing when she found out about this treacherous news.

“This is absolutely not ok, not the norm and upsetting on so many levels,” Wolfson said. “I take my job very seriously, I hold myself accountable for all I say, I build trust with coaches and never make something up. I know my fellow reporters do the same.”

It’s unsettling to realize that due to Thompson’s careless actions, previously well-respected journalists like Wolfson are being put under the line of fire. Thompson, who is not even a sideline reporter anymore, managed to drag sideline reporters through the mud, and then leave them to be judged and questioned. It’s cruel to not only the audience who is getting false information, but to her fellow reporters, who will be scrutinized for her decision.

After hurting both her colleagues and the readers, we find it shocking that Thompson is still employed as a journalist. Although she is no longer a sideline reporter, she is a host on the Prime Thursday Night Football panel. Considering Thompson is a professional who has learned the same ethics as us high school reporters have, we expect better.

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About the Contributors
Bella Schreiber
Bella Schreiber, Sports Editor
Bella Schreiber, Class of 2025, is a third year reporter and sports editor for WSPN. She is a member of the varsity softball team at WHS. In her free time, Bella likes spending time with friends, baking, drawing and watching sports. Contact: [email protected]
Jenny Shine
Jenny Shine, Copy Editor
Jenny Shine, Class of 2024, is a second year reporter for WSPN. She is captain of the Wayland girls basketball team. Outside of school, she enjoys playing club basketball, traveling and spending time with friends and family.   Contact: [email protected]
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