Welcome to the second of our three-part series looking at the make-up of the sports blogger in 2009. You can access part one of our series here.
In putting together the survey for our participants one of the aspects of their work in which I was interested was how they view their role as a sports blogger. Just about all those surveyed had a strong opinion as to why they blog. But do they feel their work makes some sort of difference?
The results of this part of the survey delves a little into this. As I did with part one of the survey, after each question I will include my answer and commentary…
QUESTION: Do you consider yourself a journalist?
I consider myself a journalist. More after the next question…
QUESTION: If not, why not?
There is no way I can display parts of all the answers here. But here is a good sampling of what some of those who voted “No” to the first question had to say;
I don’t like to be bound by the journalistic code of dispassionate coverage. While I can and do incorporate interviews, photos, and recaps of direct experiences, which are journalistic in nature, I also feel free to tell jokes and express opinions that a journalist never could. I am well aware that I am an entertainment option for readers, not a source for hard-hitting information.
To be a journalist, I feel you need to be present an unbiased report on your subject. My blog doesn’t set out to present such a commentary. Our research is almost strictly taken from the work of others, many times from what I would call true journalists. As we don’t break news, conduct interviews or try to fully report stories, I can’t say that we fill any of the perceived requirements of journalism.
Because I don’t have press credentials and because the majority of our content isn’t based on first hand reporting. It’s based on our reaction to things that have already been reported by journalists elsewhere. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re better or worse than journalists. Just different.
Those three quotes pretty well sum up the feeling of those who beleive they are not journalists. Here are parts one who voted “Yes”;
It kills me to no end when people I critique… question my credentials simply because my views are placed on a blog… My blog and my reporting (actual, real reporting) has higher standards than 80 percent of the mainstream media and is on par with at least 15 percent of the remaining MSM.
I feel strongly about this issue…so I looked up the word journalist and journalism at Dictionary.com. There appears to be support on both sides of the issue that bloggers are, or are not, journalists. On the one hand, in support of my argument that they are, we have this definition of a journalist;
a person who keeps a journal, diary, or other record of daily events.
Isn’t what we do a journal, or diary of our thoughts? Those who say they are not journalists probably base it on this definition of journalism;
The collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts.
There are other definitions that support each case.
Semantics aside, many of those who believe they are not journalists base their opinion on the fact they do not gather news, they analyze it. How different is that from a newspaper columnist? I would suspect they consider themselves journalists.
QUESTION: Is it important for you that your blog attain respectability?
I also say yes. As a follow-up I asked why the bloogers sought respectability and many used the words “pride” and “acceptance”. That makes sense. Very few of us do things in a public way just for kicks. I would not have started SMJ if I did not seek recognition on some level for what I do…be it either a paycheck or a positive comment.
QUESTION: Should blog writers always identify themselves?
Out of all the questions in this survey, this one perplexes me the most. I emphatically vote YES! How can anyone say they want respectability on the one hand when they are not willing to properly identify themselves to get it?
I understand that there may be some people who would find their jobs in jeopardy if they were caught blogging. We have evidence of this happening. If you fear that retribution, you should either stand up to your freedom of speech, or not blog. I understand it’s a difficult decision to make…but a realistic one.
In my mind if you hide behind anonymity you do not deserve respect. You could be the best blogger on earth, but not putting your name behind what you write in my opinion is a sign of cowardice. Signed, Keith Thibault. Off soapbox.
QUESTION: You receive a photo of an athlete at a private party in a compromising position (ala Michael Phelps). Do you publish the photo?
No, athletes deserve some privacy 59%
Yes, but after first authenticating the 35%
photo or attempting to reach the athlete
involved for comment
Yes, no matter what! 6%
As much as the identification question made me angry, this one made me smile. I too vote no…and it is refreshing to see that a majority of the sports bloggers we surveyed feel the same.
One would think that the younger bloggers would tend to answer “yes” while the older ones would opt for “no” because of the media practices we grew up into. But that was not the case. There were plenty of 18-25 year-olds who voted “no” and 36-45 year-olds who voted “yes”.
My view is basically that anything that happens in the privacy of one’s or another’s home should be kept private, unless there is some reason for the authorities to get involved. Then that information is public. Athletes and other celebrities are fair game when it comes to what happens between the lines. Just because they are famous does not mean they are not entitled to privacy.
On the other hand events where the press is invited is a different story. Reporters are there to cover an event…and if someone makes a fool of themselves then reporters have a right to report it. I’m not sure I would, but others who are there could. If the event is private, then again the privacy of those in attendance should be protected. I hearken back to last year’s Dana Jacobsen incident. I don’ t remember if the charity event welcomed media coverage, if so, Jacobsen deserved the treatment. If not, then it would make for great office gossip but nothing more.
When we read stories of those in the mainstream media being critical of bloggers, it’s often based on those who tend to have answered, “Yes, no matter what!”. Thank goodness it looks like they are in the minority.
That’s all for part two of our survey. The final post will be up on Monday and will include a look at the reading, listening, and watching habits of the sports bloggers as well as their opinion on TV coverage of sports and their thoughts on some of the play-by-play announcers and studio hosts. Please come back!