Saturday, January 26, 2008

CANADIAN GRAFFITI ISN'T ALWAYS SENS-IBLE

Thank the Lord that newspapers and TV websites have jumped into the blogging game to give it some much needed legitimacy.

Granted, if one of those unaccountable, loose-cannon bloggers got a comment bordering on libel like the one below at Sun Media's new Off The Posts hockey blog, there's a slight chance it wouldn't have been left up for 36 hours and counting with no response.
Comment from: John Dhaller [Visitor]
The Sens just have to get rid of 4 or 5 players who are coke-heads. This is, and has been a problem with the team for years, stay off the drugs, or at least wait for the off-season.
24/01/2008
@ 13:20
Please try to understand the frustration on this end when you see the equivalent of shithouse graffiti going on a blog written by respected colleagues. OK, so it's just one Internet troll, but letting a comment bordering on libel stand for 36 hours? Come on.

It's disheartening. On this end, you pour a lot of what little creative energy you have into a blog, then see something like this happen and wonder if it could have been avoided if the elders ever bothered to get your opinion or insights before they started another iCab. But they didn't.

Suffice to say, this is the problem when a company embraces new technology without trying to understand how it's received by people. This is not a comment on the guys doing the blog; there's tremendous respect for their abilities, especially writing on deadline, something I could never master. They get stretched very thin sometimes, and they don't deserve to have third parties making comments bordering on libel on their blog.

(Link via The Universal Cynic.)

(UPDATE: Case in point about being stretched thin -- this was Sun hockey writer Don Brennan's day on Saturday. He covered an OHL game in the afternoon, then managed to file stories on the Carleton-Ottawa basketball game and a mixed martial arts card that were taking place simultaneously at opposite ends of Ottawa-Gatineau. When would he have had time to be a dedicated blogger?)

10 comments:

CCR said...

Two thoughts....

First, the problem with crap comments on a blog isn't limited to newspaper blogs. We all have to deal with it.

Somebody has to keep an eye on the comments and kill troublesome comments.

Second, there are blogging sports reporters who are doing an incredible service to their readers.

A great example is Redskins Insider by Washington Post beat reporter Jason LaCanfora (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/redskinsinsider/).

The Internet is killing the traditional newspaper model. It is also empowering the public to have a voice and have interaction with the media. The Internet and the Blogosphere are doing a better job of holding reporters accountable than any newspaper ombudsman in history (ask Dan Rather).

sager said...

No one's saying you don't hear from people who've been beaten with the stupid stick on a personal site... but there it probably gets dealt with pronto.

And there are some it-getters out there among beat guys, baseball writer Jeff Blair from globesports.com is a fine example ... but these seems to be an example of what can happen when instead of giving a space to the people who are passionate and committed to doing it, you give it to beat guys who already have their plates piled high.

It's like what Bryan Windhorst, who covers the Cleveland Cavs, told The Big Lead a couple weeks ago:

"Now, many papers are just reactionary. Editor tells reporter: 'hey, do a blog' and most of the time the writer doesn't want to do it and neither of them know what a blog truly is. You hear all these beat writers bitching about it all the time. I have a piece of cyberspace they call a blog but it isn't, it's a journal."

Dennis Prouse said...

I hate to beat up on Erin Nicks, but she encourages this type of stuff with her thinly veiled speculation on her site regarding the lifestyles of some Senators players. It is always written in that grating, "I know something you don't know" tone, making it even tougher to take. No wonder fans take that, and tweak it a little further. I mean, really, "four or five" cokeheads? What, is there one we aren't quite sure about?

I have held off writing about this for a while, but here it is -- Erin is a talented writer, and should stick to writing about sports. Her forays into lurid speculation and teasing tidbits about the personal lives of the players are not her finest work.

sager said...

D.P.,

Fair enough, if that's a concern of yours, please do address it with Ms. Nicks.

At the same time, the comment was not made on her site. It was made at a Sun Media blog, we don't know who by, let alone what other sites the commenter regularly visits. So beating up on Erin for this might not be the best tack.

Pete Toms said...

I posed the question in a chat on this blog last year if - and I'll say it straight out, Redden - had a drug problem or is it urban myth? I recall myself, Dennis & Neate pretty much agreeing that it had the earmarks of urban myth.

Obviously none of us know, but the interesting aspect of this story is why it is so widely accepted as fact? And I don't mean to say that it isn't true...

This isn't the first I've seen chat about this on the web. In a Globe chat room last year, a fan from Ottawa ( or claimed to be from Ottawa, this is the web ) stated that it was commonly known here that one of the Sens star players had a drug problem.

I think all the speculation speaks more to our region's collective, excessive level of interest in all things Sens. Rumors of young, rich, spoiled, irresponsible young celebrities doing illegal drugs? Scandalous, scandalous!!!

Everybody get a life.

sager said...

Bill James wrote an essay once about how around 1970, athletes started thinking of themselves as "professionals" rather than average Joes who played games for a few years.

That led to them putting walls up, revealing less of themselves, and you can see where that inculcated people to believe the worst about these guys. There's so much unknown about them. There's also an entire media culture where it's perfectly normal to assure people what a great guy someone is (and I'm guilty of this too), even when you've never talked to him outside of a sports setting.

Classic example of gossips in small-market cities: One team in Green Bay during the Lombardi years, for shits and grins someone started a rumour that Mrs. Lombardi had been impregnated by Paul Hornung, the star halfback.

About a day later, he hears, "You hear about this Hornung and Marie thing?"

Similarly, according to one book (can't remember if it was by Mike Ulmer or Jack Batten; both did Leafs books in the mid-'90s) one time Doug Gilmour and his future wife, at the height of his fame in Toronto, decided to spread a rumour around the Gardens that she was pregnant just to see how quickly it would make it back to them. It got back to them within the day.

Again, getting back to the point, I don't think a true blogger lets that stay up there for 48 hours without challenging the A-hole or removing the comment. But it's not the beat guys' task to play censor, or play referee. They have enough to do as it is.

sager said...

@ CCR. It's really a generational thing, you have to remember. How old is Jason Lacanfora? I found a chat he did in 1999 (when he covered hockey) where he refers to going to AHL games in Baltimore, probably in the mid/late '70s, when he was five years old. That would put him in his late 30s now, and given that he was doing chats as far back as 1999, he's probably got a young outlook.

In Canada, it's really about Boomer sensitivities being used to keep anyone younger from ever being allowed to have a big voice, unless it's Rebecca Eckler or Leah McLaren. I ain't waitin' until I'm 40, sorry.

Dennis Prouse said...

I wouldn't worry about Rebecca Eckler being taken seriously by anyone. She jumped the shark some time ago.

In terms of under 40 writers who are getting notice, I would give you Colby Cosh and Adam Radwanski. Both of them had blogs long before they became fixtures in the MSM, and both still routinely jump back and forth between the blogosphere and the pages of the Post and Globe respectively. As someone who finds Jeffrey Simpson to now be a tedious, stuffy bore, the arrival of some younger faces on the scene couldn't come a moment too soon.

Mac G said...

Can I ask if the dudes like the white stuff or not?

sager said...

You mean milk?