Sports Bloggers

Blogs With Balls Video- Peter King Opening

The organizers at the Blogs with Balls conference promoted the event by telling attendees that their opening speaker would be someone of note.  That lead speaker proved to be none other than Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.  He wasn’t at the event, but did pre-tape a greeting.

Here is my video of King’s prepared remarks…

Say what you want about Peter King, but give him credit for recognizing the work sports bloggers put forth.

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Blogs With Balls Recap- With Video

I am so glad to have had the opportunity to attend the Blogs With Balls conference this past Saturday in New York.   It was great to have so many people within the sports blogging community together in one room.

I thought the conference itself was well planned and, overall, informative. But for those of us who closely follow the trends in new media and advances made by those in the sports blogging community, no new ground was uncovered.

The opinions of the panelists were refreshing, yet expected; we sports bloggers are doing some great work…we are the future…etc.

I was a bit disappointed in the final panel discussion entitled, “Why We Hate You…The Media’s Take.”   Here were the panelists:

Jeff Pearlman, Author, SI.com Columnist
Amy K. Nelson, ESPN
Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Bog
Jeff Pyatt, Real Clear Sports
Bethlehem Shoals, Free Darko, The Sporting Blog
Mike Hall, NESN
MODERATOR: Dan Levy, On the DL Podcast

The panelists did provide a lively discussion, but as you look at the list of panelists, only Jeff Pearlman and Amy Nelson have spent their entire career in the mainstream media.  The others on the panel may have had MSM experience, but also possess a working knowledge of blogs.  It would have been more beneficial if the entire panel were made up of those in the establishment media, especially those critical of bloggers.

Heading into the conference I was disappointed by not having the ability to live blog from the site.  But it turned out to be  a welcomed relief not to have Internet access.  It afforded me more time to meet with people, share stories, and make new contacts.  It was nice to get away from the technology for a few hours.

I did take my video camera and was able to conduct interviews with some of the people in attendance at the conference.  That leads me to one other criticism…the conference was held in the basement of Stout NYC, a restaurant in Manhattan.  The atmosphere was superb, but the lighting was not suitable for video.   Most of our interviews were conducted in front of a dartboard illuminated by a spotlight.  So take that into consideration when viewing the videos.

My first video was not in front of the dartboard spotlight.  It was in a similarly dimly lit room which was used by event organizers as a holding area for the speakers.  It’s with Chris Lucas of HHR Media, the organizers of Blogs With Balls…

Check back as I will post more video interviews from the conference in the coming days.

SMJ the Toddler

birthday-onesieI started Sports Media Journal (SMJ) two years ago this week.  No big deal really.  One of my first articles was a piece entitled What I Like About Sports Media- 2007.  Not much has changed in terms of how I view the sports media industry.

The onsie to the left shows us that we are still young and learning.  I wanted this site to be different.  I did not want to rehash the days’ sports media news, although I did reserve the right to comment on those stories from time to time.   There are plenty of sites that spend their time linking to stories all day.  They are better at it than I.  I do provide links on Fridays, the busiest day when it comes to print stories on the sports media.

I also never wanted SMJ to delve into the realm of rumor mongering.  That just insults the intelligence of our readers.  Again, if you want innuendo and gossip, there is plenty out there to find.  Just not here.

I always wanted the site to be a little smarter.  Go to the source to find out about those in the business.  I have been fortunate to interview some of those people in the past.  I strive to do more in that area.  I also wanted to use the site as a window into what it’s like to work in this field.  Our “On Press Row” series gives readers an insight into what the conditions are like for the media at various sporting events.

I’ve also delved into the world of podcasting.  It’s many times easier for me to interview members of the media by turning them into podcasts than to transcribe their every word.  Going forward expect more podcasts…and the introduction of video.

I make no bones about the fact that as much as I want SMJ to succeed, this is a part time venture for me.  If someone wants to step up to hire me to do this full time, your Google Reader wouldn’t know what hit it.  But that’s not the case.  My full time job (which by the way is in the media), my wife, and my daughter take priority.  I know the key to writing a successful blog is to post, post, post.  I won’t do that if what I write is superficial.  That makes no sense.

I’ve had some help along the way.  Thanks to T.J. Donegan for taking time from his educational pursuits to write for SMJ from time to time.  If anyone else wants to write for us, drop me a line.

I constantly seek ideas on how to make SMJ better.  I believe in not re-inventing the wheel.  How do the successful sports blogs do it?  I wasn’t sure,  so I asked them.  Their responses will be part of our next big endeavor.

Coming real soon, SMJ’s look at The Sports Blogger 2009.

Let me know how we can improve Sports Media Journal.  Thanks for checking in these last two years.

A Few Angry Reporters…and Bloggers

I finally had a chance to view last night’s Costas NOW telecast on the state of sports media. My reaction is that, overall, the program did a good job in trying to explore the evolution the media has undertaken in our sports lives.

Costas and crew were spot on when it comes to the negativity on sports radio. Jay Mariotti is right that much of sports radio is “low brow” and “mindless” and caters to the lowest common denominator. And when it comes to “guy radio”, I could not agree more that it has no place in sports. WSCR’s Mike North is correct that guys at a bar talk about more than just sports…But Mike, you’re not in a bar! Stick to sports please. The use of T&A just shows a level of childishness and points to the possibility that some talk show hosts lack the capability to talk sports for an extended period of time.

Now on to Buzz vs. Will. I agree with so much both had to say it’s scary. Will, and others who responded today, are correct in saying bloggers are offering an alternative to typical sports news. Unlike the opinion of Michael Wilbon, it doesn’t matter that one has training in journalism to express his or her opinion on a game. Keep those thoughts coming! Yea First Amendment!

I do also agree with Buzz that if some of those bloggers are the future of sports journalism, there is cause for concern. Too much of what is being written by some bloggers is being accepted as fact. As much as we want to give our readers the benefit of the doubt that they understand what they’re reading, many do take some of what we write as gospel. The level of mean spiritedness and vulgarity in some writing does nothing in raising the level of discourse in sports discussion. It’s more dumbing down of the audience. It’s not needed.

There is no doubt Buzz and others in the mainstream media appear jealous or threatened by bloggers. I have no idea why. Their level of professionalism will always win out when fans are seeking hardcore information. Some bloggers say they don’t want access to the press box and athletes. That’s fine. Then don’t come off as being more than what you are, just guys and gals with an opinion. If you treat yourselves as journalists, then I fear for the future of the profession.

Buzz and his ilk need to embrace the changing sports media landscape. There soon will be no more newspapers, just media organizations sharing information over multiple platforms. The sooner these reporters get that, the sooner they will realize their craft has a future.

A couple of last points on the show…I agree with the TV guys that the perception that they are afraid to delve into delicate topics because of the business relationships their networks have with sports leagues is just that…perception. Not reality.

I also agree with the athletes who say they don’t trust the media that cover them. You can blame sports radio negativity and the “gotcha” of some sports bloggers for that way of thinking.

The reaction to the Costas NOW program has been telling indeed. I want bloggers to answer this question…Why do you care what the mainstream media says about you? You pride yourself on being independent thinkers and trail blazers. You have no need for those who work in the press box. So why do you get your underwear is such a bunch when they criticize you?

I think I know why. Because some bloggers, especially those who are successful today, are still kids. They have not grown-up. They do not have the real life experiences that many of us face in the professional world. Some of them probably grew up with little responsibility and had many of their needs met with the help of others. You can read this in some their posts every day.

If you read the responses on the Costas NOW show from some in the blogsphere you can hear that they can’t handle the criticism. A few of these guys I like…but they come off as spoiled brats. I will link a few…but a word of caution… some of these posts are not suitable for all eyes.

Awuful Announcing
Kissing Suzy Kolber
Every Day Should be Saturday
The Sporting Blog

Unfortunately what you read above fuels the fire of perception that some bloggers do not deserve the level of credibility they seek.  And you know what, I agree.

To sum up…both mainstream reporters and bloggers need to chill out. And we as customers of sports media need to practice caveat lector…let the reader beware.