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!

Rich Man, Poor Man, Blogger Man, Thief

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MTM, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    Found this post about bloggers vs. beat writer on dodgerthoughts.baseballtoaster.com quite interesting.
    He's saying don't lump all bloggers together, just like not lumping all sports writer together

    Rich Man, Poor Man, Blogger Man, Thief
    2008-04-03 21:35
    by Jon Weisman

    You know what the funny thing is about the whole stereotype about bloggers living in their parents' basements? After college, when I became a full-time sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, I moved back home to my parents' house in Woodland Hills, 10 minutes from the office, for two years. Yet during my entire blogging career, I have been a homeowner.

    Today on Baseball Beat with Charley Steiner, I was asked to offer my perspective on the issue of blogger credibility and credentialbility. I understand what's prompting the questions: There's increasing discussion on whether bloggers should be allowed locker-room access, in a world where moments before my introduction, New York Times columnist Murray Chass had expressed the all-too-common view basically comparing bloggers to the Ebola virus. Nevertheless, it's fascinating to actually find a need to defend an entire class of people - especially when the attacks are coming from a class of people that is supposed to be professional, insightful, objective and open-minded. (Yes, that passes muster with the Irony Committee.)

    So what's my response? It's not rocket science. Some bloggers are better than others, just like some sportswriters are better than others. Some have earned credibility and credentials, others haven't. Rather than compare the very best mainstreamer to the very worst online writer, as Chass implicitly did, I think it makes more sense to note the obvious - that there is a mix of quality in both camps.

    Steiner - whom I gather doesn't live and die with Dodger Thoughts but was enough of a reader of this site that on Opening Day 2006, he actually came up to me to introduce himself, honed in on a reason why this concept seems so difficult for some longtime journalists to accept. He speculates that it's about territory, that established reporters are responding negatively to bloggers out of fear of ceding part of their turf. This is not an economic era where you want to concede that unpaid volunteers can come anywhere close to doing your job.

    But beyond self-preservation, it's important to realize that condemning a medium, at least in this case, is bush-league. The medium doesn't decide whether to tell a story in a thoughtful, responsible or entertaining fashion; the messenger does. (Well, I'll concede that David Simon has caused me to reconsider this belief, but not in favor of the mainstream journalists.) In any case, trust me: There are good and bad messengers everywhere.

    My roots are in sports journalism. I had my first story published in the Los Angeles Times in 1986, covered my first major league baseball game in 1987 and was full-time in the profession by the end of 1989, nearly 13 years before I began blogging. I value how hard it is to be a sportswriter, and I emphasized to Steiner today how that many bloggers rely upon the work of mainstream sportswriters to launch their posts. For that matter, I understand job insecurity. I was the hot new prodigy on staff in '89 - by '92, there was a hotter, newer prodigy, and I was on my way to being marginalized at the ripe old age of 24.

    But I expect reciprocity. If I've done a good job as an outsider looking in, I expect respect, not dismissal. First, some of the analysis done by bloggers is flat-out better than anything you'll see from a major paper - and it's done without the support system of a major paper, often without any renumeration whatsoever. In some ways, it's harder work.

    Second, while there's value in interacting with the players and management of a baseball team, I can testify that there's often value in not interacting with them. It can give you a level of objectivity that is often missing from mainstream reporting. And at a minimum, many kinds of analysis don't require a locker-room presence, yet can be of tremendous value when done right.

    There is no good reason for an Us vs. Them mentality when it comes to mainstream reporters and bloggers. The readership benefits from their combined presence, and really, short of the sportswriter who doubles as a great blogger, one isn't going to take the other's job away. (You certainly won't see me on the Dodger beat for a local paper anytime soon.) Bottom line: A multitude of opinions and a more open debate of the issues are good things. We aren't witnessing the downfall of written baseball coverage; we're witnessing a flourishing, a tremendously rich era to live in. We should cherish this time.

    Some people realize this: Steiner, for one. There's no reason to be so uptight about outsider writers. Yes, it's a rough go right now for journalists, but don't blame the bloggers for it. They're not making any more money than the journalists or taking their jobs, believe me. Forces beyond our control are killing the industry.

    In the meantime, if there's one thing I could live without ever hearing again, it's that stereotype of bloggers working in their underwear from their parents' basements. I mean, I've had it. I'm not going to sit here and let mainstream baseball writers, who spend, God love 'em, 2,000 hours a year inside a ballpark, tell me that I or my blogger colleagues need to get a life. We have lives, thank you very much. Many of us have day jobs - many of us need day jobs - and many of us spend our weekends with our families and friends rather than with A-Rod and Jeter, and we see a world beyond the baseball field. Not saying that the mainstreamers don't - just that we do. Our passion for baseball drives us to write about the game, but hardly monopolizes our existence. If anything, we might have the perspective that insiders lack.

    But don't let me dictate to you who's good and who isn't. Judge for yourself. Just judge after you've read an individual's work, not before.
  2. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    His commentary illustrates a major reason why I "dismiss" such work. He makes a lot of assertions that we're supposed to accept because he says so -- such as saying analysis sometimes is better on blogs than it is in mainstream media -- but provides nothing to back up his claim and gives no indication that he did any research or any work beyond telling us what he thinks. There are people who may find this satisfying, but I don't. If I'm going to invest time reading something, I want some kind of promise that the writer offers access that I don't have, invested more work in knowing the subject than I can or want to expend, is likely to do a better job than anyone else who writes about the subject, and places accuracy higher on his priorities than his ego. I think most independent bloggers fail on all four counts. I don't have time to read everyone and there are better options than him.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page