Friday, January 2, 2009

Journalistic Integrity is going the way of the Dodo Bird.

Last night I found myself browsing the blog-o-sphere in search of anything newsworthy to kick off 2009 with. It did not take long for me to stumble upon a blog linked to the OC Register, managed by staff writer Al Balderas who covers the Anaheim Ducks.

What I saw there drove home a point that I've been making for almost a full year now: journalistic integrity is going the way of the Dodo bird.

The article in question is entitled "Does the NHL really need the Blue Jackets?" and delivers much of what you'd expect; a writer ragging on a team who's star has yet to peak in the NHL.

Here are some excerpts from his column:

"When the Blue Jackets were in town earlier this season, I asked some of the fans at Honda Center to name a Blue Jackets player. One gentleman said Rick Nash. The rest looked as if I’d asked them to recite the lineups of one of the Soviet Union’s Red Army team."

"I attended a Blue Jackets game several years ago and, true to form, Columbus was blitzed by Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche."

"If the Blue Jackets were to go away, I seriously doubt they would be missed. At least Ducks fans would have fewer players to try and recognize."
It is evident from the early going that Balderas is out to shamelessly disgrace a fan base and franchise without any factual or statistically based information.

The article brings forward no points regarding the economic situation the Blue Jackets find themselves in, nor does it provide an alternative for the Blue Jackets to call home. The article does not even delve into the history of the Blue Jackets and some of the set backs they have faced. It's only purpose is to take pot shots at all those who have ties to this Ohio based team.

These kind of posts are a reoccurring trend now in the world of online sports news that has been fueled by the insurgence of the blogging community. While blogs are supposed to raise conversation and healthy debate, this "blogger" in particular goes out of his way to draw attention to himself and his media outlet while discrediting whomever he seems fit.

Not only does this rub Blue Jackets fans the wrong way, but it also reflects poorly on the fans of Orange County, whom are undoubtedly getting an unwarranted bad wrap in this mix.

Sports writers across the the continent are losing their grip on their craft to meaningless tripe as referenced above. News papers are becoming less and less relevant, as we are now in an age where information is at the ends of our fingertips - just one mouse click away. Unfortunately, that information is not always pertinent, nor does it always tell the full story. And lets be honest, Balderas is not the only one ruffling feathers in an attempt to pass it off as information of actual importance.

It's only a matter of time before rants like this become commonplace, and another media outlet will have become extinct. Now litterally anyone can sit down, give their two cents and call themselves a journalist.

Scary stuff.


Michael Eason said...

It's hard to disagree with your main point here (especially since I'm one of the unqualified hacks who blogs too)

As it refers to hockey, it appears to me that unless you're living in an exceptional market, if you are a sports writer who's demonstrating a high degree of creative horsepower- you're gonna be steered into a more mainstream media platform (football, basketball...)in order to reach a broader base. The demand for great writing about hockey just isn't reaching the outlets that might supply it.

So I'll just immerse myself in the muck of the blogosphere and sort out the good from the bad on my own.

Usually Frustrated Caps Fan said...

Solid post, I for one never understand why "serious, professional" journalists persist in writing about a team, such as the Blue Jackets, in a negative vein. They are a solid franchise and a class act in a minor market. They have and continue to do very well with what they have.

What makes the post even stranger is it came from a professional journalist, who resides in the second biggest media market in the US but one that somehow couldn't hold on to an NFL team. Maybe it's all just an outgrowth of the PAC-10/BIG-10 rivalry between USC and Ohio State?