In honor of the end of the year, here are the 10-most popular posts at Sports Media Guy this year. Thank you to everyone for reading, commenting, sharing and talking.
It is utterly and totally irresponsible for The News to print this information. Even as the reporters hedged their bets, saying they could not confirm whether it was the same woman or not, there is no place for those paragraphs in any news story about any rape case.
What those paragraphs do is victim blame, pure and simple. It sets the table for the nauseous defense that the victim was asking for it. That she led Kane on. That there couldn't possibly be any rape because she was all over him.
Bullshit. It's bullshit.
Also, this notion of "sports journalism as the minor leagues" has this whiff of nostalgia about it that. It feels like "journalism the way it oughta be." It feels like "I paid my dues, and these kids today aren't being forced to" talk of an older generation. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that a 22-to-25-year-old reporter can write opinion pieces, do analysis and interpret what they watch. Their opinions, analysis and interpretations are not inherently wrong because they are young, and to think so is outdated, dangerous thinking. To think so means that the only people who can do the important functions of daily sports journalism are ones of a certain age and demographic, and that's not going to help the industry. To think so ignores the fact that, like it or not, for better or for worse, the idea of "journalism" is changing, and that our traditional ideas about the profession and the craft may not always be inherently right.
Think of who the stars are in sports journalism now. Peter King. Adam Schefter. Jay Glazer. Woj. You may not be fans of their work, but they are the big names. And they're not columnists. They're reporters. They trade in scoops and information and tidbits and nuggets. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has access to information. That's not to say columnists aren't important or don't play a huge role, only that their status within the field seems to be diminishing a bit.
For me, the issue is this: I have no problem with Schefter reporting what he learned in the document. That's newsworthy. No question about it. But to publish a photo of the report feels like it crosses a line. I can't really say why that is, but it feels wrong to me.
A more prudent course would have been to use this information and confirm it through other sources. Get the report from the hospital and start working the phones: "Look, I know what happened to him. I know he lost a finger. Help me out here." Posting the photo just seems a line too far - especially with a story like this. This is not the Pentagon Papers. This is an injury to a football player no one who's not an NFL fan has heard of. This is not the hill to die on for a journalistic issue like this.
If Rosenthal and other journalists don't like what Twitter has done to their profession, they only have themselves to blame. Twitter's not the problem. How journalists use it is.
If you don't like the emphasis on speed, then don't worry about being first with every transaction. If you don't like the lower standards, visibly raise yours and to hell with the lost hits, the lost traffic, the fewer RTs. If you think fans are valuing the wrong thing, then give them something that you think is of higher value. It's true that fans value instant transactional scoops - but that's because we as an industry have set that as the standard.
It's up to us in the sporting culture to stop incentivizing this kind of die-hard, bro behavior. There's always a fine line between acceptable and unacceptable fan behavior, and too many stakeholders in sports culture profit off these blurred lines - and I include media outlets in this. Being a fan of a team is one thing. Being a fan of Patrick Kane as a hockey player is fine. Attacking and threatening reporters who are doing their jobs because you think they are "unfairly attacking my boy" is not fine. We want people to be fans. We do not want them to be fanatics. As a sporting culture, it is up to us to make that line clear. Even if it costs us some readers, viewers or ticket sales.
"Hearing" is not "reporting."
"Reporting" something connotes that you actually did some, you know, reporting. That you sought to verify and confirm the information. That you vetted its veracity, thought about why the source is telling you this, etc. Reporting is an active verb. If your reporting is wrong, incomplete or erroneous, it's on you and not your sources (something The New York Times is still learning the hard way)
"Hearing" is a passive verb. It gives the appearance of transparency but is really just a cover word. If you're wrong - hey, I never reported that. I just passed along what I heard. I don't know if it's true or not, I'm just passing it along.
We hate it because the work citysiders do on Election Night is the same work we in sports do every ... damn ... night. Working late into the night, having to deal with fast-breaking news, taking results over the phone, juggling numbers, getting quotes and writing fast stories on tight deadlines. We do this literally every night.
And we never got pizza. We never had food provided for us in the newsroom. We never celebrated or bragged about the food provided for us. We did our jobs. Every night. Without pizza.
It's totally and completely petty. It's awful. It makes us look jealous and small. It's not a good look for sports journalists. It reeks of insecurity.
That's what's on display here. Check Broussard's tone. There's no apology. No curiosity. No questions for Cuban. It's straight defensiveness toward. Look, I don't care what you say Mark, my SOURCES told me something and that's the truth. It's basically "stick and stones can break my bones, but my sources told me something and that's all that matters."
Of course, we don't know who Broussard's sources are. We don't know if they were correct or not. We don't know how removed they were from the story - if they were intimately involved or just hearing things through the grapevine. But what Broussard is doing is asking is to implicitly trust him and his sources without giving us a reason to do so.
If Schefter doesn't publish the photo, we're talking about JPP's injury, his stupidity at playing with fireworks, the impact on the Giants and on the league. The story's focus is where it should be - on the injured player.
But by publishing the photo, the story went from being an injured player, his prognosis, behavior and the ramifications to one about reporting, ethics, HIPAA and transactional journalism. By publishing the photo, all people are talking about is "OH MY GOD, SCHEFTER PUBLISHED A PHOTO OF MEDICAL RECORDS!"