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BLOGGER! tries to explain the difference between BLOGS! and journalism ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Chi City 81, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    ... and makes some interesting points along the way. Thoughts?

    The Super Bowl Bye Week Jamboroo, In Which Drew Pauses To Make A Serious Point About Blogging As Journalism, Then Makes Chili

    Well, here we are. It's the Super Bowl bye week. Fuck. The first whole weekend without real football since September. This is the weekend where I sit around in my living room in the middle of Sunday afternoon, look around for something to do and begin crying. Everything about this whole shitty ass bye week business sucks, but I'll get to that in just a moment.

    As you know, next week a whole bigass load of journalists will be packing up their Rolaids and back issues of Playboy's Nudes and jetting out to Phoenix for the media festivities surrounding the Giants-Patriots game. And they won't be alone. Plenty of bloggers will be joining them, including the editor of this esteemed site, along with Matty Ufford, Dan Steinberg and a cadre of others. The number of bloggers heading out to the Super Bowl increases by the year. Some of them have credentials. Most of them don't. But they'll be there all the same, to drink in the scene and report back to you about just how fucking hard it is to get into the Maxim party.

    This migration also coincides with the release of Chairman Leitch's new book, which takes dead aim at the traditional sports media, along with other assorted targets. No doubt God Save The Fan will raise the ire of the occasional mainstream reporter or two. It may even get them to bitch about blogs, as so many MSM columnists have already done. In turn, it will cause lots of us bloggy folks to poke fun at them and call them dinosaurs. And this is where I'd like to make one poorly-thought-out and not dick jokey enough point about this whole blogs vs. MSM bitchfest.

    I'd like you to take a look at the four quotes below. You've no doubt already read them here on this site and poked fun at them. But there's a deeper context to them that needs to be addressed. Read on:

    Bill Conlin: "In Colonial times, bloggers were called 'Pamphleteers.' They hung on street corners handing them out to passersby."

    Michael Wilbon: "The notion of blogging scares the hell out of me Scott, and ... this is why. There's no accountability ... stuff isn't edited. It just goes out there as gospel. What it is is opinion, there's way too much rumor."

    Stephen A. Smith: "And when you look at the Internet business, what's dangerous about it is that people who are clearly unqualified get to disseminate their piece to the masses. I respect the journalism industry, and the fact of the matter is ...someone with no training should not be allowed to have any kind of format whatsoever to disseminate to the masses to the level which they can. They are not trained. Not experts."

    Sam Smith: "How is it I can work for decades developing contacts around the NBA and traveling regularly around the NBA and talking with the decision makers and some guy in his basement in his underwear is writing something that has credibility?"

    Put aside for a moment whatever personal animosity you may have towards any of these four gentlemen (I fully realize that will require a Herculean effort, particularly for the third man listed). All four of these quotes assume three things:

    1) Blogging (or, as Conlin might put it, pamphleteering) is a new and unreliable form of journalism;
    2) All sports bloggers are trying to practice some form of amateur reporting;
    3) People consume blog posts the same way they read mainstream news pieces.

    All three of these assumptions are wrong. In an age where more and more people are reading blogs, and bloggers are even allowed to cover live sporting and news events, it's important now to clarify something. BLOGGING IS NOT JOURNALISM. And it doesn't aspire to be. It's a completely different art form that has absolutely nothing in common with journalism. They aren't the same thing, and they aren't supposed to be.

    A blog is a blank website with roughly 17 trillion potential applications. You can use it to make stupid dick jokes. You can use it to post pictures of your trip for your family and friends to check out. You can use it to sell t-shirts. You can use it to show ass naked pictures of Crissy Moran dry humping a balance beam (I strongly recommend this option). It has no rules. No supposedly built-in set of ethics. No style guidelines. It's a blank canvas, for you to do with as you please.

    Journalism, on the other hand, is a set discipline with an already established set of rules for those wishing to practice it. The purpose of journalism is to inform and, when necessary, interpret. A reporter researches a story, writes down what happened, and then presents it to you. Columnists, who ideally have done research of their own, will then interpret the story in some sort of greater context, i.e. how it relates to other events in the past, present, or future. Is that how journalism is ALWAYS practiced? No. But the principles are there.

    You see where those two art forms might differ just a tad? The reason MSM folks get bitchy about bloggers is because they assume that bloggers are trying to do what they do. And, by and large, they aren't.

    Yes, there are sites such as Deadspin, With Leather and The Big Lead that break the occasional story, or interview newsmakers, or discover new, amazing sets of tits to look at. And there are blogs that serve as extensions of legitimate journalistic enterprises, like the DC Sports Bog. But to assume ALL sports blogs share a common goal that is similar to that of journalism is dumb. Apart from talking about sports, a blog like The Dugout and another blog like the DC Sports Bog have absolutely nothing in common. No common purpose. No shared ideal.

    Look at Sam Smith's quote again:

    Sam Smith: "How is it I can work for decades developing contacts around the NBA and traveling regularly around the NBA and talking with the decision makers and some guy in his basement in his underwear is writing something that has credibility?"

    Thing is, he's exactly right. He DOES have more credibility than some blogger who is just starting out and has no professional contacts. But who out there is assuming the blogger has more credibility? There isn't a reader in the universe who expects Joe Somebody's blogspot site to compete for credibility in reporting with a seasoned reporter from a billion dollar media conglomerate with unlimited resources and access. And, if there is, then that reader is a moron. And probably comments on perezhilton.com.

    This isn't to say journalism is better than blogging. They're just different, and quality obviously varies within them. There is good journalism and shoddy journalism, just as there is good blogging and shoddy blogging. Part of what makes a Woody Paige column or a Jay Mariotti column so execrable is that they hold absolutely NO journalistic value of any kind. It's just braindead yammering, which makes it doubly insulting since it neither informs or enlightens, which is very least anyone should expect from a piece of journalism. Compare that to a blog, where there is NO expectation of any kind on the reader's part (or, at least, there shouldn't be). There is only the hope that you will be reading something interesting. And, if what you're reading happens to be a Big Lead movie review, you're gonna be shit out of luck.

    The problem is that many journalists, and in turn many readers, have a deeply held belief that the printed word (on paper or electronically) holds more weight than the spoken word. That it is somehow sacrosanct. But that's not true on blogs, or on message boards, or on text messages. In these new forms of media, the written word is just as disposable and frivolous as a conversation between me and you (and talking with me is like taking a dip in an empty kiddie pool). And it's foolish to assume otherwise. Most sports blogs are run by fans, and serve mainly as an online extension of the friendly banter we all engage in about sports on a daily basis. It's not journalism. It's a blog. It's its own thing, and the two needn't be confused.

    Yet time and again, this is what happens. And not just with journalists. But with readers as well. You know MJD moved to Yahoo this week. Check out these comments on his commentspost about Herschel Walker's battle with multiple personality disorder:

    Please remove this post. Then proceed to removing this writer. Another example that there's no such thing as an editor in the age of "internet journalism".

    mjd---proof that journalists need to be drug tested.

    I am SHOCKED at what i just read - I seriously can't believe a supposed "professional sports column" allowed this peice (sic) of garbage to be published - it's not even journalism, it's borderline MySpace drivel and I'm ashamed of Yahoo-Sports for allowing it.

    These jackasses all assume MJD is trying to be Mike Silver, or some sort of accredited journalist. He's not, nor is that his responsibility. His job at Yahoo is entertain, not inform. He's there to be the Mighty MJD, to tell some jokes and kick some fucking ass. And if they can't appreciate the difference, FUCK THEM. Dumbfucks. It's a fucking blog. It's not journalism. And, to prove to you just how lacking in journalistic ethics this whole enterprise is:


    Got it? Good. Let's make some chili below.
  2. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    Too long. Dude needs an editor.
  3. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    The tone this whole thing takes proves every point that he tries to make ... especially the quotes.
  4. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    On one hand, I wish Bid Daddy Drew was a journalist, because I like him so much and generally agree with him.

    On the other hand, not being a journalist pretty much allows BDD to be who he is, so I'm glad I get to read him one way or another.

    The dude is funny. The diss of the movie reviews on TBL was good stuff.
  5. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Nothing says "professional" like the word "fuck" in your lede.
  6. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Ummm ... that's kind of his point.
  7. pallister

    pallister Guest


  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    What I get is that people like this guy want to be treated as if they are professional journalists, and then when they get called on their crap, they say they aren't professional journalists, don't hold them to those standards. They want all the benefits without the accountability.
  9. pallister

    pallister Guest

    So do a lot of "professional" journalists.
  10. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    You're wrong, Frank. Drew has a day job. He does this for fun. I'm willing to bet you'll never see him applying for a credential anywhere.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I meant in terms of credibility. And I said "people like this guy."

    I had in mind TBL. He could have one of those basic, no-photo, ugly blogs, but he wants to look professional, so he steals photos and runs them without credit. And when someone, such as me, calls him on it, he says he's just a little ol' blog, too small to sue, he does the blog for fun.
  12. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Ah. Gotcha. My distaste for TBL has been posted numerous times. I don't find the site particularly entertaining, and I'm certainly not going to trust any "scoops" he gets. So what does that leave?
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