1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Oregonian hires outsider to examine relationship with Blazers

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. luckyducky

    luckyducky Guest

    Tom, for once we agree on something.

    John's a great columnist and an all-around great guy. He's done a respectable job dealing with the Blazers since he got to town - and he always remembers that there's more to Portland than those jailbirds.
  2. The story came out today and ran on page 2 of the sports section (in fact, it was the entire page). After reading it I think the only thing that was accomplished was that Canzano ended up taking a couple punches, which will only please the Blazers. I'm really stunned that the Oregonian would put itself in a position to have its star columnist's credibility undermined within its own pages. There were two areas in the story which did just that:

    On one, there was a dispute about an e-mail exchange in which Canzano told a Blazers official, Art Sasse, "I hear your house is on the market," when Sasse called Canzano to task on a few points. The two disputed in the story about how that event unfolded, but in the end Sasse produced the original e-mail exchange that showed his version of the story was accurate. When presented with the contradictory information, Canzano apparently stood by his version of the story and offered a conspiracy theory suggestion that it was too convenient that Sasse produced the e-mail exchange, then questioned why Sasse didn't include an e-mail Canzano wrote providing evidence that backed up whatever Sasse was contesting.

    In the same section of the story, the Oregonian editor, Peter Bhatia, says in one breath that readers are lucky to have Canzano, but in the next he says, "I think there have been times he's gone farther than I'd be comfortable with. He called Art Sasse a 'henchman.' He made fun of his hairdo. I thought that was too much."

    The story also says that Canzano has become a target of the Blazers because he won't back down to a sacred cow, which I completely agree with. I have a ton of respect for John, and he's written some stuff that takes guts to write. But he does toe the line pretty damn close, and there have been a couple times that I felt his determination to pursue whatever is at the heart of what's going on has pushed him over that line. But he's an incredibly good reporter, and I think most of the Blazers' concerns about him are simply their fear of what he might dig up, because his pen is a much mightier sword as a columnist with a popular blog who is more free than a beat writer to communicate what he digs up. And he's not afraid to write what he knows (see last week's column on Darius Miles for a prime example).
  3. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    i would bet canzano's resume is free of dust. the oregonian needs canzano much more than he needs them.
  4. statrat

    statrat Member

  5. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    Fine story, but what the hell does it accomplish? Perhaps trying to soothe the Blazers feelings that the paper is trying to be straight with them, I guess. I'm not sure fans really give a damn.
  6. statrat

    statrat Member

    I agree. Canzano got kicked in the shins, and I wouldn't imagine the Blazers PR guy is too happy with his portrayal in the story. I would guess the O will be running reader reaction in the near future, I'll be interested to see how that breaks down.
  7. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Let me give just a small example of the kind of just slightly irresponsible journalism John Canzano practices in his latest column:

    "Owner Paul Allen missed Saturday's game, and that became a subject of conversation in the arena. Bronchitis, officials said. And Allen was reported to have watched the game at home, via some sort of satellite setup. A team insider said Allen even phoned in afterward."

    1. Somehow, I doubt "the arena" cared much. How does a columnist sitting on press row judge that anyhow? Does he stalk the rafters? Interview people? "Excuse me sir, did you know Paul Allen wasn’t here? Now that you do, can you talk about it for a minute?" I mean, the size of the cheerleaders' breasts probably came up, too. It's just a clunky way of trying to inject an embattled figure into the story.

    2. Notice the tone here. It's disbelieving all the way through.

    These are small things, but when you're working with paranoids, is it really useful to prick at them with this nonsense?

    Reading the story, sorry, but I side with the Blazers. Not so much because their hands are clean, but because the Oregonian dirtied its digits. Journalists should really care less what flunkies and punks populate the PR staff of the "the team." Journalists should care about retrieving, reporting and analyzing the information in a way that is blameless, totally open, and as humble as possible. Completely above the board. The time is swiftly approaching when it's not just the truth because some anonymous source says it's so. The time has already come when far more damaging truths (the nonsense of ESPN's talking heads and the "right-wing" media) gain as much traction as objective reporting.

    Truth is up for grabs. And the "journalists" let it happen. For the benefit of a few columnists getting a radio show, or a beat reporter getting a blog, or ATH, jobs will be slashed by the hundreds. Don't any of you understand that? The best thing journalism had for the last 40-50 years was its sobreity laced with wit. When the actual skill and style went out of writing - when you didn't have to pick your spots anymore, and you could just throw your ego and juvenile emotions around in whichever directions you pleased because it resonated with "the people" - that's the attention began to be lost. It's at a point where the "how" of journalism pales in comparison to the "what" - that it's become a tool of whoever most skilled at consolidating information delivery. And we know who that is. Bottom line: If a guy is going to talk about the column he wrote on the radio, why read the column during the week? Why not listen to the radio show - which is no benefit to the newspaper - and hear the same thing? With the added bonus of instant feedback through your cell phone. A lot easier than a letter to the sports editor, I assure you.
    This is what going through the wide, easy gate has wrought for print journalism.

    The workout leak is a Clintonesque, the-blinds-were-on-the-oustide kind of junk that forces the public to lose trust in the media, much less the organization.

    And Canzano's conspiracy theory is hilarious. Hilarious! Caught right in the act, he stands by his story, talks about his recollection and generally sounds like a Reagan boob. You mean to tell me that guy has credibility after that? When you know, sure as I breathe, he'd skewer somebody else for that kind of worthless defense. The columnist is a prime example of a journalist who's swallowed the worm whole and become drunk on his thoroughly average, bluntly dull writing skills, on his ability to bray to multiple media sources whatever random opinion occurs to him that day.

    And I especially love how one poster refers to it as Canzano being thrown under the bus. How rich, that we start tossing around the organized crime terms when a columnist is blatantly caught being a mean-spirted, hardheaded ass and called on it.
    I applaud the story, and I hope it is used as an example of how journalists can make their lives a lot harder than necessary. Make NO mistake: It is up the newspaper to be the more mature participant in any relationship. Any relationship at all. The minute journalists - especially columnists - forget the power of professionalism and, more importantly, grace, journalists lose.

    If the Blazers are Lebanon, then the Oregonian is Israel. And like Israel, I expect the most from the Oregonian.

    Some story about some workout is meaningless in the larger picture of strong working relationships.

    Or maybe I'm just being stupid, wanting peace like that.
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member


    Conflict doesn't have a lot of variations. People might die in Israel and Lebanon, but the issues aren't parcticularly different. It's name-calling and marking territory.

    You can look at this situation as minor and trivial; that's the standard journalism response. None of it ever matters. But I can you tell that two Chronicles reporters were jailed because the public trust in journalists has eroded, and because these men, however diligent, used illegal government leaks to craft their story and hunt down their prey. Live by bended rules - die by them.

    Same thing here. The relationship is strained. Far as I can tell, a strained relationship benefits the one person who could care less, because he mouths off regardless: Canzano. He still has a radio show. A column. A voice. The smallest penalty he'll ever receive for doing and saying whatever he wants is this piece, while readers suffer a closed organization, and other writers - not just the Oregonian - suffer a paranoid staff made more paranoid by an egoist.

    Yes, there is such a thing as a tough column. That's the one you write to say you were wrong. In this culture, where columnists throw tantrums, file from a thousand miles away, spend half their time on the air and generally act like ghosts around the office, a scathing piece is hardly difficult. It's as easy as skewering a movie.
  9. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Great post, Alma. There's a "thin blue line" aspect to our business that blinds many of us to reality sometimes and is damaging to all of us in the end.

    And someone isn't "thrown under the bus" when they are caught doing unprofessional. The phrase that jumps to my mind is "do the crime, do the time."
  10. 212areacode

    212areacode Member

    Where again was the line crossed?
  11. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    Talk about irresponsible, Alma, you took that graf completely out of context. He wasn't ripping Allen or anyone except, maybe, Ricky Davis. It was a positive Blazers column. And for Allen to miss a home-opener is unusual. And considering he sits along the baseline, it's not inconceivable that some fans were wondering where he was.
    The Blazers and Patterson got a major pass in that article by Lancaster, and that incident with Quick at the workouts is a good example. If the workouts are such a secret, then why did the Blazers post video on their Web site? Also, wasn't McMillan misquoted in that release? On another note, did Patterson have issues with the media in Houston?
  12. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I'm not taking it out of context at all. He introduces Allen three grafs from the end because he needs him for the close of the column, the whole yacht-roach thing. I agree that it's a positive column that can't help but trade a barb anyway. It doesn't personally bother me, but if you're working with paranoids like the Trail Blazers, you can write this column without that small commentary. It's not going to make it any more or less tough, is it? That's a positive column merely bolsters my point.

    Again, anybody can have issues with the media anywhere. The onus to make it work is still on the media. I'm sorry, but it is. It doesn't mean you kiss ass or play ball or toe some imaginary line. It does mean that every minor slight or hiccup in character needs to be taken with a little more stride and professionalism. I know, I know - it just sounds crazy. But journalists who get a little bit cagey are nearly as exciting as bloggers and pundits who are downright insane. Years of chirpy little, slightly biased network evening news reports gave us Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. The blurring of lines, the playing fast and loose, the pretending that a basketball team is a MNC raping a third world country - it plays right into hands of talk radio and ESPN.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page