Thursday, April 10, 2008

links and follow-up

Just to clarify on the earlier post: I don't want to sound like someone who's whining about his job (even though that's what I'm doing). It's with some difficulty that I must remind myself when someone's grandmother is swearing at me over the phone, or a coach refuses to call me back, that there are worse things one could be doing for a living. For the most part, I enjoy coming to work every day; you have to believe me.

Anyway, just as a follow-up on how the blogging world sees sportswriters, there's a well-written column on Deadspin about this very issue. Sure, the author swears a few times, and I don't agree with everything he says, but he makes his point for the most part. In this ever-changing world in which we live (Live and Let Die), sportswriters are struggling to adjust, just like everyone else.
The blogosphere, for the most part, scares the hell out of the veteran writers in both sports and news, and I'll tell you why: accountability. Maybe there's little of it it in broadcasting, where you can casually suggest that someone might be a rapist with absolutely no proof (hi, Greta van Sustern!), but every word upon the page in the writing business is a potential land-mine. Once it's written, it might as well be in stone (unless you work for the Bush Administration, but that's another issue for another time).
See, everybody who reads my stuff at The Daily Home site knows my name. They know my face, they know my phone number and they know where I work. If I screw up, or if they have a beef with me, it's pretty hard for me to hide without quitting my job. To put it plainly, I have to answer for my work.
It's not so in the blog world — and for the record, I LOVE the blog world, and read it every day. Capstone, RBR, Tide Druid, Memphis Tide, Bama Hoops ... they're like my family. But I've never met any of them. I have no idea what they look like or where they live (though Memphis Tider surely lives in Memphis, right?).
If, say, Nico at RBR decides to put out a story that Tommy Tuberville is a con artist living a double life, and is passing himself off as a Hispanic sharecropper named Esteban Rodriguez who has a wife and 17 children in New Mexico, and that's the real reason Auburn fell so far off in recruiting this past year, what would Tuberville's recourse be? To sue RBR? To sue Nico personally? Who is Nico? Does he have any credibility to lose?
Obviously, this is an extreme example, and most of the reputable blogs out there are pretty transparent — the guys at Deadspin and The Big Lead routinely break stories, for example, and they don't hide behind Internet pseudonyms. Still, they COULD do that. And that, ultimately, is why guys like Rick Reilly and Tony Kornheiser, et al., play the "mother's basement" card, and try to pretend that reputable reporting/journalism can't exist outside the ivory towers belonging to those who graduated from J-school.
In a way, though, the blogosphere may eventually wind up being the best thing that ever happened to newspaper writing. With such a vast medium available to anyone willing to provide an email address, suddenly we're all being held more accountable than we were before. We're having to think creatively, to see things from other perspectives, and to try and provide something different than the other guys, in different ways than the other guys are doing it.
So stay tuned. This debate isn't going away. And that's probably for the best.

Moving on ...
• Your complete A-Day guide, courtesy of Rapaport.
• Why a Democrat in the White House is good for Alabama fans, according to The Druid (and history).
(Full disclosure: Tucked away in my vault of stuff about the 1992 championship team is a special-edition Sports Illustrated, which I read so many times in my youth that the cover eventually fell off. In the article describing Alabama's win over LSU, the writer makes mention of the fact that the first Democrat in the White House since Alabama's last national title — 1979 — was elected in the middle of the 1992 football season. You can't make this stuff up, folks.)
• SEC Nicknames and you, via RBR.
• Can't figure out how to survive until football season? Orson Swindle has a few ideas.

And with that, I bid you good day.



-D. said...

Did I catch a reference to "Campus Under Siege" there?

dbh said...

You mean Esteban? He's always in my heart, dude. Always.