Seen & Heard – Media Roundtable

October 8th, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Media Roundtable
business of sports

photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail


Good morning sports media watchers and sports fans. It's hard to believe how exhilarating the last two years have been after so many years of suffering in Toronto. Jays, Raptors, and even the Leafs are providing landmark moments for a city that has had so little to celebrate for the btter part of a generation. Let's enjoy this.


This week we are taking a break from our usual format to host another media roundtable. We have done a couple in the past: one on anonymity and one on the relationship between fandom and journalism.


If have not read those ones, go check them out. Seriously, some of the comments on HNIC/Strombo are really interesting in retrospect. Also, Down Goes Brown's comments on bloggers who go mainstream are timelessly great. Thanks to everyone who participated in the past. I am hoping to make these a regular thing going forward.


Roundtable: Journalism & Twitter


In a previous column we broached the topic Twitter etiquette when bad things happen to good people. Many had strong feelings about this subject, both on the site and in private correspondence. We also recently debated whether it is appropriate for sports media to use their work-verified accounts to talk about non-sports topics. 


In order to continue the discussion I reached out to a few people in the media to find out how constant and instant audience interaction has affected how they do their jobs. Today we welcome the following esteemed group to TSM, representing a range of employers, media platforms, and backgrounds:


Richard Deitsch (SI)

Arash Madani (Sportsnet)

Bruce Arthur (The Star)

Michael Grange (Sportsnet)

Andi Petrillo (TSN)


Here is our conversation:


Q: In an ideal world, how would Twitter enhance or complement your work as a reporter/journalist?


Richard Deitsch: The best of Twitter is a two-fold proposition: First, I find it to be the single best aggregation source I’ve ever used. The ability to customize my news consumption, to have the best journalists and news outlets in the world come directly into my inbox in real-time, has made me a much better news consumer. As a distribution engine, it has allowed me to get my work to an infinitely bigger audience than merely through the channels provided by my employer. I don’t think you need to put the caveat of ideal here. Twitter has greatly enhanced my work as a journalist.


Bruce Arthur: Connect me to really good work that other people do; allow me to better understand how fans think; give me an idea how people respond to my work, make me laugh, make me think, distract me when I can't figure out what in the hell the next sentence is. It does many of these things. 


Michael Grange: Well, in many ways it already does. It has some drawbacks but mostly it is simply an incredible tool: a constant, real-time feed of news, opinion, video and longform journalism from all over the world that was simply not accessible even 10 years ago. We take it for granted but if you take one step back it is kind of a miracle. The best Twitter users are amazing fact-checkers and editors and very funny. It is also a great source of instant feedback — often positive — which can be very gratifying. Being called a moron once in a while is a relatively small price to pay. 


Andi Petrillo: I use Twitter to reach out to the public to promote my work. Promoting my work can be done in different ways: informing my followers of a show I'm on, an event I'm at, and tweeting out information about a particular game or athlete.  I also follower other reporters who do the same because they offer knowledge of sports in other markets that I can use. Sometimes offering up a peak into my personal life…eg. Photos of my family, me on vacation, etc. …can help my followers feel more connected to me, like I'm a buddy they can talk sports with. 


Arash Madani: In an ideal world, Twitter can be a complement to the work we present on-air. There’s so much decent content that hits the cutting room floor, and social media could be a vehicle to present the rest of the interview/story/clip that didn’t quite make the piece that aired. When working as a sideline reporter, I try to take the story further on Twitter – past the 15-25 seconds at my disposal when doing an in-game hit. But with only 140 characters, it often would require two or three tweets to properly provide the additional details – which few would actually follow. So perhaps a way to get more characters would help in that regard.


Q: Twitter allows members of the media more easily to talk to each other, as well as to the athletes/executives they cover. Has Twitter opened up new professional relationships for you, or would you have forged those relationships regardless?


MG: I'd say yes. I've met/networked with other journos and kept up other relationships in between travel assignments. For a Canadian covering a primarily US-based sport it's helped erase the border, in a sense. Other NBA writers/journos have access to my work and vice-versa and the familiarity has reduced the 'distance'. I've reached out to interview subjects online many times with good success. I guess pre-Twitter/social media/Internet I was able to meet people, interact and interview people so it's not like these are new developments, but it seems faster/simpler now. Also, Twitter gives subjects a really fast way to vet me … # of followers, where I work. My background pic is a shot of me doing a sit down with Steph Curry … I would guess (but don't know) that someone I reach out to for the first time might see that and figure I have some credibility, but who knows. 


RD: Twitter has opened up more professional relationships than I can count. It’s helped me connect with subjects, sources, readers. Specific to your question, Twitter has helped eliminate what is often an impediment for journalists – the many handlers subjects have. If someone is following me, say a producer at a major cable sports network, I will often contact them directly through Twitter and spell out why I would like to talk to them. This saves an immense amount of time, establishes trust from the jump, and often makes for better and richer stories. 


AM: It has opened up new professional relationships, often with folks from other cities. When you end up following like-minded people, who understand the industry, whose work you have a mutual respect for, it has led to conversations being opened up. It’s also a common ground to discuss some of their work you’ve seen lately to discuss. Twitter, remarkably, has also opened up doors to athletes. I’d say there are a couple of dozen athletes who are now in my Rolodex because of it. Truthfully, I’m not sure if these relationships would (or would not have) occurred without social media. But it certainly has helped.


AP: Twitter has connected me with other people.  I've had other journalists reach out to me and ask for interviews, and they probably would never have gotten a hold of me if they hadn't reached out through Twitter. I've also had journalism students reach out through twitter, and I've been able to offer advice.


BA: It's definitely opened up new relationships. Twitter allows you to project your voice, and a lot of people I meet in the business feel like they know me already. True story: the first thing I do is apologize for all the nonsense on Twitter.


Q: If Twitter wrote an algorithm that automatically blocked one kind of tweet, which would it be?


MG: Ha! Well, beyond the obvious (racist, sexist, homophobic; cruel and/or crude) which are obvious blocks, I'd say the Twitter habits that can rankle are : 1) Being asked what channel the game is on 2) Having people think I'm their personal journalist working only for them 3) People who are — vaguely — kind of jerks/uncivil. Not really worth blocking but seem to enjoy trying to get a rise out of you. I would say that the vast majority of interactions are positive and well-intended. Bad apples get way too much attention and skew the overall picture. 


BA: Oooh, good question. Trump voters? People who yell, 'who cares?' Or 'slow news day?' Definitely not 'stick to sports.' That one makes me laugh every time. There is a lot of muck on Twitter, which I think is one of the service's big problems. (Blocking third-party apps is also on this list.) So if I had to say, I'd say the worst of the worst: The alt-right, Gamergatin', MRA trolls. I've found manual blocks also work, though.


AM: The level of racist stuff I get is off the charts. I’m all for having all the opinions in the world, but some of the vitriol that comes my way is ridiculous. 


AP: The insulting and demeaning ones.


RD: Easy. Twitter has a problem policing hate speech — the truly repulsive racist, sexist, xenophobic stuff that trolls hit people with every day. It can make the place a cesspool at times. The ease which to sign up for Twitter makes this impossible to eradicate in full but Twitter has been so lax at policing stuff for so long that they have likely lost a ton of former users. They have pledged to make the service a better place. We’ll see. 


Q: What is something you wish media didn’t do on Twitter?


AP: While I understand Twitter can be a great way for people to showcase their humour, a part of them that can sometimes be stifled in their writing/reporting, I feel some media try too hard to be funny, and do so at the expense of athletes. Twitter is still a public platform and a level of decorum and professionalism should be respected. 


MG: Tweet about college football all Saturday? Bring too much attention to clowns (vs. ignoring them more often)? Not copping out but I can't really think of a blanket-type issue.


RD: I’m not one to set rules for media people or anyone else on Twitter. And I’ve definitely been part of some dumb media-on-media Twitter fights. But I will say that those who constantly re-tweet people praising their work (I’m not talking about the occasional re-tweet but a daily drumbeat) really come off amateur. 


BA: Stop retweeting compliments, everybody. People can be really nice, and that is so very appreciated. I appreciate every kind word that is sent my way. I have never retweeted one. That's, like, two dozen compliments.


AM: Retweet compliments. We’re all grown ass men and women. No need for that.


Q: In the long ago people had to write emails to media to comment on their work. In the long long ago people had to handwrite letters to the editor when they had a problem. All things considered – the good & the bad – would you choose to go back to a system where the audience had to put in more than 140 characters of work in order to interact with you?


BA: I still get e-mails and very occasional letters. Very enjoyable, except for when I wonder if they're full of poison. But at least the old way, the racists and the sexists had to put some investment into it.


AP: Too often people flippantly tag someone's employer when they want to make a derogatory comment.  Thankfully, many employers don't take what they read on Twitter very seriously.  Even when it comes to compliments. The proof is always in the ratings, they don't need to go through Twitter. If someone was forced to take the time to write something and go through the trouble of mailing it, then you know they truly disagree with something or really like something.  However, much of my radio show is about reading instant reaction to the topics I'm discussing, and that's something I enjoy.  I guess I don't mind both, after all, there's always the 'mute' or 'block' button I could use on twitter! Lol


RD: No. I like the transparency of Twitter because it provides feedback in real-time. But readers/listeners/viewers can still comment in longer form to media in a number of ways. They can do it on their own platforms and send that link via social media. They can comment on a media person’s website (at least those who work at digital operations that still have a comment section). And they can still write that old-fashioned letter. In 2016 the reader/listener/viewer has much more power to offer feedback because they can create a distribution system with relative ease to offer that feedback.  


AM: There are some messages I receive, and wonder, ‘what if his/her boss read that?’ Would that person say these things out loud, to one’s face? The days of handwritten letters are gone. The new age and world we live in is not going anywhere. But the issue with some of the correspondence (that goes offside) is that there’s rarely any accountability. Imagine someone’s employer could be cc’d on those interactions? Listen, not all feedback is bad, and often there are great points and fun (140 character) conversations shared. Some common ground met, some laughs shared. But then, as Brent Musburger once called it, those occupying the bathroom walls of the Internet emerge, and you really wonder how the mouth-breathers pay their bills every month.


MG: Not a chance. I am way better off professionally thanks to Twitter, it's not even close. 


Further Thoughts


Firstly thanks to everyone for participating and for their thoughtful answers. Second, it is nice to hear that despite all the negativity around Twitter professionals still are able to find value in it. This gives me hope that something better than Twitter will eventually replace the current model. If Twitter wants to hang on to its user base then I encourage them to come up with a system whereby users can be flagged as Verified Trolls™ based on their recent body of work. There's just no reason for anyone to see those tweets.


On to the conversation. I have a few general thoughts prompted by the answers given.


1) Bruce says in an ideal world Twitter "allow[s] me to better understand how fans think."


In an ideal world he's right: a good and responsible use of Twitter by media would be to use it to take the pulse of the fanbase.


However, some media are prone to cherry picking: they will focus on the dumbest of the dumb tweets and then use that to set up a talking point. (I wrote about this a while ago). This is the lowest hanging fruit in our non-ideal world, and it's a massive crutch. You can always find someone saying something idiotic on Twitter. It doesn't represent the fanbase anymore than the beer thrower represents the other 50,000 people at the dome that night. By framing your point with "some fans on Twitter are saying …" you are forcing the entire audience to engage with the worst and least widely held opinions out there. Why would you do that? 


Lesson: As Grange notes, we all need to be better at ignoring dumb tweets. And we need to refrain from generalizing about what "fans" think based on the rantings from the lunatic fringe.


2) Deitsch says: "The best Twitter users are amazing fact-checkers and editors."


This is one of the things I really like about social media and public reader feedback in general. When someone gets something wrong then there is a quick and easy way to point out the need for a correction. And if the correction is not made quickly then anyone who sees the story or clicks on the tweet will also see dozens of people pointing out the mistake. 


The problem with this is that it is not the reader's job to be an editor or a fact-checker. Those jobs already exist. As we see positions being cut from media there are fewer quality-control resources available for writers/reporters. At the same time those same people are being asked to be their own photographers and video producers. The trend is worrying: work that is an essential aspect of good journalism is being outsourced to the audience. 


Upshot: Twitter contributes to "trial and error" journalism, since if you don't get something right the first time then you can always delete the tweet and post a fresh one with a new link to a corrected story. That's not a good result for anyone.


3) No one with a mainstream sports audience seems to enjoy racist, sexist, or just generally hateful abuse.


Who would have thought?  


I understand that moderation is a hard job to do in a consistent manner. We struggle with that here and we have a small number of active participants. (Aside — Jonah and I can see the number of people who read our posts. Why don't the rest of you people join the discussion?) 


We certainly don't make everyone happy but we mostly manage to keep discussion on the rails by drawing a line between comments that plausibly contribute to the discussion — even if they are infected with invective — and ones that are just insults. I have no idea why it is so hard for Twitter to draw a similar line. 


Predictions: 1) celebrities and other valued accounts will eventually start to shine a spotlight on Twitter's indifference to abusive speech, 2) countries with hate speech laws (e.g. Canada) will continue to adjust their statutes to make it easier to pursue criminal and civil actions against Twitter and its users. That won't be good for business.


4) Everyone wants to know how their work is being received.


This is just human nature. However, no one wants to be attacked. That's also human nature.


This can lead to the sometimes very public result of people in the media wanting to hear good things but not bad things about their work. I suspect that is why some are prone to retweeting compliments and others will block any critical feedback regardless of its merits or substance. When you curate your Twitter feed in this way it reinforces the positive and drowns out the negative. 


Practical Advice: 1) If you think someone sucks it's probably best to say nothing to them about it. If that just isn't going to happen, consider taking the time to explain why the work — not the person — sucks. 2) All of us benefit from constructive criticism. Blocking people who are not being hateful or abusive makes you look insecure, thin-skinned, and petty.


Those are just a few thoughts based off the roundtable. Once again a huge thanks to Bruce, Michael, Arash, Richard, and Andi for helping us continue the critically important conversation of how to make Twitter better than its current deplorable self.


Over to you: How can we all work together to make Twitter either: a) disappear or b) less of an embarrassing chapter in the history of human industry?




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)



  1. Forgot to add: happy thanksgiving everyone. 


    p.s. – in case you're not sure, the comment below this one is from Nelson Millman, long time PD for the FAN590.

  2. Nelson says:

    Great column with people I have great respect for.

    Twitter was, more or less, in it's infancy when I was at THE FAN 590.  As I look back on it from 6 years beyond I'm somewhat thankful that it wasn't mainstream.  It's not because I was concerned about being ripped for decisions about programming or promotions or the on-air talent. Or told "you guys suck" and should all be fired.  It's because you can't have REAL discourse with people.  

    I tried to respond to every listener email and phone call, whether it was a complaint or a compliment.  I would often call people who emailed me, because again, electronic communication, doesn't provide any way to get to really know your this case listeners.  

    I always felt that anyone who took the time to reach out to me, deserved a response.  I often had heated discussions with listeners, but at the end we were both grateful to have had a chance to present our ideas.  I didn't try to change people's opinions about the station, because opinions are never wrong.  All I could do is present and explain why we did things the way we did.  But I could do it knowing that my words wouldn't be misconstrued by the 140 character limit.

    As a tool Twitter can be fantastic…and the people in the media have figured out how to make it work(mostly) to enhance their work.  As a brand builder( or brand killer) the media have made the most of the platform.  Instant, confirmed, information has been a tremendous boon to all of us.  We can follow along with almost everything in real time.  

    But in an age of communication I've never figured out how to actually communicate in 140 characters.  Of course many people say I can't say hello in less than 5 minutes.


    Old Man Yelling at Cloud


  3. Darcy says:

    Wow, only took Arthur the second question to bring up Trump. That's gotta be a new record.

  4. Ben says:

    lol, Arthur gets in another political kick at the can. Muted.

  5. Warren says:

    @Nelson – thanks for your comments. It is oddly rare that businesses would actually want to know what their customers think. And actually want to try to please them on an individual level. Kudos to you for acting in a business context in the way our parents taught us to solve problems – by actually listening and talking.

    Personally, I love the 'news feed' aspect of twitter, but would be saddened if it takes away the actual human contact that Nelson  describes.

    Mike, I am one of the people who visits regularly and posts rarely. I appreciate your ecouragement and will post a little more often.

  6. GreyCountyMike says:

    The author's comments about some media members "cherry picking" from Twitter are spot-on. When they cull Twitter for "public opinion" and then use that to frame a story or just lash out, they are being either lazy or disingenuous … or both.

  7. GreyCountyMike says:

    On a somewhat related note, should media members be held to a higher standard than "average Joes" even when they are off the clock? I ask this in light of the Ken Pagan story.

  8. steve w says:

    "If you think someone sucks"

    Those 5 words, more or less, just seem to be beyond the grasp of so many twitter users. Just don't follow – it's as easy as not listening to on-air personalities you don't like.

    Much along the lines of Deitch's comments about twitter, twitter enables me to consume exactly what I want, from who I want, when it becomes available. There's no need for me to rely on information from journos that I don't respect, or from journos who create content that is nothing but puff pieces or bad click bait – lessons learned.

    No need to follow bad journos, and I don't feel a need to explain why I don't follow them or read their content, particularly so as I may be in the minority.  That said, I waste no time offering a, "well written", response to a journo, and/or re-tweeting said article/link or comment.

    Deitch & Grange are two journos that I have "re-tweeted" often, and have interacted with many times. It's this experience and interaction that makes twitter, time well spent.

    Couldn't agree more with MIB & Grey County Mike's comments on cherry picking, justifies not following, an unfollow, and/or in some cases, a block, of select journos that thrive on going through the motions. 


  9. billyjoejimbob says:

    I wonder if the Sportsnet guys will get their phone records checked for participating



  10. Tighthead says:

    If you are paid to cover sports and can't find the Cubs-Giants on TV, or blame Sportsnet for not showing it, don't tweet about it. Curmudgeonly boomers aren't as charming as they like to think. 

  11. Jackson says:

    If you think journalists are simply using twitter to ‘cull’ for the type of comments they want, why would you waste a second of your time reading them? Why give them the click.

    I’ll never understand why people hate read, hate watch or hate listen to shows and bitch about it online later. If you say you done like something, why watch/listen/read it again? That lacks logic

  12. Tighthead says:

    I will say that I used to follow a couple of guys – Bruce Dowbiggin being one – who drove me nuts.

    One day I just unfollowed them, and life went on. Maybe once a month I check in on one of them and it affirms my decision. Made Twitter better for me.

  13. Active Listener John says:

    What I find interesting is the variation in # of tweets and # of followers. Andi has 70,000 followers on the basis of only 7,000 tweets, while Madani has 43,000 tweets but just 33,000 followers to show for all that tweeting.


    It's even worse when you start to go down the depth chart …. Walker has 45,000 tweets and only 14,000 followers …. Ben Eniis has 35,000 tweets for his 7,000 followers and Cauz has 46,000 tweets for his 6,000 followers. Walker's co-host Bunkis has 12,000 tweets for 1700 followers.


    Dean Blundell wins for only having only 300 tweets for his 82,000 followers. That's how it's done.

  14. James says:

    Let's hold off on the Blundell praise. You do know he deleted every single tweet of his existence prior to joining the Fan.  He deleted all the offensive tweets (and there were many) using words to offend people of different races, sexualities, and otherwise.  And, does he tweet about sports a lot?  No.  But you wouldn't either if you were so lacking sports knowledge.  That's not exactly worthy of praise.

    His jokes about suicide of former NHL players live on on YouTube though.

    And of course the famous thing that got him fired where he was playing a "shock jock" and he makes 38 jokes about anal sex.  This was less than 3 years ago, so I'm sure he's matured like Donald Trump has.

  15. Original Mitch says:

    Twitter followers are currency and any journalist has a serious vested interested in having more. It’s amazing that while SN boasts about being number 1 in Canada, their reporters and anchors generally speaking have FAR fewer followers than that of TSN. Really demonstrates the actually popularity of the stations, ie currency. Someone like Ken Reid and Evanka Osmak, who are literally the faces of that network have so few twitter followers compared to the rest it’s remarkable. You can force feed us that “talent” on our tvs because we want highlights have no choice, but you can’t force a follow on Twitter and that’s where you really get a sense of how things adtually are in the broadcasting landscape.

  16. Original Mitch says:

    Quick reference: Osmak 29k
    Hedger: 69k
    Bierness: 140k!!!!

  17. Matty Zero says:

    I love the term 'lunatic fringe'. I think there is a band named after it, as well.

  18. edge says:

    Anyone else notice this?

    Jamie and Greg are doing a live hit at the end of the third inning, and multiple times Jamie says the score is 3-1 when it is in fact 5-2.  They missed both the Rangers scoring and the Blue Jays scoring.  WTF?  That's inexplicable.  Lousy, Sportsnet.  Lousy.

  19. Jesse says:


  20. Silvio says:

    Got to agree with Andi Petrillo about tagging employers in tweets. If you want to try to get someone in trouble at least take the time to write an email with your own name attached.

  21. Ron H says:

    As someone who is never home in time to watch/listen to Tim & Sid, WOW. Unwatchable. It’s a shame that Sportsnet personalities are all buddy buddy with the Blue Jays, or at least talk as if they are…..

  22. windsor oldtimer says:

    Any oldtimers remember the 70’s when NBA finals were tape delayed untill 1130? Or the 90’s when no ESPN programming was shown in Canada? Well now it’s 2016 and 75 percent of Canadians can’t see some MLB playoff games!! WOW!! Is it any wonder android boxes are now a thing? And more and more cut the chord!!

  23. Cirroc says:

    @Ron H.  Absolutely unwatchable.  I flicked it on today and lasted about 45 seconds.

  24. robinauroa says:

    There is honestly nothing on Sportsnet that is worth watching. I am even happy that we get the American broadcast of Jays games. (The Hazel Mae and Buck interruptions add no value. Just stop those please)…

    …by the way, Ron MacLean is right back at it again. He’s assuming that he’s the reason we watch hnic. Next we’ll hear him reciting obtuse song lyrics before the games start. Well, ill admit that he is an upgrade over George and the yogapant suits.

  25. Ron H says:

    I’m with you @RobInAurora. I prefer the American telecast. I enjoy listening to scenarios in certain situations. I enjoy hearing what the hitters approach at the plate is going to be.

    With all due respect to Buck & Tab, I’m sure other teams share what they saw at the plate with the dugout. I’m sure other starting pitchers have confidence in thier team.

    So refreshing to listen to a “neutral” telecast.

  26. peterman says:

    Twittter is here to stay and I love it. No one forces you to use and that goes double for people in the media. Block all you want but know that you come across as a douche when you do it to avoid criticism. Lots of people seem to want to criticize others on twitter but can't handle it coming back the other way.

  27. Tighthead says:

    Does Simmons tweeting about the soda machine and lack of spread for the media win the tone deaf tweet of the week? It does sound cheap, but nobody is going to feel sorry for you. 

    The Ron Maclean "Saturdays are special" ad is terrible, as is the Burke one. Burke is given far too much reverence from the media. I agree with Robin above. I'll look forward to David Amber playing it straight and setting up others to speak, while I endure Ron constantly reminding us that he is the smartest kid in the class. 

  28. Rick in Barrie says:

    Excellent write up. I'll admit after not being a huge fan originally…Andi P. has grown on me. Great read.

    I have to whole heartedly agree with Deitsch (and others)…those who are constantly re-tweeting people praising their own work is amateur and needs to stop. Looking at you Sportsnet!

  29. Sam In Scarb says:

    @ Ron H & Cirroc  agree 100 % re Tim/Sid.

    Usta listen on radio..good afternoon hosts who would also be an asset as a morning show duo.

    TV show was almost un-watchable a year ago and somehow it managed to get worse,thank gawd for Cheers reruns that I have seen 10 times over and still are more interesting.

    Chalk another one up to the owner of the station and the suits that Effffed that one up good !!



  30. Antonio says:

    Interesting comments. Its funny how Arthur and Dietsch are on this. They both are people who need to grow thicker skin. Way too sensitive and quick to block anyone who disagrees with them. I agree there's no room for personal insults but if someone takes an opposing view, bam, they're blocked by those two.

  31. robinauroa says:

    Using Burke to advertise hockey night is a joke. He is hated in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s 2 largest markets. He’s torally disrespected in Quebec, and he’s a flame exec so Edmonton fans hate him. Good call on that one. I guess no other execs would touch that slot, but Burke never met a mic he didn’t want to have a one night stand with marry.

  32. robinauroa says:

    (I’m typing on a phone….sorry for the premature post)… Basically I was saying, (or trying to say):”Burke hasn’t met a microphone he didn’t fall in love with”. I’m sure he sits around thinking up clever phrases to use in his interviews..It is so fitting that he advertises for Rogers. I hate everything about Sportsnet and I can’t stand Burke….It simply reaffirms my disdain for both of them.

    …HNIC will be better without George (addition by subtraction) how much remains to be seen.

  33. Cirroc says:


    Couldn't agree more.  I'm pretty ambivalent towards Burke, but all of your points are well taken.  Sportsnet just keeps proving over and over how tone deaf they are when it comes to what the fans want. Maybe I don't see enough commercials, but so far I've only seen Ron and Burke promoting the Saturday night game.  No commercials featuring the players?  

  34. Bill in Sask says:

    Cool group of people, and great to see people from TSN and Sportsnet talking to each other. Pretty interesting that the two people who tweet the most about politics also have the hugest number of followers (Deitsch and Arthur).


    Who is coming up on the next roundtable? I'd love to hear Mike Wilner and MacArthur and Griff and Cathal Kelly on the Jays.

  35. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    @Bill in Sask

    ANYONE but Wilner – I couldn't imagine a roundtable with that cementhead going on and on with 'I told you so' forever – That jerk is a dial turner for me no matter who they would pair him with –

  36. Steve Clark says:

    I am surprised more has not been made of this statement by Arash Madani: 

     The level of racist stuff I get is off the charts. I’m all for having all the opinions in the world, but some of the vitriol that comes my way is ridiculous. 


    • me too.


      I guess part of me wants to believe that this is rare and comes from obviously deranged people. But I suspect that the practice of throwing around racist comments is far too common with certain people.

  37. MontfromLondonOnt says:


    No doubt racism exists but these days a lot of what is considered racist is in the eye of the beholder – An awful lot of people go around looking to be offended –

    • Tighthead says:

      If people are tweeting at Arash Madani about his race, I would imagine in all but a very few circumstances is is a) irrelevant and b) racist.

  38. Cirroc says:

    Speaking of racism, how about Arthur going off on Al Strachan on twitter calling him a racist?  Strachan may have cast the first stone but them's some pretty strong fightin' words from Brucey.

  39. Ron H says:

    I enjoy reading & listening to Bruce Arthur. But had to unfollow him on Twitter for the constant tweets filling my timeline.

    I could care less if sports media types chime in on current events other than sports. But with over 200K tweets, it just came down to “Twitter Etiquette”, with Bruce.

    I enjoyed bantering with @DamoSpin on topics that we may have disagreed on, but then suddenly I’m blocked? Can honestly say, I never took shots or made things personal?

    I’d be curious to know if these journalists bosses would prefer if they tone down the pissing contest that these guys get into….Arthur/Strachan…..Cox/Simmons….DiManno/Everyone….

  40. Mike V says:

    Strachan’s Twitter feed consists of retweets of pro-Trump memes, “climate fraud” and criticism of anthem protests by NFL players. I’m shocked that there are stories about him mistreating minorities among media members. He presents himself as such a sensible old man online.

  41. Antonio says:

    Arthur needs to take some time off – from twitter and working in general. Anyone who gets that worked up about another person (Rob Ford and now Trump) is not right. He comes accross as an annoying social justice warrior with way too much time on his hands.

    • Steve says:

      I'm shocked that he is still married and has kids considering he must never see or talk to them between working and tweeting.

  42. Ex-Media says:

    I have seen how Twitter has affected the industry and it is not good. When you add up all the good and bad, the bad wins out. Too many media think arguing with fans on twitter or making pithy remarks about the games constitutes good journalistic work. Just look at how much time some of these people spend on Twitter! In my ideal work Twitter wouldn't have a reply function. It's fine as a promotional tool for your actual work. It's terrible as a discussion tool.

  43. GreyCountyMike says:

    No idea if Strachan's accusation the Star has tried to reel in Arthur's Twitter diatribes is true or not. If it is, though, it would make for a great discussion on the heels of MIB's solid post above.

    No doubt, Arthur has an obsessive side he is not shy to share publicly via Twitter. Is it contrived? For his sake, I kinda hope it is.

  44. Original Mitch says:

    I'm guess Tim and Sid are trying to be BFFs with Auston Matthews today?



  45. torontosportsmedia says:

    Sorry folks, been tied up in this, that and the other so didn't get a chance to comment earlier.  First, awesome job conducting the session my Mike.  To the roundtablers, thank a million for participating.  It's certainly not your day job to respond to Mike and I, and you like many MSMers do so willingly and also in a very helpful manner. Much Appreciated.

    Twitter to me has become the essential service.  Whenever anything happens in the world the first place I look is Twitter.  More news stories break on Twitter than anywhere else.  So besides the love I have for the constant interaction it is my primary source for information.

    What is most troubling with it to me is that no one has figured out a way to make Twitter into a viable business. Unlike the newspapers, unlike radio or tv which once were, Twitter has never had a meaningful path to monetization.  Therefore I don't know how it continues.

    I think the powers that be have tried different levers to shake things up but none have worked.

    This is part of the reason why I have urged a sports league or news agency to acquire Twitter.


    Great work all!



  46. Active Listener John says:

    "4) Everyone wants to know how their work is being received."


    I have been thinking about this recently. Obviously certain people in the media care a lot about what readers and listeners think. Some people also care a lot about what other media members think (that is why they can be eassily baited on Twitter).


    But some people seem to not care at all how their work is received. I'm thinking of Sid Sexeiro and Cathal Kelly and to a lesser extent Rosie Dimanno and Richard Griffin. All of these people come across ……. at least to me ……. as completely uninterested in how their work is received. They will think their work is awesome regardless, and even bad press is good press.

  47. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    Just finished listening to PTS – I only listen to the last two hours on Monday and Friday as I am not a fan of call in segments – It was most enjoyable and a fun listen  – They all contributed in a lighthearted way to the roundtable – I believe a lot of it is due to Dave Perkins – He has long been my favourite roundtable guy and today was no exception – Even Cox was tolerable and I have never really minded Shannon – I wish more of the show was like this – They really brought out the best in Bob –

  48. Roy says:

    Can anyone give me a definitive answer, as to why we cannot have Buck and Pat call the playoff games, for the local broadcast? Unless it's Vin Scully, the American PBP broadcasters put me to sleep. Yes TBS owns the rights. What do they gain, from the Canadian audience? We see Canadian ads anyways.  I don't want neutral. I want my broadcasters, to be as excited as me, when our local team succeeds. Same reason I want Joe Bowen doing the TV PBP, for the Leafs. Watching Matthews, score his four goals the other night was exciting. After hearing Joe Bowens goal calls, the next day, on radio, made me lament how much more exciting, the actual live game could have been.

    • Steve G says:

      Because there ARE no local post season MLB telecasts.  They sell the rights to a few networks NA-wide. Plus there is an international feed -or at least was – that Sportsnet has offered in the past.  That was Gary Thorne and Sutcliffe IIRC.  They do allow local radio rights to extend through October of course. 

      It's personal choice, but I've always preferred the contrast of an outside perspective vs. the homer/infomercial local guys. The pro-US whinings that go back at least to Costas in '85 are funny to me. It's been a while since Ron Darling or Cal Ripken Jr. have influenced the outcome of a game. 

  49. dogpounder says:

    Turn on your radio. It’s better than Buck and Pat. Every time.

  50. Ron H says:


    Curious on your thoughts on Buck & Tab. Listening to a bunch of raw raw guys fawning over how committed the Blue Jays are in the batting cage or how the pitching staff supports one another is useless to the viewer.

    Not sure about anyone else, but I’d rather listen to Ron Darling (who I think is outstanding as an analyst), explain pitch selection in certain counts. Cal Ripken, although low key, sharing insights into fielding & positioning.

    That to me is much more exciting in a tight ballgame, then hearing Buck yell for a ball to “get up, get up”.

    Throw in Hazel & Barry Davis & you’d think this team was undefeated. Gregg Zaunn, Richard Griffin, Dave Perkins & Bobcat are whose baseball opinions I respect the most in the media.

    Having said all that….Go Blue Jays! We Believe!

    • Steve Jones says:

      I can't say how much more interesting it is for me to listen to broadcasters analyze a game than it is to hear them cheer for the home team. I don't want cheerleaders I want objective insights into what is happening. 

    • original Mitch says:

      The blue jays in the playoffs is twenty times more enjoyable than regular season for many reasons, one being a neutral broadcast. I can actually watch now and learn things as opposed to listening to those two dummies fawn over the team and provide absolutely zero analysis (said the other day by Pat "Kevin pillar is a ball player". ) 

      maybe it's because it's 162 games and they are former blue jays, but its unwatchable. At least Howarth calls a decent game 

    • Roy says:


      I understand your position. I'm late to the game. I have developed an interest, because my son plays. I learn a lot from Buck's insight. He played and managed, so I think his comments carry some weight. What I really enjoy, is that he supports the Team I support. His excitement, when the Jays have success, adds to the experience for me. Kind of like watching the game, with a friend. Same thing with Joe Bowen and the Leafs. When I am watching my team, I don't want neutral. When I don't have a horse in the race, different story. Darling and his fellow American PBP bretheren, may offer better analysis, than Buck. I don't know. Like I said, I'm no expert. Just want to have fun, watching the games.

  51. Cirroc says:

    Anybody else notice those godawful superimposed ads behind home plate in game 1?  It looked like cheap green screen when the pitcher's arm or the ball would occupy that space.  Sportsnet can find a way to screw anything up.

  52. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    The ads have destroyed TV in general and sports in particular – I NEVER watch TV at home and go to my local for Golf and NFL on Sundays and I am continually amazed how the ads ruin the pace of things – The same goes for PTS(among others) on the radio – About 50 minutes of the 3 hours is lost to ads – I turn PTS off for the 7 or 8 minutes of ads – I don't know what the answer is as I realize somebody has to pay the freight but at least get some new ones –

    • original Mitch says:

      It's a good question when it comes to radio. One of the reason the NFL is so popular is because it's an advertisers dream, with stoppage of play every two minutes. It's one of the reason hockey doesn't truly take in the states (same with soccer). It's why they introduced the tv time out. You can go a long time without a stoppage of play in hockey and advertisers hate that, obviously. 

      As for radio. I think it was Q107 that did 1-minute commercial breaks years ago and I thought that was smart. More breaks, but way less long. I'm shocked at the length of commercials on the Fan, especially since many ads just feel like promotions for their own tv content. It really makes it hard to get into it when breaks appear to be 7-8 minute long 


  53. HB says:

    It's genuinely very complex to listen news on TV, so I just use internet for that reason, and get the newest news.

  54. KD says:

    It kind of feels like members of the media are expected by their fans to tweet out news 24 hours a day 7 days a week these days.  I actually don't feel it's very fair to expect them to be working all the time without getting a break from it all.

  55. mark says:

    Thank you a lot for sharing this

  56. mark says:

    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this
    article together.

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