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Lance Armstrong and "the enthusiast space"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by inthesuburbs, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    Editor from Bicycling magazine explains why he didn't investigate Lance Armstrong and doping.


    My favorite part is where he uses the business jargon "space" to mean business area. (I've never heard the phrase "the enthusiast space" to refer to fan magazines, but it almost makes sense.)

    To be honest, nearly every sports writer is in the enthusiast space, whether writing for an industry publication or a daily newspaper. Most sports journalists are, first, sports fans, and most are averse to pointing out flaws in the games they cover.
  2. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    I'm still waiting for Sally Jenkins to come clean about her key role in whitewashing Lance Armstrong's reputation. I'm a little surprised some of the sharks around here haven't made more of an issue of it.
  3. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Didn't she also help Joe Paterno in the same way?
  4. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    If you were a piñata, the first swing of the bat would send shit flying across a 2-county area.
  5. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Whether you agree or disagree ethically with what he says, practically he is correct. A magazine such as Bicycling isn't in the investigative journalism/hard news business. They are in the entertainment business. At the end of the day, you don't bite the hand that feeds you. Magazines, like newspapers, live on advertising. If Trek or Nike or Oakley or whatever pulled out, that's huge. Have all the ethics you like, but you can't pay your bills with or eat ethics.

    Here's my personal experience with Lance Armstrong: I got a one-on-one sit down with him in June of 2006. You could tell before we started he was obliging just because he had to. After my first question and he realized I knew what I was talking about when it came to cycling, a completely different tone came over the whole interview. We sat and talked for 20 minutes. He wasn't short on answers. He was more accommodating and talkative than many local pudknocker high school coaches I interviewed over the years. I don't tell this to say he is a swell guy or anything, just saying the one time I sat down with him on a hotel lobby couch, he was far more open than you'd expect.
  6. ringer

    ringer Member

    Ditto. I'll take next. And Mark McGwire (circa 1998) is on deck.
  7. Apparently "enthusiast space" publications work well as far as human shields go — this guy covers all the green Earth now!

    For an insightful take on media and Lance Armstrong, I would defer to Samuel Abt, who artfully wrote this piece in August without making any excuses for himself or Lance: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/opinion/rip-lance-time.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Earlier this year, Abt gave a thoughtful interview to none other than Bicycling magazine. The piece is undated (damn enthusiast spaces), but it was earlier this year, way before USADA publicly entered the picture. Excerpted below, and a link: http://www.bicycling.com/news/pro-cycling/samuel-abt
    Bicycling: By getting your stories about the Tour de France in The New York Times, you were a pioneer, the first to bring bicycle racing to the mainstream media in the U.S.

    Abt: Well, they were neither enthusiastic nor unenthusiastic about it; they were indifferent. But over the years I had a lot of very understanding, very supportive editors. Until the end, that is, when we got some dumbo who was only interested in scandal. I won’t use a name, but he was really unsupportive and stupid.

    And this was during the Armstrong years. The Times became unhappy with me because I still insisted on covering the race rather than snooping around for scandal. At one point a whole lot of reporters showed up who were basically crime reporters. And my last few years doing it were pretty unhappy because I was getting all this pressure to dig up Lance Armstrong doping stories.

    Bicycling: Well, there were a lot of doping scandals then.

    Abt: Yeah, of course there were, and I covered the Festina Affair, for example. But I wasn’t going to go snooping around under beds. I wasn’t going to interview people looking for dirt, which at that time is what The New York Times wanted.
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I can understand that a lack of funds and legal muscle make it hard to conduct the kind of far-ranging investigation needed to take Armstrong down. Indeed, lots of journalists have and will howl about the strong-arm tactics of the USADA (which were only necessary, of course, because Armstrong did it first) to flush the man's reprehensible behavior into the clear.

    But I wonder how often Cycling magazine kissed Lance's ass in print. I wonder how many times he appeared on their cover (if at all).

    And beyond that, you know, I'm getting long past tired of all the rationalizing, philosophizing, navel-gazing and finger-pointing done by so many journalists on a variety of hot-button issues (the hypocrisy card is often played) because they'd rather offer up an opinion than have someone, anyone actually do some reporting and ask some questions. Surely a lot of reporting and question-asking has been done by a variety of journalists, yes. But many that could have done more didn't because they were too busy working out how the damn world should work than discovering how it actually did work.
  9. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    It's artfully written, yes, but too long. I'll shorten it.

    Lance Armstrong wanted to intimidate me. And since my own self-interest was my primary goal, I let him do so, and now, as it becomes clearer that he's a remarkable cheat and bully, I am rationalizing my actions to you, the reader.
  10. inthesuburbs

    inthesuburbs Member

    Please link to the last story you did about the nonprofit status and finances of the collegiate athletic conferences in your circulation area, and no one will think you're in the "enthusiast space."
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