Well, it took a scathing piece about bloggers to take me out of my much needed break from blogging. I really enjoyed following and writing my thoughts about the Detroit Tigers over the last season on this blog and my respect for the entire baseball blogosphere and specifically other Detroit Tiger bloggers has grown immensely. While enjoyable, it took quite a bit more effort than I had originally anticipated but the payoff was well worth it.
This is why Chris McCosky’s piece in today’s Detroit News slamming bloggers was concerning to me. With increasing regularity traditional print journalists feel threatened by local or national bloggers and lash out in their columns in ways that, frankly, seem more appropriate for a blog than for even a journalistic opinion piece. This threat isn’t unfounded as traditional newspaper circulation continues to go decline as the New York Times reported one year ago and can see in the chart to the left.
I don’t blame Chris for sticking up for his profession. I would be equally annoyed if I felt threatened in my job but the key is to adapt rather than to attack. Most print publications are online where they do have to compete with a number of other outlets, blogs included. The public will gravitate to those with informed ideas and opinions without regard to how they were formed. For instance, I read and follow Lynn Hennings’ articles and chose not to follow Rob Parkers’ pieces. My reading includes a large number of journalists and an equally large number of bloggers that provide me with a wider-reaching and more informed opinions about all subjects baseball related, and sometimes not, than I have ever had.
Unfortunately, Mr. McCosky chose to attack an entire nation of bloggers using a shaky and unjustified rationale:
Journalism employs trained professionals. We actually have to go to school for this stuff. We take our jobs seriously. There are rules and standards that we are beholden to. There are ethics involved. We actually talk to, in person, the people we write about. If we rip somebody in an article, you best be sure most of us will confront that person the next day and take whatever medicine we need to take.
I do not find the positives of a true journalist present in this very piece and maybe Chris feels more open to spout off since he doesn’t have to look any of the bloggers, whom he is demeaning, in the face. He failed to show the ethics and training he learned and most of all he failed to make convincing point at all. Even though Mr. McCosky has failed to make the case for his profession, journalists do play a very important role.
I, as I am not a paid writer, am unable to attend every Detroit Tiger game. (Though I do attend many games as McCosky alleges doesn’t happen.) I do not have open access to interview players and don’t have a relationship with them to gather information. I rely on and trust beat writers and other journalists for this information but my, and other blog writers, opinions are formed on more than this information. My opinions and ideas cannot be written off simply because my degree is not in Journalism and because my paycheck does not come from the writing I do here.
Fortunately, Mr. McCoskys’ opinion appears to be in the minority of even other journalists. Though he does seem to be firmly in the group of writers who should be worried about this newer media unless he changes his perspective.
For other opinions, I suggest you read the well written rebuttal by Bill Ferris, of the Detroit Tiger Weblog, on Mr. McCosky’s rant.