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Commentary: Bloggers Vs. Print Journalists

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, June 12, 2009 08:00 AM | Comments: 40
Commentary, Posts

IbanezcommentaryBear with this post. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to weigh in on the matter between Jerod Morris (Midwest Sports Fans) and print journalism (Philadelphia Inquirer)

When Jerod Morris first posted his discussion piece about performance-enhancing drugs and Raul Ibanez on Midwest Sports Fans, I didn’t see it. When the piece was first brought to my attention – as the senior writer at a Phillies blog that weighs heavily in the sports blogosphere – I didn’t touch it. Usually I’d stash a blog post like this in an “Odds and Ends” post, since really, that’s all it was: An odd piece that ties a Phillie player having a career season to the age of PEDs.

When John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer cited Morris’ piece in “Gonzo,” I still didn’t touch it. This wasn’t news. Gonzalez likes berating what some believe are “Phillie-haters” all the time – that’s his shtick. Then it was all brought to Ibanez’s attention. At that point the story became something Phillies Nation could consider “news”: A Phillie player spoke about a matter of some importance. Amanda Orr posted Ibanez’s quote. For us, end of story.

Even as the fervor continued with Morris and Gonzalez meeting on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” I didn’t care to give it any more space, because what started as a thoughtful blog piece about curiosity behind Ibanez’s season became the latest chew toy in the print journalist vs. blogger tug of war.

But since that appearance, already hundreds of bloggers and members of the mainstream media have reacted in their specific spaces. We’ve seen attempted lessons about integrity and ethics. We’ve seen cheap shots. Back and forth, like two mutts gnawing at a rubber bone.

It occurred to me, while watching this mess, that I am in an unusual position: I am an independent sports blogger (writing about the team related to the post) who is also a professional member of print media. Yes, in my non-Phillies Nation time I am an editor at a newspaper with a circulation just under 100,000 daily readers. I have learned how to be a journalist. I have learned how to write. I have learned how to get the truth. And I also, every day, write without access and resources about a baseball team.

Ibanezcommentary2Origins of the issue

Morris, who writes without access and resources, wrote a piece discussing Ibanez’s hot start.

[Now, I don’t understand why he would pen an article about Ibanez anyway – if Midwest Sports Fans is supposed to report on Midwest sports matters (JRod’s posts are almost all about the White Sox, with some Cubs and Tigers thrown in), where does Ibanez factor? (just as I wouldn’t write a post about Ken Griffey Jr. unless the Phillies were playing his team at the time)]

That noted, Morris’ post didn’t accuse Ibanez of taking performance-enhancing drugs. It mentioned the possibility, but merely as the “elephant in the room,” a discussion point, if you will. Is he allowed to speculate there’s a chance of PEDs playing a part in Ibanez’s productivity? Sure. Did he come to conclusions? No. He didn’t come to conclusions about ballpark factors (despite researching), he didn’t come to conclusions about trends (despite researching) and he didn’t come to conclusions about PEDs (and he researched, noting that Ibanez has never tested positive).

The piece gained some steam on the internet. Hugging Harold Reynolds (a blog with some Phillies allegiance) retweeted the post. Then more people read it. And it’s possible – and this is important – people with lesser knowledge of discerning intelligent writing read it. Soon word got to Gonzalez, who then wrote this  in “Gonzo”:

Then JRod dismissed all the evidence of opportunism, pivoted like a second baseman turning a double play, and fired his conclusion into the mitts of conspiracy theorists and amateur drug testers everywhere: “Any aging hitter who puts up numbers this much better than his career averages is going to immediately generate suspicion that the numbers are not natural, that perhaps he is under the influence of some sort of performance enhancer. … Maybe the 37-year-old Ibanez trained differently this off-season with the pressure of joining the Phillies’ great lineup and is in the best shape he’s ever been in. And maybe that training included. … Well, you know where that one was going, but I’d prefer to leave it as unstated speculation.”

Morris didn’t dismiss opportunism; clearly, he was stumped by it, like everyone else covering Ibanez this season. I have been asked about Ibanez – and yes, I have been asked if he might be taking PEDs. My answer? He hasn’t tested positive. He’s killing the ball. He’s a great hitter. He’s seeing the ball well. That’s what we know.

Gonzalez’s “pivoted like a second baseman turning a double play, and fired his conclusion into the mitts of conspiracy theorists and amateur drug testers everywhere” is false and lazy. He’s writing that Morris threw all his prior investigation away. He didn’t. He simply left his findings to interpretation. Again, he made no conclusions.

And a second baseman? Come on, Gonzalez. If you’re going to write a piece about an outfielder, at least give us the “clutched the ball after it ricocheted off the wall, then pivoted and slung a laser right into the mitts of … blah blah blah.”

Moreover, whomever copy edited and added the brilliant headline “A cheap shot at Ibanez” is also quite lazy and is adhering to the school of “If it bleeds, it leads!”

Then again, it’s absolutely appropriate.

You see, the market is Philadelphia. And Gonzo’s market is the Daily News readership – the working class chest-pounding Philadelphia phan. Gonzalez is meant to give the Inquirer’s sports section a casual voice that can both cater to the fan and the player. He’s meant to bridge the gap between old-school ethics and new-school technologies. Heck, he even spelled it out in the column:

I’m not a blog hater. I’m not an old-school newspaper guy who fears the Internet the way children fear what’s under their bed. Far from it.

No, Gonzalez can be chummy with Enrico Campitelli and Bill Lyon at the same time. Really cool. Like me, he is likely schooled in traditional journalism and new media. So the Inquirer lets him spout off, cater to his fanbase and be a little flashy. That’s the goal: Make people talk. So the column, the headline, the “Outside the Lines” appearance: All of that pretty much accomplished everything Gonzalez was hoping to accomplish, at least somewhere intrinsically. It brought a slew of readers to the site and maybe introduced some more to page two of the Inquirer’s Sports section. Like my own newspaper, the Daily News (Philadelphia Media Holdings) is trying to stay alive. Despite every darned blog that creeps into the fold.

What about Morris? What did he accomplish? Well, he received internet prominence, a national television appearance and a bunch of hits for Midwest Sports Fans. Maybe he also gained some readers. Then again, he also has a collection of Philadelphians knocking down his proverbial door for his head. Which isn’t right. Read the post again, then ask yourself if Morris was accusing Ibanez of taking PEDs.

Ibanezcommentary3The larger issue

But the larger issue in all this is about responsibility and integrity, and about the ongoing fight blogs face with print and other mainstream media.

From an independent blogger standpoint, I absolutely try with all my might to be recognized by the Philadelphia Phillies. And yes, if I can be recognized by the mainstream media, that would be fantastic. I spoke yesterday with Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog, who has championed this ideal: He started a blog about the Mets, it grew in popularity, he reached an agreement with SNY and now works for the network. (Related, I made my TV debut, as a Phillies Nation writer … in the New York media. Not in Philadelphia, which is incredibly frustrating.) Has MetsBlog lost its mission? No. It’s still the best place to go for Mets news and opinion. But has Cerrone furthered himself? Absolutely. His entire life is devoted to his family and the Mets.

In my position, I want more than to devote my life to family and the Phillies. But that’s not the case right now. So I try, again, for recognition, but respectfully. I cite every story I post. I try not to base my opinions on things I don’t know, and if I don’t know things, I make sure everyone knows. And if I were to write a post trying to question Ibanez’s hot start, I wouldn’t conclude that he was taking anything, nor would I conclude that the ballpark is the reason, only unless I had specific findings, like any reporter.

Again, Morris didn’t conclude anything. So he kept his findings open. That was fine.

But Gonzalez went to town, and the Inquirer let the flash and zing of his column find print and online posting.

From a print journalist standpoint, I understand why Gonzalez and the Inquirer ran with the story. It sparked discussion, it catered to its audience and it garnered the Web attention any good opinion piece should in today’s digital world. Traditionally, the writing was lazy and the accusations were false in language. But these days tradition can take a back seat to Web hits. Simple as that.

The greater problem, however, lies in the reading of the mess. People failed to understand why Gonzalez wrote the piece, and people failed to understand the overall point to “Gonzo.” Instead, people redirected Morris’ accusations at his inability to deeply report a story. People seem to think Morris shouldn’t have posted anything because he didn’t have access to Ibanez, or knowledge of the steroid and PED issue. All Morris had were some Web links, access to Baseball-Reference, ESPNs Resources and FanGraphs. Like almost all of us.

People fail to recognize that independent sports bloggers are allowed to question and leave findings open. They don’t need to talk to direct sources to secure their findings because – guess what – they’re not given access.

[In fact, I spoke with Ibanez a few months ago. At a charity event. That Phillies Nation paid good money to attend.]

But a sports page in the Inquirer is – however – allowed to staff a writer who gets to both opine about issues and leave findings open (like a blogger) while also talk to players and front office people (like a reporter). Here’s one major misstep Gonzalez never even brought up in “Gonzo”: He never, ever allowed Morris his side of the story. Why didn’t he talk to Morris? Isn’t that the job of a reporter – to secure all sides of a story?

But, again, Gonzalez isn’t entitled to that. He’s only supposed to write an opinionated column, which he does, and sometimes very well.

Maybe the real culprit in all this is Jim Salisbury, who coaxed Ibanez for a response to Gonzalez’s findings. Then again, Salisbury is looking for a money quote from a hot player. How could that not get him more readers? Of course, Ibanez supplied Salisbury with a juicy line, complete with active, demanding language. Salisbury got what he wanted. Then again, maybe Salisbury, by asking his question, should’ve then gone to Morris for his reaction. He didn’t.

You see what the problem is: For all the high-headed heraldry print journalism tries to uphold, its members are still subjected to the same practices they’ve always held. If print editors want to expand the medium’s reach that’s fine, but they must keep with the standards of journalism. Gonzalez posting the blog on his column is one thing. But Gonzalez turning the blog’s post into vitriol isn’t correct. And Salisbury forgetting his journalistic standards is plain irresponsible.

Yet the matter becomes a widespread national story because of the basic battle it represents: Bloggers vs. print journalists. On one side are the unchecked men, women, boys and girls with opinions and plenty of Web space. On the other side are the checked men and women who earn a living by seeking truth. Simple as that. And the Inquirer didn’t live up to its standards.

Conclusion

Look: Bloggers don’t have the clout of print journalists because there’s too much chaff. Many public relations officials, front offices, players and coaches of this day still look at blogs as if they’re evil creations because, frankly, they’ve long lived in the print journalism era. And while the transformation from print journalism to internet continues, there will continue to be battles between the two sides as bloggers fight for respect.

I want respect. I’m sure thousands of other bloggers want respect, too. But instead of working with bloggers to ensure the battle for truth endures, print journalists — and not just the Inquirer — instead show instant disrespect.

And a major rule of journalism: Keep an open mind.

Practice what you preach.

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1948 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 pb

    I’ve got some tickets for tonight if anyone is interested, my contact info can be found in the “ticket exchange” section under “navigate the nation” on the main phillies nation page

    thanks
    pb

     
  • Posts: 0 dc

    Tim,

    An excellent read. Just when Morris’ post should have been left to die, “Gonzo” on that unreadable second page of the Inquirer’s sports page made it news. And then the sparks flew.

    And that’s when Ibanez felt he had to say something – because he read it in the paper. Which is still supposed to be the place for news – or at least, “informed opinion”

    I’m saddened on so many levels here.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob Myers

    I wish you had direct and free and unfettered access to Phillies players. We would all benefit. I’m tired of sports journalists not doing their job, not doing research and just bloviating.

    Example, WIP 610 Philly Sports Radio really stinks. They talk about breast enlargement on the morning show and all kinds of non-sports stuff, cause they are lazy, don’t do their jobs, and have little of value to report. Hey, if I want Howard Stern, I’ll turn the dial. I’m frustrated that we get so little analysis, interviews, inside-knowledge in Philadelphia about our Phillies. I listened to New York radio and got a lot more news about my Phillies than in Philadelphia!

     
  • Posts: 0 Steve-o

    Tim, I think the biggest reason for this is that newspapers are dying, and a big reason for that is that is the creation and growth of blogs. This causes the newspapers to attack, trying to show the blogs as rookie journalism, undeserving of readership. I personally feel many journalists do so to keep up their own readership, and keep a giant industry alive. Just my opinion though.

     
  • Posts: 0 TimMalcolm

    Steve-o: I would agree, but I think real traditional journalists see blogs more as rookie journalism. There are journalists out there that I know that appreciate what independent blogs do and think some of the writers are skilled.

    It isn’t as cutthroat as you think, though. Print journalism has opened up to blogs and have tried to do their own, but a lot of newspapers and journalists don’t even know how to operate blogs.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Nice article Tim..

    I’ve personally been reading a lot more of the Sport’s section, just to make sure that I am as up to date as I can be, when sharing my views and opinons on this very website. I think that the FREE access to philly.com is a good thing that way, but will also be killing the physical-newspaper soon.. why should I pay for home delivery when I can read the same stories for FREE on my computer??

    Print-Journalists are scared of losing their jobs.. and the already establised Blogs becoming more and more popular by the day are what might replace them..

    You guys generally set a job tone.. and people on here are generally responsible and willing to back up their statements and views.. which makes this the only blog I read on a regular basis. Keep up these high standards and this site will keep growing, you’ll get your player-access soon!

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoege

    Journalism, and I include a lot of blogs here, has, unfortunately, deteriorated to the level of talk radio, i.e., idiots having confrontations with other idiots. I don’t include this article in that “talk radio” category, however.

    But truly, when a print journalist is allowed to be irresponsible for the sake of circulation, or a blogger can speculate without real thought, we are in trouble.

    While the original post about Raul Ibanez could have been taken as a conjecture on what others’ might conclude, his later statements, at least to me, indicated that he felt there may be some truth to those speculations of PED usage. And who’s right is it in any case to decide what others will be thinking? Is this blogger a mind reader?

    No, this is not a matter of blogger vs. print journalist. It is a matter of several people being irresponsible. It’s also a matter of the public being gullible enough to argue about the unsubstantiated. It is a matter of simple insults for the sake of a second or two of bogus fame.

    While I appreciate an intelligently written article about the whole situation, I can’t completely come to the same conclusions, and feel that this whole matter should just be tuned out, the same way as talk radio can be. I’m sick of the entire idiotic conversation. I’m disgusted with overreaction and vindictiveness.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Tim,

    the other thing I think.. is that other blogs are all about the “author” and the comment sections are too hard to read, too hard to follow..

    This site clearly lays out your views.. and then allows the reader to converse with you, and the other readers.. in a well-structured manner.

    I think of myself (and others) as a “blogger” .. I think of you guys as “Authors, Writers, and/or Journalists” .. the ones with the OFFICIAL stance on a given subject.

    Some in the media, guys like “Gonzo,” seem to understand that.. the old-school guys really don’t get it.. and they view blogs as a “written-sports-talk-radio” ..which really isn’t the case.

    I used to listen to 610wip at work.. now I’m on here instead to get my sports dosage, Phillies talk being the best medicine of all.

    Keep things just the way they are.. keep getting your name out there (Mets TV or ANYTHING else you can get) continue to grow your brand, because “brand loyalty” is a serious thing.. and you guys have a lot of us hooked on a good thing here. The athletes and the main-stream-media will come around at some point.. just keep plugging away guys!

     
  • Posts: 0 TimMalcolm

    Well that’s what it’s become: overreaction. It’s very simple: The Inquirer misread this whole thing and did things it shouldn’t have done. But I was getting tired of seeing so many responses from people who weren’t quite seeing it from all angles.

     
  • Posts: 0 Shawn

    Tim:
    Thanks for clearing that up. Good luck with getting access to the Phillies. Love the site.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Blogs and other alternative media are necessary in todays age. While sports blogs have their own merits, news or news-related blogs are a linchpin of the alternative media. Everyone knows that modern mainstream broadcast and print journalism is profoundly biased – be it as government propaganda (most of it) or corporate shilling (through billions of dollars of sponsorship agreements) – the age of the truth crusader in mainstream communication is all but over. To return to that age, we must put faith in SERIOUS members of the alternative media and support that larger movement of responsible citizen journalism as it exposes the bias of the mainstream media by consistently reporting factual information. This period of time is quickly becoming the tipping point that will mark the shift away from the failed age of the old media and the birth of the new media: average citizens. This new media will eventually partially filter into the old media and restore parts of its lost luster.

    Why do you think the Chicago Tribune, the NY Post, and all these other newspapers are bankrupt and failing? Because everyone knows its full of lies and corporate-government propaganda. People are turning to blogs and online news amalgamations for their information. The mainstream media still doesn’t understand that nobody wants to hear those lies anymore.

    Eventually things will right themselves through RESPONSIBLE citizen journalism in all subject matters.

     
  • Posts: 0 R.C. Cowie

    Tim Malcolm is a treasure. We first noticed him when he started his own blog, and quickly decided that his skills would be better put to use on our stage and to our audience. He hasn’t dissapointed and has really been influencial to where Phillies Nation has come from and is currently going. It’s examples like this that should prove to the Old Media that people with a website, along with legit opinion and analysis, shouldn’t be feared but accepted and appreciated.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Great piece Tim. I used to subscribe to the Inquier. I stopped two months ago. They are aweful. I dont think there sports writers do a very good job. Not like the New York Times. I dont mind reading David Murphy over at the Daily News. Just dont like tabloid papers. So I come here for the news. Thanks and keep it up.

     
  • Posts: 578 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    One issue that I have come across in dealing with the Phils and other Media Relations departments, is that they have come to recognize sports blogs as legit. However in doling out press credentials they have yet to come up with a system for determining who is legit and who is not. So to their credit, MLB teams are beginning to take us seriously (some teams more than others). They have to now that the numbers in the press boxes are dwindling. But I expect another 2 years before our industry goes mainstream.

     
  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    I have an Idea…. Tim you should write a story about how Dustin Pedroia is a “switch hitter” and frequents underground bath houses in different cities.

    You can use Geoff (aka Jeff) as your source….

    This would definately piss off some Sox fans in town this weekend… and with the attention blogs are getting right now you might just make espn.

     
  • Posts: 0 Michelle

    A nice read. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    The fact that you’re a newspaper-trained journalist explains why this blog has landed in such a high spot in my RSS reader. I hadn’t known you were a journalist before, but it makes sense: your posts are well written, well cited, and well thought out. I am also a journalist (newspaper, magazine and web) and I have a gut response to blogs that is generally unpleasant–not because I fear they’ll be the “end of journalism,” but because so many bloggers are touted as journalists when they’re simply anything but. Yours is one of the few blogs I’ve found that even bothers to cite sources. Thanks for all your hard work–I hope you get the recognition you deserve!

     
  • Posts: 0 Scotty

    Excellent piece, Tim. Cheers for chiming in.

    I wonder if, underneath it all, there isn’t another level of resentment between print journos and unfiltered, unsupervised and intrinsically provocative online journos. Gonzalez may have been simply trying to show the power of his punch. A “stand down” type of thing. Still a little unprofessional, but I can imagine it’s difficult not to give it back to bloggers who can simply let the disposable glut of Internet information wash away their sins. In print, it’s out there forever, so in some ways, those who go to ink are playing in a bigger league.

    I also wonder if, as a print journo yourself, would Morris’ article been allowed to clear the edit cops and make it into the Daily News? I’m assuming it wouldn’t. That said, he needs to understand the size of the stick he’s wielding. It’s not virtual anymore, either.

    Having weighed all the opinions, I can’t say Morris is inculpable here, and I think any beating he might have taken may have been a good thing for fans, players and journos alike.

     
  • Posts: 0 TimMalcolm

    Scotty: There is no way Morris’ piece would make it through my editing and into my paper. I would’ve had him reach out to Ibanez to at least have him speak about why he’s been hitting so well.

    But then again, he would’ve had access.

    As an independent blogger, he doesn’t have access to Ibanez (none of us do), so he’s allowed to speculate, but he shouldn’t be allowed to conclude. Again, he didn’t conclude.

     
  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    I speculate BIG Papi was on roids….. all signs point to yes.

    Not to mention Roids seem to be very prevelant among the hispanic baseball community.

     
  • Posts: 0 Derek Hixon

    Well written and stated. Great piece.

     
  • Posts: 0 Vince

    It seems that mainstream print media is going the way of ESPN. Always looking for drama. It seems the way to go right now as the die hard sports people will still go there and the borderline folks will just to see the drama.
    Local sports talk radio is a joke, not only in Philadelphia, but nationwide for this same reason. Luckily now, I have other outlets to get my sports news. I love this blog and there are any number of pretty solid blogs for the other Philly sports. And for TV, I avoid ESPN completely. I give myself a steady dose of the MLB, NFL and NHL networks. At least for now, these stations are all about the sports, and not the fluff crap around it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Estebomb

    This is far and away the single best article I’ve seen written on this issue. It’s been overblown and is past the point of absurdity. Well done yet again Phillies Nation.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ari

    There’s another factor being forgotten here – Ibanez played last year for Seattle – a team that lost 101 games and scores 670 runs. This year he’s batting in a lineup that includes Utley, Howard, Rollins, Werth, and Victorino. Ibanez sees more pitchers form the stretch, has more guys on base, and sees more hittable pitches since the pitchers are trying to work around Utley and Howard. Put that all together and it’s no wonder his numbers have improved.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chooch's Cooches

    I’m not sure if this has been said, but I think you’re a little wrong on the part about Morris not drawing conclusions. Read the one quote you posted:

    “Maybe the 37-year-old Ibanez trained differently this off-season with the pressure of joining the Phillies’ great lineup and is in the best shape he’s ever been in. And maybe that training included. … Well, you know where that one was going, but I’d prefer to leave it as unstated speculation.”

    Now, he uses the word “maybe” and doesn’t say “steroids”, but anyone with half a brain knows exactly what he’s saying. It’s a blatant implication and in my opinion, is the conclusion that Morris reached.

     
  • Posts: 0 JC

    Agreed, CC. Morris never “flat out” said it, but he damn sure insinuated and implicated it multiple times.

    He has really milked this over the last several days, and it has begun to reek of attention whoring on his part.

     
  • Posts: 0 TimMalcolm

    I can see what you’re saying, Chooch, but “maybe” is a tough word to interpret. In that respect, Morris was being lazy, too. Likely, he was too unsure to come to a conclusion, so “maybe” acts as a prompt to the reader.

    If there is fault with Morris, it is that paragraph. It comes across almost too forcefully. He helps himself slightly with “unstated speculation.” You know what he wants to say, but he won’t say it because he’s still unsure. I don’t think that’s a conclusion, but more a window for a cop-out, a go-to for a lot of writers in discussion pieces.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tim Malcolm

    Moreover, I don’t want to sound as if I’m defending Morris. I’m not.

    What I do think is that Morris’ piece demonstrates while he is able to use tools to create a thought-provoking piece, his writing was sloppy, enough so to give Gonzalez a chance to run with it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Miles

    Really good stuff Tim. My first reaction when I saw this news break was to be upset at Salisbury and Gonzo, as you noted. It’s not that bloggers such as yourself aren’t worthy of mentioning in Inquirer stories, but why reach all the way out to some guy in the Midwest writing about this?

    If this was a Mets or Braves blog and someone was crying sour grapes about Raul’s start, we have a totally different story. Instead it was someone across the country just throwing some ideas out there. The next thing I know they force Raul into a defensive mode, which I believe he handled in a direct and clear manner, to his credit.

    I don’t feel bad for Morris because he did recieve tons of attention for this, but it did feel like Gonzo was attacking without reason. As David Murphy put it in his blog on philly.com, some times it’s better for the big brother (mainstream print media) to just let the little brother (bloggers, independant journalists, etc.) do their thing without trying to pick a fight.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I agree with Chooch’s Chooches… it’s a blatant implication by the blogger and his fuc*ed up mentality of ‘if you’re really good, you’re guilty until proven innocent’….

    But the thing that pisses me off the most is the Inquirer giving this blogger so much attention… they shouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place. Shame on them.

     
  • [...] Nation has yet another take on the Raul Ibanez vs. bloggers ordeal. This one is a good read. Hat tip to [...]

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dispy

    Wow, Tim. Quite the weighty issue. I guess you did as good as anyone could do to brightline the difference between the genres of blogging and print journalism. But like the blue sky enveloping the smooth carribean ocean (obligatory metaphor), often its hard to make out where one ends and the other begins. To me, Morris’ blog “smacked” somewhat of journalism, while technically, it isn’t. Gonzo’s shot seemed personal and a chance to feed the monster, thus embracing some elements of “bloggery”. What this definitely is, and what you touched upon, is the desire of both individuals to call attention themselves and their work in the hopes of furthering their careers by employing some mutation of fact and opinion, or “opiniofact”. I personally don’t wanna read or see bloggers fighting with journalists and vice versa. If your talented enough, as you are Tim, to embrace both disciplines, well then you got it all goin on. But the again, “The Sports Reporters” have been doing it for years.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    Shows like “The Sports Reporters,” “The Great Sports Debate” (one of the great lost shows of our past) and, recently, “Daily News Live” are supposed to give a human face to the reporting in the newspaper. Those shows worked best when writers offered insight that you couldn’t normally get from their inch-restricted copy.

    Problem these days is there’s too much airtime and too many ways to talk. So it’s natural that opinion gets out there when, in the past, maybe it shouldn’t.

    The overarching issue, of course, is that reporters and bloggers have to realize that the field is equalizing. Everyone will soon report and opine at the same level. But we’re not there yet, and thus we have these awkward battles played out on shows like “Outside The Lines.”

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    Also, one thought I had but didn’t put to pen:

    In the past, newspaper columns used to actually include real reporting. Columnists would go somewhere, talk to someone, and write something off-beat that both provided insight and allowed for a writer’s voice to shine.

    That’s because in the past, becoming a columnist was a promotion for reporters. It was the top of the ladder (unless the reporter wanted to then go into editing and such).

    Anyway, these days you have columnists all over the place because of the internet. It brings the idea of the columnist down. But don’t just blame the internet. Television has a lot to do with it, too. Look at “Around the Horn”: Lil Wayne was given a chance to be a columnist via TV.

    Again, people have to realize things are changing. But that’s in a perfect world. This is not a perfect world.

     
  • Posts: 0 LH

    I didn’t see Gonzo’s column but heard word of mouth, from folks who read his column, that Raul’s name had been linked with steroids. I ignore it since I felt it was a perverse statement to his skills. After the wake of the TV media flood I decided to look into it. I read the MSF article and the writer’s follow-up apology. Yes, I agree with you that the paper institution and the blog upstarts are banging heads as we climb the media ladder of the future. I read you articles faithfully because I like the layout, your thoughtful articles, and the ability of fan to garner their opinions.

    Fans are treated to the fear and loathing of a sleeping giant which has perverse sports. What links are there to read about the 2009 MLB drug testing in laymen terms? How has it improved from 2008 (ala Manny).

     
  • Posts: 0 OZ

    Very well written Tim.

    Gonzo is awful, always has been.

    This is exactly like newstations that hire Alicia Lane to improve ratings, while their mission (reporting the news) goes by the wayside. Same goes for politicians, who long ago stopped working for postive change and justice, and instead, have their actions guided by assurance of votes, and probably plenty of kick-backs and back-alley deals. Sigh.

    F*** ‘em. I still got my Phillies, my guitar, and South Beach….

     
  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Anyone who follows baseball knew that this was going to be alledged somewhere, sometime, given the season Raul is having so far. I’m just surprised it reared it’s ugly head in a Philly newspaper, but that’s probably naive of me. Print media has taken a big hit in circulation numbers, and to remain competetive, they have been forced to print more “tantalizing” news, more gossipy type articles, which is a sad thing. They have to cater more to advertisers, which leads to biased reporting. Here in Lancaster, up until a few months ago, we had two daily papers, the morning paper being more liberal, the evening more conservative. Every literate person knew there was a difference, and subscribed accordingly, funny though, they shared the same ownership. They recently merged due to loss of subscribers, as the younger generation reads their news on the “internets”. As for me, there’s nothing like holding an actual newspaper in your hands, flipping through it at your leasure, everything right in front of you, no links.

    This was an unfortunate result of the PED era of baseball, thankfully Raul handled it with dignity, but that doesn’t surprise me.

     
  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    *leisure*

     
  • Posts: 0 Richie Allen

    I realize that this happened to Ibanez because of the uncommon & extraordinary production this year.Sure it makes you wonder.
    But it really makes me boil because it happened to a nice guy like him.
    Yes that blogger watched the way he phrased his words,and no he didnt actually accuse . But to hurt Ibanez the way he did is still unconscionable to me.
    Sometimes just hinting at a subject is enough to cause a hurtfull chain reaction.

     
  • Posts: 0 MetsChoke

    Geoff your an idiot!!Major news papers are failing because of the society we now live in. Americans want things now not in a few hours or tomorrow. So they go online and get news from Reuters or the Associated Press. I highly doubt anyone goes to this blog to see what you write and take it as fact. If people were really tired of the lies an propaganda then why the hell is Fox News doing so well or CNN. People are either going to look to the web for news because it is quick and free or they are going to watch tv because they want to be entertained.

     
  • Posts: 0 Grammar police

    Moreover, whomever copy edited and added the brilliant headline “A cheap shot at Ibanez” is also quite lazy and is adhering to the school of “If it bleeds, it leads!”

    And if you’re going to rip a copy editor, perhaps you would do well to get your indefinite relative pronouns right ;P

     
 
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