Speaking at this weekend's NBA All-Star Game, Kevin Durant went off on reporters and the media in general, saying "You guys really don't know shit" and later saying that he was only speaking to them because league rules require him. At Deadspin, Greg Howard praised this move:
1. Durant is right. Reporters don't know shit. That's why we ask questions to find shit out. Journalists are not experts, but their job is to talk to people who are experts or have experience and report what they say and feel. And when players don't answer questions, or they act like it's a burden to and don't tell reporters shit, the reporters are left with less information to write about - which in turns, leads to them looking like they don't know shit. It's a classic circle - players don't like talking to reporters, and then get mad at what reporters write.
2. As to Howard's point: No reporter I've ever talked to, either in my research or for my classes, has ever not wanted to build access and relationships with players. You talk to reporters and they say that is one of the most important parts of the job. Every reporter I know would love more time to develop access and foster relationships. But the demands of the job combined (posting news and notes online, performing journalism-as-process, meeting unyielding demands from readers and editors), combined with the limited access that players like Durant provide to the media make it impossible to "foster relationships" like previous generations of reporters. And, Howard (and his colleagues at Deadspin) would be the first to criticize any reporter who appeared to have a close relationship with someone for being "too close" to their subject. It's why we criticize the Adam Schefters and Peter Kings of the world.