Monday, October 20, 2008

GoldenWatch 2008: Koreen & Mirtle on board

The tide is slowly turning against the marketing honchos at Queen's Athletics, as local and broader media sources have begun to, as the technical term goes, grow a pair, and stop their mindless obedience of the department's wrong-headed naming approach.

Fresh off the department's claim that it hasn't actually changed the team's name from Golden Gaels to Queen's Gaels, and is instead deliberately referring to the team by an incorrect name in its press releases, the Kingston Whig-Standard has corrected the mistake that the department refuses to; the phrase "Golden Gaels" now dots every university athletics article in the community's leading fishwrap.

Sports Editor Mike Koreen, whose awesomeness has already been buoyed by his revolutionary policy of quick updates to the paper's website after big games, as well as his readership of this very blog, has finally made the right decision and evidently isn't looking back. Quoth the ed himself in last Saturday's Whig: "isn't it great to say that name again?"

It sure is, Mike -- even for those of us who never stopped.

On the national level, Globe and Mail OmniBlogger James Mirtle has given the issue some much needed attention on a site that gets (slightly) more traffic than this one.

His treatment seems to echo a lot of what we've already seen around these parts, strangely. Getting Jock Climie's take on the issue? The Queen's Journal did it. Mr. Climie comparing it to the Toronto Maple Leafs suddenly calling changing their name?
"Would people be upset if they became the Toronto Leafs instead of the Toronto Maple Leafs?"
Sounds like:
"Imagine the fallout if MLSE started referring to its hockey division as the Toronto Leafs. There would be a huge hullabaloo." -- N. Sager (no, wait that's far too obvious -- let's say Neate S.), August 29
Indeed, while Neate correctly predicted the emerging hullabaloo -- and is such a fanboy that he can only be flattered that one of his Golden Gaels heroes used his line [preceding line was inserted by Mr. Sager, for the record - TK] -- it's still well played by Mr. Mirtle to correctly identify the reasons for that hullabaloo. It also demonstrates the awesomeness of OOLF, but then I'm biased.

Obviously, the Golden War is yet to end. Despite cratering media support, the Queen's Athletics Department continues to push the use of an incorrect name for the team (which is not a knock on the hardest working man in sports information, Mike Grobe -- it's not his decision). The Queen's Journal has still conveniently omitted the Golden from its sports section for months on end. Not to mention The Score, but at least they were interview-served when Queen's D-lineman Dee Sterling corrected resident jockocrat D.J. Bennett during one of their brutal on-field interviews. CKWS-TV is still on the wrong end of the issue, though they're used to a lack of editorial independence given their ra-ra-ra work for the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs (more on that in a few months).

But thankfully, the department's allies in this endeavour of outright silliness are becoming fewer by the week. According to Mirtle's piece, the official line is now "We'd prefer you to call us the Queen's Gaels."

And I'd prefer you to call me The Artist Formerly Known as Tyler King. Thank god nobody's doing either anymore.

Though my alter-ego still sounds better than Queen's Gaels.

32 comments:

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Some good points in there, Tyler. A few other things to mention, though: Mirtle's actual profile of Sheahan uses Queen's Gaels, which is the name still listed with the OUA and CIS. I'm guessing that's not from his personal preference, but because of the news/opinion divide that's rigidly enforced at most reputable newspapers.
Queen's Gaels is still the name on record with those organizations, and until that changes, that's the official name (despite any claims to the contrary in a confusing, solitary Whig-Standard article that combined an odd mix of news and opinion). Using it doesn't necessarily show agreement with the decision: it's necessary for a news piece (as compared to an opinion one). News tells what is: opinion and editorial tells what should be. However, you'll also notice that I try to avoid using "Queen's Gaels" whenever possible: using either "Queen's" or "Gaels" allows the reader to make their own decision on if there should be a "Golden" in the middle. As a newspaper, we've also already condemned the change in an editorial: that is the proper place for it, not in news stories.
In addition to my previously listed reasons as to why just using "Gaels" is simpler and tighter, adding "Golden" takes a story out of the realm of news and makes it the writer's opinion, which is fine for blogs and radio shows, but not news stories that are supposed to be factual.
Personally, I'd prefer the department return to Golden, as I've mentioned here. I've also continued to use the "Queen's Golden Gaels" tag on my blog, which allows me to do so, as it's opinion. Until the department officially changes the name back, though, I'm not going to start inserting my personal opinions into news stories. Doing so would hurt my credibility.
Mirtle's other piece is a good description of the controversy around the name, which I've already done. If the controversy continues to grow and the department changes its policy as a result, I'll be right there reporting on it with everyone else. Until then, though, I'd rather use the minimal space I have in the Journal to talk about what's actually going on with Queen's teams instead of rehashing the naming controversy endlessly when there's no new information to be found.

Anonymous said...

No new information? The two best sportswriters in Canada under the age of 30, Mirtle and Koreen, both wrote about it in the past couple days.

(Neate is over 30, and he can hardly be called a sportswriter -- he's just a sad, pathetic wannabe.)

kinger said...

Andrew, it's not the official name when the Athletics Director goes on record saying it's not the official name.

I definitely rank the Journal above the whipping boys like CKWS and The Score based on their reluctance to use Queen's Gaels. However, if it wanted to back up its editorial instead of making it look like a token complaint to save face, it'd pick a side.

sager said...

It's a blog ... we're supposed to be picking nits out of each other's hair like a bunch of apes.

There is precedent for a paper taking a stand. In the early '90s when the issue over Native American team names flared up, one U.S. paper refused to use the names for the Washington, D.C., NFL team or the Cleveland Indians.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

That's just my point, though, Tyler: my news pieces aren't supposed to have a side. That's why I'm trying for the middle ground. As for the "official" part, my feeling is to go with what's on record with OUA/CIS rather than a confusing comment in a opinion column that didn't clarify much in my mind: it sounded like Dal Cin was repeating most of the same stuff she told me for the initial piece, where she made it clear that they would be referring to the teams as "Queen's Gaels", and Brad Greenwood told me afterwards that the department policy hadn't changed. If the department changes their policy and the OUA and CIS go along, then using Golden won't be an opinion: until then, it is in my mind. I'm not arguing that anyone else has to go along: was just trying to clarify my position.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

@Neate: I would have disagreed with that decision as well. The Native American names are a legitimate concern, but I would have expressed my disagreement with them in a column or editorial, not a news story.
(Which paper was it, by the way?)

sager said...

Andrew,

It is quite fine for a news outlet to pick a side editorially and follow it up on the news side. I don't believe the two should be separate, because it sustains the big lie about the an "objective" press.

Anyone who thinks the media is objective has never met a journalist -- or is a journalist.

I can act pretty cavalier about things, but our role is to be somewhat like a politician or an educator and be ahead of the curve -- help foment debate, lead or influence opinion.

You have a mind and know it, so why kowtow? No one needs to wait for The Canadian Press to update its style guide.

It happens all the time, whether it's a team name or using the proper spelling of the Qu'ran (obviously, it's all relative).

It's called using your head and heart to do what's right. It's called being real.

Oh, and in 11 years, it's going to be 2019. Think about that!

[/Cameron Crowe'd]

Mikey said...

I'm guessing from his lengthy post here that Andrew now refers to the Bengals stand-out receiver as Chad Ocho Cinco?

At least his name change had the balls to be official.

Come to think of it, the espanyol could work: Queen's Escocés Dorado.

Sorry, Queen's Escocés

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Well, officially it would be Chad Ochocinco (seeing as that's what he wrote on the name change documents), and yes, that's what I'd call him in a news piece (though I'd make fun of him all over the place in a column or a blog). Neate, you're right that media outlets aren't always objective. That doesn't mean they shouldn't try to be. In the words of Terry Pratchett, sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness. I'm fine with media trying to influence public opinion on the editorial pages and in clearly identified opinion columns, but news stories should be fair, balanced, and show both sides. They don't always, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying.

(By the way, I'm curious about the love for Mirtle's piece Tyler expressed given that he referred to the team as "Queen's Gaels" in his Sheahan profile. Isn't that anathema these days?)

kinger said...

No, because Mirtle brought to light the stupidity of the decision. I never said he'd somehow overridden editorial policy in how he refers to the team in news pieces (that's, again, not his department).

The more a medium tries to be objective, the more ridiculous it looks - FOX News as one of the most blatant examples. Neate's got it nailed down - to just abandon that idiotic premise is the best way of not insulting the intelligence of your readers.

Mikey said...

Andrew: Chad's name is incorrect listed with NFL.com, ESPN, and the AP. Are they being objective? Are those major media outlets editorializing? You'll be pleased: the Cincinnati Enquirer does have it as 8-5.

Neate: Agreed. Journalist should not aspire to end up like Wolf Blitzer: he of many words but no opinions.

Robert C. said...

'We'd prefer you to call us the Queen's Gaels'

Hmmmm, that changed from last month when someone from the athletics department phoned me during a football broadcast on CFRC.

Wanted a message passed along to the broadcast team: 'tell him it's Queen's Gaels, NOT Golden Gaels.'

That word "prefer" never came up in our conversation. :)

Duane Rollins said...

Kinger???

@ Neate,

I can act pretty cavalier about things, but our role is to be somewhat like a politician or an educator and be ahead of the curve -- help foment debate, lead or influence opinion.

They won't teach that in j-school, but you're bang on. There is a reason many people are looking towards blogs and other forms of new media for their news--they understand and appreciate that those sources are upfront about their biases. And they find that approach refreshing and entertaining

But, anyway...I've said my piece on the Golden-ness of Queen's so I won't rehash it now.

(except for this: @Andrew)
RE: your facebook post...

I'm all over this issue not because I'm worried that Laurier will drop the Golden (I'd just ignore them too), but rather because of my long standing association with CIS football (I've been doing the Top 27 for almost a decade now) and a sincere belief that the decision is just plain wrong. As a journalist I also don't like it when PR people tell me what I can and can't do. They already have the advantage; we shouldn't be helping them out by blindly following every soulless whim they have.

sager said...

Small point, Andrew: With full respect to James, it's the Globe and Mail's profile which he wrote. Once you file it, it belongs to the ages, to paraphrase Marge Simpson's painting professor.

I always go to that when people have a beef with another writer's story ... you don't know what he/she put in there originally and copy-editing cats make odd choices on deadline.

Greg said...

Apparently the hockey team is still Golden: http://queenshockey.com/newsstory.php?N_ID=77

And I shot photos at the Queen's/Guelph game in Guelph last Friday and — gasp! — the Queen's jerseys still said Golden on them.

kinger said...

They did, Greg? Can we see the photos anywhere?

I remember when they unveiled the brand they also admitted most of the jerseys weren't in yet (hence the large representation of things like umbrellas at the 'fashion show' they held). The hockey jerseys were one of them, though they did have new home jerseys (with no names on the back, which is just great for a play by play man obviously).

Big V said...

Even worse is when the Queen's team name is put inbetween...
I cringe every time i hear Tim Cunningham say "And here are you Queen's Football Gaels"

Sounds rediculous...
imagine... your Toronto Hockey Leafs....

sager said...

The key difference there is one of those teams is actually good at its chosen sport!

kinger said...

Big V is right on. Queen's Football Gaels just sounds wrong. I mean, we're at the football stadium. The only team that can get away with that is the New York Football Giants.

BUT - have you noticed Tim Cunningham has let "Golden Gaels" slip over the PA several times in the past few games? And it doesn't sound all that unintentional?

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Indeed, Queen's football Gaels and Queen's soccer Gaels and all the rest sound absolutely ridiculous over the PA, as does just Queen's Gaels. No argument on that score. The hockey teams are both still using old jerseys to my knowledge: new ones are in, but I don't think they'll be unveiled until this weekend's games.

Greg said...

Hey Kinger, sorry, I deleted all the photos. The one that ran had an obstructed view of the front of the jersey. But if you click this link: http://www.pbase.com/parpho/image/91406175 those were the jerseys they were wearing in Guelph on the weekend.

kinger said...

The hockey teams are not using old jerseys at home, Andrew. The gogaelsgo.com website is plastered with photos of them in their new jerseys. Such as here and here.

Big V said...

those are the away jerseys... homes are gold... but they arn't golden... wait what?

I dont get it... Jock Clime (sp.?) had it right on... when you hire a firm to review your logo, they wont come back after being paid and say... yup its good the way it is.

Greg said...

Kinger

Those pics are of the one new set they own. They are wearing old white ones with the GOLDEN Q on the front and the words "Queen's Golden Gaels" over top of it.

These: http://www.pbase.com/parpho/qvslaurier_mhockey_010508 are apparently their new road jerseys.

Because here http://news.guelphmercury.com/Sports/article/393810 is the photo I took Friday.

kinger said...

Right - the pics I was posting were to ensure nobody thought they weren't wearing *any* new jerseys.

The consensus seems to be they have new home jerseys, but are wearing last year's away jerseys.

Greg said...

Ah, ok. Got ya. My misunderstanding.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Ah, okay: I thought the new ones hadn't been unveiled yet, but it turns out they have. On the gold, I've heard they'll switch to golden home unis in the second half of the season: we'll see on that, I guess.

Big V said...

Have any of you been by the PEC lately?
THe huge posters on the front of the building have players wearing the new jerseys.

Dan Pawliw said...

Unfortunately, a potential Yates Cup (sorry I said this but it is not the same as talking about a no hitter in the 9th inning)will not bring this issue to a head. The only name that goes on the Yates is the name of the university. I have not dared to check any other trophies.

Duane Rollins said...

It's the full name on the Vanier--it's even misspelled sometimes....

Anonymous said...

Ok - so we do not need to worry about for a few weeks ...

kinger said...

Laval will surely save us from that disgrace.