I wanted to follow-up briefly with one thing I observed putting together my two previous posts about ESPN. It concerns us as sports bloggers.
First and foremost, thank God for blogs. This allows all of us to share our thoughts on any topic we choose. Some people even make a decent living doing it. Even for those like me who dabble in it, it’s a wonderful vehicle for personal expression. Sports bloggers have it good because, by and large, we get to talk about fun and games. Rarely do our topics deal with life and death issues.
However I’m sometimes concerned about the integrity of blogs. We know that most blogs are opinion pieces and should be viewed as such. Why then are blogs held in such disregard by some people? I think a lot has to do with people’s perceptions that blogs should do more than just be a repository of opinions. Some people think because there is information being imparted, such information should be taken as fact. That is wrong.
When the mainstream media criticizes blogs, they often come to that conclusion as well. They get sensitive to the fact that people will take what is written on blogs, which is sometimes nothing more than rumors, and take that information as the truth. We all know of blogs that serve as news gathering organizations that break real stories on their sites. But most blogs do not fall into that category. And there’s the problem.
Let me share with you my personal experience. For my ESPN piece, I asked two questions; What do you like least about ESPN? and What would you do to change it? I was appreciative of all the responses I received. But you know what? A great majority answered the first question but never attempted to answer the second. That bothered me. They were quick to lay down the gauntlet yet were not prepared to offer solutions.
During my research on the ESPN piece I came across a posting about ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt interviewing Deadspin‘s Will Leitch. Many topics were discussed concerning one of the leading sports bloggers and his treatment of ESPN. But one really disappointed me. Van Pelt asked Leitch how ESPN could be fixed. Leitch gave the following response:
1) “Fire Dan Patrick”
2) “Have Bob Ley wear more clothes”
3) “Have the ESPYs four times a year”
4) “Be a little meaner to the women that work there, I think they’re getting a little too comfortable”
5) “Bring back ‘Quite Frankly'”
Will, I love you and your site. You have a great sense of humor. But you were given a golden opportunity to add some substance to your criticisms of ESPN on an ESPN outlet! I’m sorry, but you blew it. I know you’re working on selling a book at the beginning of the year (you’re welcome for the link). I hope you found some pages available to provide an intelligent, honest answer to Van Pelt’s question. I saw no reason why you couldn’t give listeners a sample of what’s in your book while plugging it at the same time.
Smart remarks by us bloggers make for great reading. It’s entertaining. But if we want to be a respected and trusted form of communication going forward, we need to do more than just complain and criticize. The remarks by Leitch and the lack of input to my simple question about ESPN seem to only perpetrate the perceptions that we bloggers face.
Just my tuppence.