Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Citizen-Journalist-Fans and Scrutinized Players

True Hoop blogs about rumors surrounding Zach Randolph and marijuana. The story is, in short, that a fan saw Z-Bo in the mall, seemingly toked up on weed and allegedly cursing and making a fool of himself around some children. The fan posts about it on the internet, and it's picked up by the Blazers Blog, which is hosted on, which is owned by The Oregonian - the biggest paper in the state.

True Hoop's Henry Abbott wonders if this is the basketblogosphere at its best or worst. I'm conflicted as well - I'm all for personal privacy. People in all walks of life should be able to keep to themselves if they so choose.

But if an athlete is doing unsavory things in public - ruffing up people, sexually harassing people, raping people, going puff-puff-pass, driving drunk or just being a damn fool - should fans care?

Obviously, yes. The fans are the ones paying a whole lot to root for a team - buying a team's apparel, going to games, devoting significant portions of their life to watching and reading about a set of athletes. Anything an athlete does off the court - whether it impairs his training or performance, lands him in the clink, or makes him a less than satisfactory role model - should be fair game for fans. Seriously, do you want to buy your kid a Randolph jersey after reading the above rumor? Probably not.

But beat writers aren't going to cover that stuff. It's impossible - beat writers no doubt know who smokes, who drinks too much and who is a jackass out on the town. But no beat writer is willing to alienate the people he sees daily for eight months out of the year just to get the gossip train going. No beat writer is that stupid.

Enter the internet. Sports bloggers right now, save maybe Blez at Athletics Nation and a few basketbloggers who've worked in the business in some other fashion, have virtually zero access to players and team officials. Bloggers, as a sort of independent media (which may be overstating it in most cases), have no one to answer to.

The Maloofs aren't running ads on this site, so I don't have to worry about revenue disappearing if I post an item on a player allegedly walking around Arden Fair high on dope. Peja Stojakovic isn't granting me interviews (not that I've asked for one, though), so I wouldn't worry about future access if I post a rumor spreading around the city about him.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to post those things, either. It's a choice each blogger, who all have their own biases and standards for discourse on their own site, will have to make. Blazers Blog and True Hoop chose to address the rumor, and in much different ways. I don't know whether I would have or not had it been a Kings player. It'll probably be situational.

Now that my soapbox is collapsing under the weight of my own head, I'll quickly leave a couple of links that are good resources on the citizen-journalist movement: the Wikipedia article on it,'s best practices and the home for the Institute for Interactive Journalism.


Anonymous dave said...

The Warriors have mentioned the possibility of granting me a press pass to the practice facility next season. Because of that, I'm not entirely sure about the type of content that I should be posting. I don't want to become an apologist, but I don't want to write something that comes to bite me in the rear.

I'll probably just stick with Dunleavy bashing. No one likes him anyway.

12:06 AM  
Blogger pookeyguru said...

btw tim so u know im a big poster on the site elephants in oakland a favorite critical site of the a's of mine. that being said blez is also an excellent writer who happens to be an ex sports writer & an avid fan of my beloved elephants. & the great thing about blogs (im sure blez would tell u this) is that to each his/her own. There was a big post with susan slusser & her various opinions (many of which i heavily disagree with..particularily about eric chavez lol) the other day. No other bloggers would have A talken to a beat writer of slusser's ummm stature & b no other blogger basically would have beaten that same writer to the punch (her next column the day after was essentially the same stuff on AN..i know as an avid a's/kings fan i know i cant expect the bee to cover the a's to my satisfaction). Either way as a fan i love the cynicism of elephants in oakland but i also love its a critical site with a purpose. AN is a hardcore a's fan site with a tendency to be bias toward the a's. I like that too. As i said to each his own. Blez is clearly 1 of the rarity's in the bloggers world. 1 of these days ill tell him that on AN.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:15 AM  

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Tom Ziller

The Sacramento Kings are a tough act to follow, literally.

SKB does the dirty work so you can forget about the blood, sweat and tears.

Oh, you'll still need the tears in April, though.

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