My source told me that Jon Gruden would be announced as UT's next head football coach that weekend.
On Thursday night, I got a call. It confirmed the information I had received the day before, but neither source was directly involved in the process.
You didn't see that reported because I was unsure whether I had received accurate information or not. I felt uncomfortable reporting something I wasn't 100 percent sure of. I tweeted from my personal account, but was as vague as possible.
"Predicting something big from Rocky Top on Friday."
I picked up over 100 followers overnight. Thursday was probably my favorite night in my career as a journalist. I worked to get as much information as possible on the report I had and continued to search for a more credible source. An article was published by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, confirming the information I had.
I didn't sleep, running on adrenaline and waiting for a source I could rely on. My caution at this point seemed a little overkill and I was tempted to report, along with the TFP, according to the information I had.
Fortunately, as a journalism student at UT, the one thing I've learned in three and a half-years is accuracy first, something "The Daily Beacon" is very strict on.I watched straight through the night and into the morning, as seasoned journalists threw caution to the wind and reported Gruden's impending announcement.
Around 9 a.m. Friday, I received a call from a source I consider absolutely reliable. He told me that the TFP report was inaccurate.While the university had reached out to Gruden over a week ago, Gruden had said he, "(w)asn't ready to make the move at that time."
There was no contract, no financial agreement (or disagreement) and no upcoming announcement from the university that day or that weekend.At that point, I immediately tweeted the information out to my followers and on The Daily Beacon account. I called my co-workers to inform them of the information I had and I began writing a report for our website.
I learned a lot through the process. I learned that not all information is accurate and I learned which sources can be considered reliable. I learned that at no point is it worthwhile to report something that may not be true, in an effort to beat the competition to a story, however tempting it my be.
On Thursday night, I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. I couldn't wait to see what the next day would hold. Friday didn't hold the information I thought it would, but it was still an amazing day, filled with journalistic surprises that make my job worthwhile.
I loved it. In other news, I heard a different rumor, but I think I'll wait to report on that one.
— Lauren Kittrell is a senior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.