Friends, GMs, Bloggers, and Fans: The Blogger "Controversy"
by, 03-28-2012 at 12:58 AM (1590 Views)
The following are my thoughts on the blogger versus journalist "debate." They are largely unresearched and completely subjective, but I hope they offer something to the public discussion.
1) It's not really a debate. This discussion is about the journalistic appraisal of the talent of the blogging community. I don't believe the discussion lends itself toward critiquing the journalistic community. Some mainstream journalists (Jon Heyman comes to mind) get more blogger abuse than others, but usually this vitriol is directed toward an individual and not a community.
2) Nothing is really at stake. Bloggers will keep blogging regardless of criticism. Having a blog is a free way to get your opinions out to the entire world. It's unlikely public disfavor would stop people from complaining about things on the internet - especially when it's free to do so.
What's it all about? This is my informal conclusion:
Conclusion: We fear change.
If you have bloggers writing from the outside and journalists writing form the inside, you have two separate views of reality within a particular sports world. If you're comfortable living in a world without absolute, yes-or-no answers, this is not likely to upset you.
However . . . if you need heroes and villains, having multiple views on a topic means you have to identify who is right and who is wrong. If you're from the side losing power, you'll pick the other side to play the bad guy. It's what people do when they're scared.
In some ways, we should all be scared of losing professional journalistic voices. I wouldn't want to live in a world without professional journalistic standards, where all of the news was written by bloggers. I'm writing this piece while my wife plays Super Mario Brothers. I'm publishing at as "Mr. Horrorpants," a name you're unlikely to see attributed to an article in the New York Times. When I publish it, I will hit a button. I will not submit it to an editor and/or copy editor for approval. No one will check my facts. Blogging IS different, after all.
However, bloggers often provide an informal discussion of my favorite sports teams. Some of them provide news and content that can compete with the pros, and I respect that. I also respect fans with attitude, even if it's more gossip and goofiness than actual news. I work odd hours and I'm not always able to get together with friends or go to a bar to talk about the game. Regular journalism is not adequate in these areas.
Neither bloggers nor journalists are heroes or villains. I suspect a more balanced way of looking at this problem is this:
Sportwriting is becoming more informal. Increased access creates community and offers more opportunities for people to share their voices. It's also likely to create a dip in certain standards of professionalism. We can love this or hate this, but it's not likely to go anywhere.