Why blogging is taking over

God, I don’t want this site to descend into a constant barrage of media criticism, but every Sunday, when I pick up the New York Times (and some weekdays, too) I can’t help but notice some seriously lazy journalism (particularly by my favorite whipping boy, Murray Chass). In today’s column there is one major lapse: the whole Dave McCarty story, ably covered days ago by Jayson Stark here. Are there not fresher and better stories worth covering in all of Spring Training? Does Chass have to re-hash, in more simplistic and lesser terms, a story already covered in depth by a majorly trafficked sports news outlet? It’s not that two people can’t cover the same story, but four days apart, and under his major Sunday byline, at that?

This example is just one of many indicating why blogs and the web will bring forth the most original writing on baseball. Print journalism will continue to flourish because of writers like George Vecsey and Gordon Edes to name two, but blogging and web-based journos are constantly at the forefront of opinion-making and research. Simple fact: they can respond faster. What takes Chass four days to pump out is already out there, written about thoroughly and with just the right amount of importance (the story is simply a passing column in Stark’s prolific library), and not the middle bar in an over-glorified beat-writer’s national Sunday centerpiece.

5 comments… add one
  • SF seems way off base here. There really isn’t much difference between the top level “web based journos” and the print reporters SF has in mind. Both are paid by media corporations, and both publish on schedules. Newspapers publish everyday; that may be slower than the “immediate” of the internet, but it’s still pretty fast. And creative journalism often requires time, which negates the advantage of the web.
    Moreover, print journalists who are on the ground doing beat reporting are necessary news gatherers and often, through their proximity, are best suited to comment on events.
    What’s nice about the web is that it widens the field, allowing for a broader and freer flow of new ideas and voices, and that’s only going to improve the whole level of discussion.
    But even this has its negative consequence; the vast number of blogging voices is only going to do more to consolidate the power of the few large outlets that can filter the whey from the chaff. Too much choice is not necessarily better than too little.

    YF March 15, 2004, 9:57 am
  • “Way off base”? How’s that for a little hyperbole? My guess is YF is starting to feel a little queasy about the fragility of his ballclub (Lieber shut down, Sheffield aching and petulant), and his nausea is disallowing him from reading clearly. Chass’s column is old news. It’s re-hashed. It’s late. This is becoming more the standard amongst the print press – following bloggers leads with similar stories, but late. OF COURSE there’s room for non-web journos (see the next post on this site, for example), and there are plenty of beat writers doing exemplary work, and in fact they are still the first thing I read in the morning – Edes et. al. I linked to some of the Bostonians yesterday and there are many more around the country. But blogging is catching up, and fast. Time will tell if it becomes the best way of getting information, but I imagine it’s going to be the clearing house for the print media, and a source of newer and fresher opinion-making. As the source of investigative journalism, maybe not, but that’s still very hard to predict considering the quickness with which things are changing.
    And as for YF’s final comment, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The more voices there are the less power they have? Who says? If that’s your take on the power of the blog, then I am very worried not just for sports blogs but for political ones as well. Political blogs have been amazingly influential and successful counters to entrenched media – the left has used them to stunning result and they are still gaining power. It’s a horribly pessimistic view you take, that because we are all out there editorializing we are actually marginalizing ourselves.

    SF March 15, 2004, 11:34 am
  • Sorry, but you ARE way off base, and if you’re blind to the realities out there, dont blame me.
    Yeah, there are plenty of hacks who just rehash old news. But look at the big stories happening and think about where the coverage comes from: Balco, for example. You can thank the hard work of the reporters at the SF Examiner for breaking so much of the news on this front. During the season, the beat reporters are on the front lines, doing the hard work, bringing back the facts that armchair columnists like ourselves–without time or budget to go hunting down stories–can then comment upon.
    As for the power of cumulative voices, as I wrote, the democracy of the Internet will raise the level of debate. But it’s a fact that with such a massive number of voices out there, the primary information clearinghouses become even more powerful as centers of dissemination. We can’t be expected to read EVERY blog. Instead, we’ll go to a place where we can trust we’re getting a compendium of the latest thinking.
    That’s what’s happening out there. Deal with it.

    YF March 15, 2004, 12:50 pm
  • God, you just aren’t reading, are you – I don’t think that your comprehension skills are quite up to mid-week level yet. How else do I say this?
    Let me try:
    Print journos are important (see above posts). They are, right now, the first thing I read (see above posts again). They will still be at the forefront of investigative work, as far as I can tell (Balco work a fine example, and, yes, see above posts yet again). But blogs, in just a mere couple of years of immature existence, have become indisposable and a source of great creative information. They will only become more important as the best work becomes more noticed and mature; they will be a fast and primary source of new opinions and material. Is that clear enough for you, or do you want to make another post that effectively says “no” to what I think is my rather reasonable and optimistic take on the medium.
    As for eventually going to just the accepted “clearing houses”, well, if you read Sons of Sam Horn or Bronx Banter or John Perricone’s site you’ll realize that in fact people are NOT going to the regular media outposts for material. Even Boston media types/personalities (tv and print journos alike) are already visiting blogs and message boards to get information (some are even posting members of the sites). If you see an eventual change for SoSH into what you seem to pejoratively term a”powerful center of dissemination”, then I think that’s fantastic. If you think that such an inevitability is tragic, then too bad for you – for now I’ll embrace the fantasy.

    SF March 15, 2004, 3:33 pm
  • Okay. You started this thread, so you can have the last word (however naive).

    YF March 15, 2004, 11:20 pm

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Next post:

Previous post: