Relevancy Doesn’t Need to Be Personal

As a sports fan and a voracious reader, I read different perspectives on sports topics and stories that are interesting, insightful, controversial, and thought-provoking.

Call me crazy, but what we’re seeing on the internet between sports writers and bloggers on a national level has turned into an online street brawl filled with bravado and egos.

Michael Lazerow wrote a column on LinkedIn about the recent rash of entrepreneurs bashing each other publicly, and on social media in particular. His article can easily be applied to the pissing matches on Twitter between sports blogs and websites like Deadspin, Will Leitch, among others.

Lazerow said the purpose of bashing others is to stay relevant among followers, readers, and fans. I don’t mind reading a multitude of sites for information and to get a different view of topics, but has it become necessary to be assholes to one-up each other, all in the name of getting eyeballs to your site?  You know, to be edgy, fresh, and “cutting edge.”

Bryan Goldberg, formerly of Bleacher Report, explains his case against Will Leitch with respects to the backlash towards Bleacher Report. There is one statement that Goldberg that stood out:

I take a lot of pride in co-creating Bleacher Report, but I got a lot of help from the arrogance and antediluvian attitudes that emanate from so many newspapers and journalists over the age of forty. They have no idea how hard it is to make it as a writer today, and maybe if they were more compassionate, or saw value in doing anything other than saving their own skin, they would look in the mirror before criticizing the 20-year-old “scabs” who write for Bleacher Report.

I disagree with Goldberg with this generalization. Not all newspapers and journalists are arrogant and have a disdain towards younger online journalists like Goldberg.  Not all older reporters consider young reporters and bloggers as “scabs”, as Goldberg claims. A good number of older journalists have started to use social media, write blogs, and have become comfortable with how news and sports are being covered.

Maybe it’s because I live here in Iowa, but the interaction between those who cover sports or hard news, whether it’s print, television, social media, or online, isn’t hostile as many nationally want to claim. The overall goal is to provide content and news to those who need it, be it Twitter, newspaper, texts, et cetera.

Not all older journalists are as grouchy, or disheveled, like Oscar Madison, or look down upon younger journalists who use social media to make a living in journalism.

Goldberg claims that older journalists are arrogant. Ironically, his attitude towards older journalists, along those like Drew Magary and Will Leitch, is starting to emulate those they accuse of doing the same to them, because of their hatred towards not being accepted by a large sector of traditional media.

The culture of reporting is changing and many are making an effort to embrace and use new tools.  It’s no different when the computer started to slowly replace the typewriter in the newsroom. 

With that said, childish Twitter fights (Richard Deitsch vs. Darren Rovell) and slamming others, sooner or later, will turn a good number of readers and viewers off, or seek another site to get their news.

If you provide content and facts, give an informed opinion and willing to hear all angles of a topic, you become relevant.

Being juvenile, and personally attacking others to be relevant, in effect, makes you less relevant, no matter how cool and edgy, or old school and stale you are.


Sunday Sports Leisure Reading – March 25, 2012

If college football resembled "Mad Men"... (courtesy of No 2-Minute Warning)

I haven’t done one of these for awhile, but there’s plenty of stuff going on that’s flying under the radar.

Deadspin this week profiled two former Drake Basketball greats in their series, “Tell Me When It’s Over”.  Willie Wise and current Drake color analyst Dolph Pulliam recalled their run to the Final Four and facing UCLA, and more importantly, their lives post-basketball.  This is a must-read for Bulldogs fans around the world.

Ty Duffy of The Big Lead pens an opinion that I agree with wholeheartedly with regards to the punishment handed down by Roger Goodell to New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, General Manager Mickey Loomis, and assistant coach Joe Vitt for their involvement in Bounty-“gate”.  Duffy reminds everyone that the criticism towards Goodell is not only shortsighted, but unwarranted for the most part.

Could Mizzou's Kim English have himself a budding career in being a college hoops analyst?

Greg Hall, popular Kansas City sports media blogger has quotes from Missouri basketball star Kim English during his appearance on KCSP 610-AM with sports talk show host Nick Wright.  English, who has struggled with speech disfluency (stuttering, for which I know very well from my experience), had a lot to say, including his opinions on several college basketball analysts.

Duffy also reports that John Infante, the college compliance officer behind the well-informative and insightful “Bylaw Blog” is shutting down the blog, effective April 7th.  “Bylaw” is a look into NCAA regulations and decisions.  Namely, what does the NCAA do, why do they do it, and the effects of it.  I will miss this site a lot.  I hope Infante, or someone else, down the road will either bring it back or create a new site that helps fans understand the inside look at NCAA rules.

The Wigwam, home of the Anderson Indians.

Craig Fuhrman of the NY Times writes this great story about an end of an era in Indiana.  The Wigwam was the home of Anderson (IN) High School for many years when basketball was king.  This recently past basketball season is the first that the Wigwam did not host a game.  The economic conditions and the shift of popularity from prep basketball to prep football in Indiana has put the game of basketball at a larger crossroads.

It’s time to get your martini, whiskey sour, or Old Fashioned on:  Mad Men makes its return after a 17-month hiatus with its long-anticipated 5th season.  Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times interviews Mad Men director Matthew Weiner about the return of Don Draper, Roger Sterling, and company, as well as Weiner’s need to keep things under wraps about what this season will bring.

Aaron Wernimont

Some somber news over the past few weeks that deserves to be mentioned by me.  Whereas everyone across the country is talking about a certain story in Florida (I don’t need to tell you what it is), there are several individuals whose lives were tragically cut short.  I chose to mention them here because they are part of my extended families (hometown, high school, and college) that are near and dear to me.

It’s easy to follow the current cause celebre, and that’s fine to do that, but personally for me, the deaths of the following hits closer to home for me.  Please take the time to read these stories.

Mollie Enwright

Aaron Werinmont

Preston Bradford

Lindsay Nichols

Rumors are Juicy and Rotten

Rumors are a funny thing.

Rumors on the internet are like honey to bees.  If it’s sweet, we flock to it.  Like Jim Mora said in the video above “you think you know, but you don’t know.  And, you never will.” You can keep speculating if rumors are true, but when it isn’t, it’s a huge letdown, because you either expected it, for fear or for excitement.

A large number of websites, message boards, and blogs strive to be accurate by checking with credible sources.  For the most part, they do a phenomenal job of giving you the best objectionable view of a story.

Fleetwood Mac thinks that "rumors" can be stretched into a false "truth."

Besides, would you believe anything being said from a guy behind you in the checkout line who is friends with his dentist whose daughter lives on campus with a roommate that has a boyfriend who is friends of another friend who knows someone on a football team?

That’s not a source.  That’s a rumor that started out small from “heresay” and evolved into fodder for fans to go nutty about.

The boys from Deadspin hit it on the nail with this explanation from 2008 about how internet rumors can develop.

I was told once and I have never forgotten the message:  “if something sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.”

Rumors are like a juicy, delicious, and enticing fruit, until it’s turns rotten and you have to toss it away.

It Matters Who You Are and What You Say

A couple of cocktails + flamboyant owner = Deadspin!

I watched with amusement yesterday of the phone camera interview of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones drunkenly ripping former Cowboys coach and coaching svengali Bill Parcells and former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

It is also amusing to hear the moralists come out of the forest and say that this isn’t a story.

Yes and no.

It is a story because Jones is a public figure.  Just like Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger, and Larry King.  If elected officials are public figures and whatever they say is of public record, so are their words and their actions.  Entertainers, athletes, and reality stars fall under this provision as well.  It matters who you are and what you say.

Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio. Listen to his monologue about Jones by clicking on the picture.

As ESPN Colin Cowherd pointed out this morning on his radio show, everyone is paparazzi and no one is off-limits.

I also agree with Cowherd in the aspect that what Jones said was not much to discuss about.  There was nothing serious or “news-worthy” to talk about. If Jones said something of substance like how the new Cowboys Stadium was built, or if he did something illegal, it becomes news.

With that said, the onus is on the public figure to have common sense and the consciousness to watch what they say and do, no matter where they are at.  For those who feel that the person who videotaped Jones talking was wrong for doing it, you need to take a second look around you and step off the pious soapbox.

If not for regular people with hand-held phones, cameras, or whatever at their perusal, we may have never known of the following “news” stories:

-the beating of Rodney King (regular citizen George Holliday filmed the incident with his VCR camera)

-the domestic attacks on the U.S. (firefighters doing an instructional video and saw the first plane hit WTC)

-Sully Sullenberger landing U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River (Coast Guard cameras caught the landing)

-the shootout in the Las Vegas federal courthouse (juror walking out of courthouse caught the sounds of shooting on camera phone)

The rise of the “citizen journalist” can not be labeled as a bunch of unscrupulous individuals looking to get their 15 minutes of fame.  If we see something that could be newsworthy or not, we’re going to pull out our iPhones, Blackberries, and flip cameras, and record it.