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!

Orlando Sent does a piece on ESPN... worth discussing?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jason_whitlock, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/local/orl-espn0407mar04,0,1399235.story
  2. ESPN has an entertainment component that occasionally causes its news-gathering component problems.
    And this differs from every damn other network -- cable and broadcast -- how? Yes, CNN gathers news. It also pays Glenn Beck to be a dope on one of tis networks. The Simpsons beats the crap out of the FNC on a regular basis.
  3. Yawn. Boring story that didn't say anything we haven't heard before.
  4. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Here is a question I pose that it related to this article in a tangential way: Let's say you're a relatively young, but somewhat accomplished newspaper reporter, and you yearn to do some magazine stuff. ESPN The Magazine offers you a job (this same scenario might be true for going on the air or radio, but for the sake of argument and focus, we'll say it's the Magazine since that is the place where "ESPN the business" and "ESPN the news organization" so often blur the lines) and with it comes a good, competitive salary (we'll say a little below six figures or better), a ton of resources, a ton of access, good editing and a considerable amount of freedom to be bold with your writing and grow. But the caveat is, you know (even if it's mostly unspoken) that you're occasionally going to have to carry water for "mizunderstood" athletes. Not all the time, and you will still have the chance to do excellent stuff, but occasionally, you're going to have to write the "You think you know Ron Artest, but you have no idea" piece, because Ron Artest has agreed to be on the cover and the editors think this will sell magazines.

    Would you do it?

    I ask because I personally don't know the answer.
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I completely agree with Doria, and it's why I believe that newspapers that don't want to cover games anymore are on a suicidal path. We will lose the drama and excitement and action and take on the dull, distanced pallor of the Sunday opinion section. There is such a thing as being too serious and too analytical while forgetting that most sports fans are sports fans because they enjoy the possibility of celebrating a clear victory and the chance to witness astounding physical feats -- and that they enjoy reliving it the next day, long after they first knew the score.
  6. I'm with you, Kid. In fact, I'd bet she could have lifted that story off the interesting discussions that have been held here -- not that she would ever do such a thing, of course.
  7. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Not sure I'm seeing a lot of newspapers that eschew covering games to do "enterprise" journalism.
  8. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    Why wouldn't you do it? Are you seriously suggesting that getting an in-depth interview with Ron Artest isn't interesting or worthwhile?

    Just what exactly is your idea of "excellent stuff" then?

    Just because you'd have to interview some deluded problem child doesn't mean you stop being honest or that you don't expose his faults.
  9. John Taylor

    John Taylor Member

  10. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    But my point is, that if you write for the Magazine, you cannot honestly do that, and if the author of the Artest article truly believes that she was doing anything other than shilling for Artest, or acting as his personal apologist, she's kidding herself. And after years of reading the magazine, and reading Doria's comments, I think that kind of thinking trickles down from the top. This is the lead on the Artest story. I wish I could find the whole thing:

    What if I DO know Ron Artest? What if their aren't so many sides to him that I can't count? What if, as a journalist, I spend a week with him and find out that he's nothing more than a psycho and a jerk. Do I still get to write that for ESPN the Magazine? Maybe, but I doubt it.

    I think they have done some solid investigative stuff recently. But they shill for athletes. There is absolutely no denying that. And if you take on of those jobs, you have to occasionally shill, whether it's for Artest or T.O. or Chris Webber, or Shawne Merriman, or whomever. I think you have to do it less if you're Tim Keown or Tom Friend than if you're some young, eager staff writer, but it's clear that ESPN the Magazine features have an entirely different tone than they would if they ran in SI. And I'm not talking about interesting vs. boring. I'm talking about some athlete's PR party line vs. reality.

    I want to believe that you can still write a critical, or at least not "favorable" profile in the magazine, but I honestly don't know. Despite its LSD-inspired design, The Magazine has some really good writing in it, but its stories (the profiles mainly) are not always good journalism. They're good PR. And I've seen too many of them to think it's just a coincidence.
  11. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Here is the whole Artest piece, which (with apologies to the writer) reads like it should have run in DIME or SLAM. It's bullshit. And I've seen plenty of pieces like it. There is a line between doing "investigative" stuff as Doria points out, and whoring for athletes, rationalizing their mistakes, brushing off their violent behavior, and offering excuses for their selfishness. And that's what bugs me. ESPN says it wants to give people journalism as entertainment because people are turned off by gotcha stuff. Ok, well I'm asking, are people turned off by simply telling the truth? And would you as a journalist feel comfortable writing a piece like this?

  12. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page