Thumbing Down The Thumbing Down Story

So you want to know why I thought the McGregor article sucked?

Here’s just one example:

“What the national game needs is more “hockey outsiders” not beholden to the minutiae dispensers. And what all sports needs is more old-fashioned storytelling.

Tell us about the players, please. Tell us how the game is being played. We actually don’t care all that much about minor trades or whether the suspension is four games or six, or how the contract has an average cap hit of $X-million a year. A couple of good insiders can handle that role; it doesn’t take an entire network to chase.”

The games needs more outsiders? Hello??? How many hockey writers are there that you follow? Isn’t that exactlty whar we have today?

What he’s missing is one of the reasons for what he is calling blackberry journalism. Blogs. No, not like this one. Good ones that deal with sports. What’s happened is that the so called experts have had to label themselves as “insiders” because there are so many alternatives out there to what there used to be. Think about it. On a daily basis how many blogs do you read on sports vs. traditional media outlets? There are so many great outlets that create the exact kind of content he claims that we are missing.

Those outlets never existed before. In Toronto alone with the Leafs, Raptors, Jays there are tons of quality blogs which offer the exact type of content that he speaks of. His article ignores that completely.

Furthermore, he may think that we don’t care about minor trades or suspensions, but take a look at popular websites, call in shows and tweets and see just how much activity those types of secondary stories garner.

The reality is that because of modern technology schmucks like me have a voice. Those so called experts get labelled insiders because that’s what they have to hold on to. It’s not so mush their expert opinions as it is their insider information. I mean no disrespect to many of them, but truth be told do you really care about their opinion or more about the information they have?

Honestly ask yourself, when an insider tells you about a rumor do you want to know what he is hearing or what his opinion is? My hunch is that while some may say both, the reality is there are a ton of outlets for opinion. The pressure is on the MSMers to break the stories, to have access to insider information that others don’t have.

Again, just my opinion but the article is off base and out of touch and that’s just one reason. Technology has greatly improved the menu that we have to choose from as sports fans.


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November 8, 2011 10:52 am

While technology has improved the menu it has done nothing to improve the food on the menu. It has in fact made it worse, much worse which I believe is the point of his essay.

November 8, 2011 11:11 am

To me the biggest problem is all the cross-over of the media that has taken place over the past 5 years or so. Case in point the tving (if that is a word) fo radio and how it seems every writer is now a radio and/or tv personality. Because if this it seems that the “heard first on/at …” has dumbed down the media and exponentially it seems in sports media.
Only a few guys have the ability to pull off multiple genres with someone like Damian Cox who used to be a compenatnt writer who is now mediocre in print, on TV and simply now unlistenable on radio.
Frankly I don’t want more information, but rather higher quality and accurate commentaries. Will that happen? Highly doubtful as our me-first society steam full blast ahead in creating new and different ways to spraed the word — either truthful, honest or not.

November 8, 2011 11:49 am

Great post tsm, I didn’t think you even needed to explain this as it seems so obvious, but apparently others needed this to see why the article was so silly.

If you can’t find quality articles, blogs, etc on the major teams in this market, you ar either really lazy or just inept. The fact that there is so much more content available DOES mean there is tons of quality out there, and if you can’t find it that’s your problem.

Perhaps the challenge is that today the onus is on you to sift through the riff raff and find the good content, rather than it being directly fed to your by the MSM.

Or maybe some people, perhaps the older generation, can’t get over the stereotype that blogs and the like aren’t quality, opinion/story driven content.

I don’t personally require someone work for the MSM to have a strong opinion or well written argument. And actually as tsm says the MSM is often more useful for their insider information, the majority anyway.

Lately the only radio ive been consistently listening to is PTS, and less commonly hockey central. And mainly for the entertainment factor, I can make my own opinions on stuff for the most part.

Lee (Oakville)
Lee (Oakville)
November 8, 2011 12:33 pm

In my opinion, we are living in a golden age of journalism, albeit in a different form than the MSM is used to. The democratization of media has allowed diverse voices to be heard and has provided the forum for instantaneous commentary and reaction from all readers. It is unsurprising that many old-school journalists, used to an information and opinion monopoly, are uncomfortable in this new reality.For McGregor to be critical of the new media is admission of his inability to adapt.

Where I find a huge gap in Canadian media is in the area of investigative sports journalism. Where are the reporters digging up BALCO-like stories about possible HGH use in the NHL? The most recent example of this gap is when Tyler Dellow (full-time lawyer, part-time hockey blogger) uncovered the infamous Colin Campbell e-mails strongly hinting at conflicts of interest. The reaction of the MSM? Damien Cox went apoplectic for, well, breaking the story that his team should have written.

The rapid spread of the blogs is testament to the true intrerest that sports fans have in alternative and multiple opinions, statistics and a modern approach to viewing sports. What the MSM mainly does is provide us with lazy, predictable writing that does not change from one decade to the next.

Just my 2 cents.

November 8, 2011 3:13 pm

Honestly, I don’t think the article is drivel. With the exception of the masturbation thread I think it raises some valid points some of which have often been debated here.

I see it as asking some pointed questions about the balance. Has it swung to far in “get it first and fast versus get it right, inside insight versus objective analysis and storylines versus reporting. To what extent has the advent of technology impacted that pendulum?

Speed kills in the quest to always be first if you don’t get it right. Cox, DiGuilio and Brunt have taken heat for this in these very same “pages”. One ultimately proving right; the others not so much. Is there just too much focus on getting it first?

The insider/outsider likewise has been debated. TSN has, at times, been excoriated in comments given its closeness to the NHL with all its insiders. They took all kinds of flack with their response to the Jets story. At what point does all this inside activity lose objectivity and become an extension of the league it covers?

Television and the 10 second clip has done as much to push out story telling as anything in social media and the net. There are still great sources to be found as I confess I start with the online sites for papers largely for their reports and opinion pieces. I don’t see a lot of in depth work on line is that because investigative journalists and writers are replaced by the news service reporter and opinions of the columnist/blogger?

In my opinion the pendulum is not so much skewed but swinging in a different direction. Technology has changed giving visibility to good and bad one hell of a lot faster and to a much wider audience. I don’t know the answers to the questions, but then I am not sure I did when they were first posed a number of years ago either.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
November 9, 2011 12:42 pm

Only a few guys have the ability to pull off multiple genres with someone like Damian Cox who used to be a competent writer who is now mediocre in print, on TV and simply now unlistenable on radio.

I see I’m not the only one. Plus he’s so unlikeable.

Brunt, by the way, pulls it off. Mike Farer too.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
November 9, 2011 12:43 pm

“Only a few guys have the ability to pull off multiple genres with someone like Damian Cox who used to be a competent writer who is now mediocre in print, on TV and simply now unlistenable on radio.”

I see I’m not the only one. Plus he’s so unlikeable.

Brunt, by the way, pulls it off. Mike Farber too.

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