It was an anonymous tip that led to the investigation into Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o's online relationship, which was revealed to be a hoax on Wednesday, the Deadspin editors who broke the story told CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey claim they received an anonymous email last week that read, "Hey, you know, something is fishy about the Te’o girlfriend story, you should check it out."
The two then conducted their own investigation. In an email interview with media watchdog Poynter Institute
on Wednesday, Burke revealed what went into the reporting process.
"You can learn a lot about what happened by looking at the contradictions between other journalists’ stories," Burke wrote. "That was what really tipped us off, after all, that something was weird here. Major news organizations disagreed on the date of a person’s death by up to four days."
Burke said the fact that Deadspin was the first to look into the Te'o story shows "the diminished role investigative journalism plays anymore."
Here's Burke's version of how he and Dickey cracked the Te'o hoax, as told to Cooper:
"What do you do when you first want to know something? You Google it. And Google searches for Lennay Kekua
only showed up articles about her dying and inspiring Manti Te’o. There was no evidence of her existing in any way, other than after she had allegedly died. We thought that was weird.
"We called in to Stanford. Several articles insisted that she had either been a Stanford student or a Stanford alumna and nothing checked out there. We called all the mortuaries and funeral homes in Carson, California where several sources had reported she had been buried. They had no information on it.
"When we finally were able to track back to see all these pictures, these pictures that had represented Lennay Kekua and we found the actual alive-doesn’t-have-leukemia-and-has-never-met-Manti Te’o-person that they belong to, that sort of opened everything up."
More Coverage of Manti Te'o Girlfriend Hoax
Manti Te'o Girlfriend 'Catfish' Hoax is Fodder for Jokes on Twitter
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.