Commentary

The establishment sports reporter vs the basement dwelling sports blogger. Can we coexist peacefully?

The basement dwelling sports blogger Pat Kirwin imagines when he closes his eyes.

Over the past few years the number of NFL and scouting blogs have grown exponentially. It seems as though that’s not the only thing that has grown. The disdain by the professional sports journalism and commentator establishment of this new media movement has grown as well. Can the two worlds ever coexist? Should they even try?

Just the other day Pat Kirwan of CBS sports posted this on Twitter:

Obviously this set off an understandable backlash from all of the hard-working scouts and bloggers who run several websites in their spare time.

Or this from  Phil Mackey of ESPN1500: “sports bloggers want to be friends w/ players and think they can be GMs” and “I appreciate the work of some sports bloggers. But at times I think some of their platforms are too large in 2012. No accountability.” (Shout out to firstroundbust.com for the quote )

Or this from MarK Cuban in 09 with Dan Patrick:

– Cuban said there are so many blogs, everyone has to really work hard to stand out. “The shortcut is just to make something up. Bloggers will claim an inside source when it’s not legitimate.”

– He also blamed traditional media for not trusting their own sources and abilities and following every blog rumor.

Were any of these comments justified?

I think one of the biggest gripes the establishment journalists have against the blogging community is the freedom and ease at which we operate.  For a professional sports writer, accountability and credibility are everything. Most go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the facts they report can be corroborated through multiple valid sources. They do that to protect themselves, and to protect their employers from a myriad of legal and credibility issues that could damage the brand. They also spend years devoted to building relationships with players, owners and management. This takes time, great people skills, trust, and attention to detail. I think there is a natural tendency to despise content and buzz created by less “professional” means.

While I agree with that premise, and can also appreciate the annoyance of having 15-20 blogs devoted to each NFL team spreading MSM viewership thin, I say get over it. In this digital media age, fans are savvy. They have enormous amounts of choices when it comes to sports content. This is one area I agree with Mark Cuban 100%. It is very hard to stand out, and the sites that do, earn it through credible, knowledgeable, insightful, and entertaining content. So for me, this argument falls a little flat. There is more than one way to deliver quality sports content, and good website owners are making that statement more true every day.

This brings me back to Pat Kirwin and his very laughably insecure Twitter post. There are a ton of us who love the game of football and spend hours reviewing game tape, writing articles, and communicating with thousands of fans through social media, all while working full-time. Moreover, most of the ex scouts, and coaches who run scouting websites do so for free because it’s their passion to do so.

When sports establishment professionals go out of their way to criticize the “fake FB guys” It tells me that we have a long way to go before both sides can find the middle ground needed to coexist peacefully. But fear not…A sports writing  revolution is coming, and the old and stale ratings centered MSM (enter Tim Tebow, Lebron James, Lakers, Yankees, Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Jets and NFC East continual coverage as exhibit A) is beginning to take notice..

That’s a good thing. For fans everywhere.

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About Will

Football fanatic, former coach, and obsessive blogger. Proud member of the Seahawks 12thManNation. Follow him on twitter @12thManScribe

Discussion

9 thoughts on “The establishment sports reporter vs the basement dwelling sports blogger. Can we coexist peacefully?

  1. One thing I would add is how sports writers are sourcing bloggers more and more, but in same breath belittling them to everyone else. This is going to get interesting in a few years. Nice article.

    Posted by The Wise One | May 26, 2012, 5:35 am
  2. Good point! Trying to have it both ways it seems.

    Posted by Will | May 26, 2012, 4:16 pm
  3. Might help the establishment’s cause if they devoted more than 2 seconds to learning about the nuances of the game and the teams that play it. Instead of perpetuating mindless groupthink amongst each other to comclude that Aaron Curry is a can’t miss, and Michael Oher is stupid and a bad character risk.

    And deciding for this fan that his team is irrelevant and therefore won’t provide any content at all except to lambast them whenever they don’t follow the mindless groupthink party line. Like posting the best record in the league behind only New England and Indy from 2000-2010, the best home field advantage (league record for false starts, every year), bouncing the Dirty Super Bowl champion Saints with a masterful complete game in a down year punctuated by the BeastQuake run, handiily beating the Super Bowl champions at their house last year etc.etc.

    Reminds me of Iacocca bitching to the government and the Japanese they should buy his K cars instead of Accords and Camrys – produce a better product, and this consumer might give you more of his dollar…

    Posted by bleedshawkblue | May 28, 2012, 5:16 pm
    • Your point touches on a great fact. Team bloggers write because they are passionate fans. This isn’t always the case with sports journalists. Hence network coverage that is 98% ratings driven. Thanks for reading!
      Go Seahawks!

      Posted by Will | May 28, 2012, 6:57 pm
  4. So many professionals don’t know anything about the Seahawks, which is why I would read a blog dedicated to my favorite team. Good article.

    Posted by Peyton | May 31, 2012, 12:29 am
  5. Bloggers can be stupid (see myself), but they are not the most ignorant sources of football news. Kirwan is amongst the respectable journalists, but if he wants the bloggers to go away, he should talk to the guys who inadvertently created them: the Mel Kipers, Mike Florios, Pete Priscos, Colin Cowherds, and Skip Baylesses of the world. Indie blogs are started by ordinary people for the same reason that ordinary people feel so free to voice their political opinions online: as ignorant as they may be, they sense an even greater intelligence vacuum in the national media and come to the realization that they actually do know more.

    Posted by Brandon Adams | June 2, 2012, 10:14 pm
    • Brandon,
      I know that for some (myself included) the genesis of their blog was just a passion for the subject manner absent disdain for lack of media intelligence. I think starting a blog for any other reason assumes too much. Either way, I love all the blogs out there now (yours included of course), and respect how each bring a new perspective to the same 60 minutes of football. I mean, how awesome is that?

      Posted by Will | June 3, 2012, 4:23 am

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