NBC Web Producer Creates Firestorm in the Pole Vault World

NBC track & field web producer, Joe Battaglia, for the Olympics created a bit of a stir with his blog post on the NBC website, “Upstart calls Olympic pole vault champ a ‘tramp'” yesterday.

UK pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale

In it, he calls out British pole vault Holly Bleasdale for comments allegedly made to the British tabloid Daily Express after Friday’s Herculis competition in Monaco regarding world record holder Yelena Isinbayevaw including calling Isinbayeva a “tramp”.

Strangely, the Daily Express’ article, “Great Britain’s Holly Bleasdale unimpressed by Yelena Isinbayevaw’s Tramp Act“, doesn’t quote Bleasdale as saying that. She is quoted as saying, “I’ve seen Isinbayeva do that, looks like a tramp on a street corner. I do think it’s disrespectful to us.”

Problem is, Bleasdale and her coach are denying she even spoke to the Daily Express, saying she only spoke to the BBC after the Monaco competition on Friday.

Whether she said it or not, looking like a tramp and being a tramp are very different things. As of this morning, Battiglia is sticking to his guns on Twitter: “Happy to print Holly’s take if she denies ever speaking to Express. I’m easily found/reachable.”

Unfortunately, Battaglia’s “take” is already posted for the world to see in which he accuses Bleasdale of calling a fellow competitor a tramp. Since Bleasdale is very active on Twitter, it seems reasonable that Battaglia could have easily contacted her before writing his piece — especially one so tough.

I’ve been in journalist in one form or another for nearly 40 years. One of the cardinal rules of journalism is, if you’re gong to say something, you better make sure you’re right.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.

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