Archive for the 'reporting' Category

21
Apr
08

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Press Pass — Pt. 1

Some day soon, a book will come out entirely centered around the journalistic phenomenon we now call blogging. Specifically sports blogging. It won’t be written by a blogger, but some Ph.D. at a liberal arts school. The book will analyze all the ways in which this new form of media has effected “traditional sports reporting” and how the landscape of event coverage has changed forever. One of the chapters in this book will be an expansion of this article (or at least the beginning of it), published in the New York Times on Monday, April 21. The chapter will center around access, and who deserves what amount. But before all that happens, we want to address this issue in a five-part series starting today. We will view the access question from the perspective of all the major parties involved: owners, players, reporters, bloggers, and we’ll end on Monday with the most important perspective of them all — the fan’s.

PART 1: THE OWNERS

I’m a business man and my model is simple: Win. Winning = good press = more fans = dollars. It’s that simple… On the surface.

The only things that fuck up that model are the elements beyond my control: A head case of a closer, my point guard finds out his prozzie is a cop, the backup QB gets caught railin’ lines off a hooker, hell, some punkass fan decides to start a riot… These are the only chinks in my armor. The only ways I loose money. So what I do I do? I control. As much as I can. That’s the name of the game in this business — control. You’re either gaining it, or you’re losing it.

So what are bloggers to me? They’re sharks. I know, we usually reserve that title for prick agents, but let me lay a different analogy on you. See, us in management are like dolphins. We work as a group, everyone with their role, and together we create structure. We organize all the little fish into a perfect, compact space and through this organization and planning, we get what we want. Bonus with sports is, we don’t have to eat the fish, the fish get what they want out of the bargain too.

But bloggers, you see, they exist outside our control. We can’t exude any command over them, we can’t work them into our overarching plan. They’re just out there sniffing for blood in the water, and when they catch a whiff they attack! They come barreling in, caution to the wind, and make a big spectacle out of everything, just trying to gobble up as much (attention) as they can before everything is gone. Then they swim on, back to the darkness, looking for their next meal. And it’s us dolphins that are left with the mess.

I love analogies to nature because it speaks to something bigger than the human mind. It’s nature. It’s the way things are. And believe me, I understand that in the age of the Internet, this is the way things are. It’s the way they’re going to be. These guys writing blogs are no different from what I used to be — just a guy looking to make it on his own, to carve a niche. So, don’t get me wrong here, I don’t have a problem with what they’re trying to do, you’ve just got to understand the differing perspectives.

Granting access to bloggers is just bringing a shark into my family of dolphins. The head case closer, my sex-craved point guard, the QB addict — that’s all blood in the water, my friend. Don’t you see? A blogger’s wet dream is my nightmare. 

What about regular reporters, you ask? All I’ll say is this: Reporters report. I can live with that. Bloggers, they  try to stir the pot even if nothing’s cookin’. Look, this issue is nothing personal, it comes down to a conflict of interests. Where I look for control, they look for chaos. What they see as page views, I see as lost ticket sales.

And at the end of the day, that stadium, those seats on press row… Those are my waters, son.

 

14
Sep
07

ESPN, batting .000 on factual reporting this week

ESPN coverNot sure if you’ve been following this week, but ESPN has basically gotten it’s ass kicked on reports it released.

First was the news that Bills’ tight end Kevin Everett would never walk again.

Now, this would seem like something one might want to research before reporting, after all, it is an individual’s life.

Also, personally, I find it hard to believe that a doctor would say that Everett was never going to walk again before his sedation was even lifted.

But I won’t lump all that on ESPN, because it seemed most media outlets were assuming the worst. It was a rush to declare the worst possible news on Everett, which is really sad when you think about it. The guy is still in surgery, most definitely with a long road to recovery ahead of him, but the Leader has already decided his fate.

Then came EliGate.

Mortensen reported that Eli Manning had separated his shoulder in Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys, something the team, nor its doctors, ever reported. Mort said Eli would be out a month — something that was then quoted in other espn.com pieces.

Today’s story? He could be starting Sunday.

The real problem with Mortensen’s story is that it sites numerous anonymous sources. Memo to Mort: This isn’t Watergate. This is Eli Manning’s potentially injured shoulder.

The only instance in which sources should not be named is if their lives or jobs are in danger. I’m guessing Mort’s sources didn’t have to worry about losing their lives. Or their jobs.

The best part of the Mort report is the end:

Manning himself has said that he was not in a great deal of pain and believed he has a chance of playing Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in a home opener.

Manning? What does he know?! Mortensen has sources! He just can’t tell you who they are.