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Media has changed, but Golf isn't as bad as other sports!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

OK, full disclosure, I have a degree in Journalism, and spent 3 years as a sports writer before moving on to the wonderfully fulfilling world of Education. 

 

But something happened yesterday that made me realize how much I truly hate today's media. At the NFL owner's meetings, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach (I'm a Baltimorean) sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with a reporter. And then throughout the day, there are maybe 10-12 small articles put out by the reporter. I realized, each article has 1 quote in it from Harbaugh, and then a handful of paragraphs playing off of that quote.

 

That got me thinking. When I went to school - which admittedly was before the 24-hour Social Media craze, but not that long before - reporters would scoop out a good story and then go to the athlete/coach to get a quote about that story. Now it seems there is very little reporting, and more waiting for an athlete/coach to say something, and then the reporters take that quick quote/soundbyte, and turn that into the story. Isn't that backwards?

 

It's not as bad in the world of golf, as it is with the NFL/NBA, but just last week Patrick Reed says he's a Top-5 player, and that one quote turns into nearly a week of stories. Really?????

 

If you look at golfchannel.com (or God forbid espn.com) a chunk of the "news" is a quote from an athlete about a topic or another athlete, and a full story revolving around that quote.

 

If I were a pro athlete in this day and age, I would be as tight-lipped (Tiger!!!) about as much as I possibly could. What good can come out of talking about anything, when it will probably be turned into a story?

 

I remember by Dad telling me that the old Colts (Unitas, Moore, Berry, Donovan, etc...) used to hang out at the local bars, and I've read how close Arnie, Jack, and others were with the media in their hayday. 

 

Can you imagine some of the stories that those reporters could have shared if they wanted to? Of course they didn't, because it wasn't "news" back then. 

 

Today, it's too hard to go find a story, so let's just ask an athlete/coach a question, and hope he says something he'll soon regret. And then we'll turn that into a story until another one does the same thing in a few days.

 

So is the media to blame, or are we - the sports fans - to blame for reading/listening/watching all of this?

 

Sorry for my rant!!!!

post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Break80 View Post
 

OK, full disclosure, I have a degree in Journalism, and spent 3 years as a sports writer before moving on to the wonderfully fulfilling world of Education. 

 

But something happened yesterday that made me realize how much I truly hate today's media. At the NFL owner's meetings, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach (I'm a Baltimorean) sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with a reporter. And then throughout the day, there are maybe 10-12 small articles put out by the reporter. I realized, each article has 1 quote in it from Harbaugh, and then a handful of paragraphs playing off of that quote.

 

That got me thinking. When I went to school - which admittedly was before the 24-hour Social Media craze, but not that long before - reporters would scoop out a good story and then go to the athlete/coach to get a quote about that story. Now it seems there is very little reporting, and more waiting for an athlete/coach to say something, and then the reporters take that quick quote/soundbyte, and turn that into the story. Isn't that backwards?

 

It's not as bad in the world of golf, as it is with the NFL/NBA, but just last week Patrick Reed says he's a Top-5 player, and that one quote turns into nearly a week of stories. Really?????

 

If you look at golfchannel.com (or God forbid espn.com) a chunk of the "news" is a quote from an athlete about a topic or another athlete, and a full story revolving around that quote.

 

If I were a pro athlete in this day and age, I would be as tight-lipped (Tiger!!!) about as much as I possibly could. What good can come out of talking about anything, when it will probably be turned into a story?

 

I remember by Dad telling me that the old Colts (Unitas, Moore, Berry, Donovan, etc...) used to hang out at the local bars, and I've read how close Arnie, Jack, and others were with the media in their hayday. 

 

Can you imagine some of the stories that those reporters could have shared if they wanted to? Of course they didn't, because it wasn't "news" back then. 

 

Today, it's too hard to go find a story, so let's just ask an athlete/coach a question, and hope he says something he'll soon regret. And then we'll turn that into a story until another one does the same thing in a few days.

 

So is the media to blame, or are we - the sports fans - to blame for reading/listening/watching all of this?

 

Sorry for my rant!!!!

Thanks for posting @Break80.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Reporters used to write stories, but now it is more like instant blogging.  I remember when reporters would actually start reports with datelines and a first paragraph that summarized what the story was about.  It was writing to inform.  Now it is more about shock value and teasers.  And there is too much video as well.

 

It is refreshing hearing it from someone who was in the business.

post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Break80 View Post
 

OK, full disclosure, I have a degree in Journalism, and spent 3 years as a sports writer before moving on to the wonderfully fulfilling world of Education. 

 

But something happened yesterday that made me realize how much I truly hate today's media. At the NFL owner's meetings, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach (I'm a Baltimorean) sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with a reporter. And then throughout the day, there are maybe 10-12 small articles put out by the reporter. I realized, each article has 1 quote in it from Harbaugh, and then a handful of paragraphs playing off of that quote.

 

That got me thinking. When I went to school - which admittedly was before the 24-hour Social Media craze, but not that long before - reporters would scoop out a good story and then go to the athlete/coach to get a quote about that story. Now it seems there is very little reporting, and more waiting for an athlete/coach to say something, and then the reporters take that quick quote/soundbyte, and turn that into the story. Isn't that backwards?

 

It's not as bad in the world of golf, as it is with the NFL/NBA, but just last week Patrick Reed says he's a Top-5 player, and that one quote turns into nearly a week of stories. Really?????

 

If you look at golfchannel.com (or God forbid espn.com) a chunk of the "news" is a quote from an athlete about a topic or another athlete, and a full story revolving around that quote.

 

If I were a pro athlete in this day and age, I would be as tight-lipped (Tiger!!!) about as much as I possibly could. What good can come out of talking about anything, when it will probably be turned into a story?

 

I remember by Dad telling me that the old Colts (Unitas, Moore, Berry, Donovan, etc...) used to hang out at the local bars, and I've read how close Arnie, Jack, and others were with the media in their hayday. 

 

Can you imagine some of the stories that those reporters could have shared if they wanted to? Of course they didn't, because it wasn't "news" back then. 

 

Today, it's too hard to go find a story, so let's just ask an athlete/coach a question, and hope he says something he'll soon regret. And then we'll turn that into a story until another one does the same thing in a few days.

 

So is the media to blame, or are we - the sports fans - to blame for reading/listening/watching all of this?

 

Sorry for my rant!!!!

Drama drives ratings. It's the reason that "prime time" television is nothing but ridiculously stupid "reality" TV shows. The people are the ones to blame, not the multi-billion/million dollar production companies and networks providing us with what Neilsen is saying we want.

post #4 of 26

I got a journalism degree in 1987 and spent 18 years as a newspaper sports reporter/editor. Things have changed so dramatically over those 27 years since I entered the field that it's absolutely shocking.

 

You're correct, it is backward now. In the newspaper days, some (but not all) of those quotes would've been used to form one cohesive feature and perhaps a sidebar (if warranted). Now, since the vast majority of sports media is consumed electronically, it's all about "clicks" and "impressions." The outlets need those to sell advertising, so that's what they strive for and they don't much care how they get them. Their very survival depends upon them.

 

Instead of reading a single 24-column-inch story, now you have to click on a dozen items to process the same info and there's no cohesion to it whatsoever. It's a joke.

 

However, "the media" is never entirely to blame in such situations. It'll try just about anything and just about everything to discover what people want. If enough people show that they don't want it that way, the content and/or methods will change real fast.

 

The people who do the most bitching about "the media" are usually the most ardent consumers of what it dishes up. "The media" doesn't much care if most people think poorly of it, as long as they keep buying what it's selling.

 

In full disclosure, I'm a full-time employee of an electronic media outlet and have been for more than 8 years. I no longer deal with mainstream sports, though; I now operate in a very tight niche (much smaller than golf). I greatly prefer the situation I'm in now to where I was a decade ago.

post #5 of 26

Professional golf is a closed shop - generally if you write an article on one player and he's well liked, you'll struggle to get more out of the closed ranks. It's why really juicy golf story's very rarely happen unless they get broken by the player themselves (see Couples, Faldo, Montgomery, Woods etc). Mosy golf fans don't worry about the salacious stuff, of who Woods is sleeping with, who Henryk Stenson got screwed over by financially or whether a certain Ryder Cup captain is gay (see what I did there?)

 

The general public thrive on scandal, on bitterness, recrimination and acidity of a loser and the vainglory of a winner - it's why talent shows and fat loss shows and cookery bake-offs and the Big Break are popular. They love all that shite.

 

Some golf journalist's are just awful though. I loathe Geoff Shackelford with a passion. He's everything I detest in a journalist.

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post
 

Thanks for posting @Break80.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Reporters used to write stories, but now it is more like instant blogging.  I remember when reporters would actually start reports with datelines and a first paragraph that summarized what the story was about.  It was writing to inform.  Now it is more about shock value and teasers.  And there is too much video as well.

 

It is refreshing hearing it from someone who was in the business.

I wholeheartedly second this.  ;)  Great post @Break80   Too much "news" being falsely created by the journalists.  Your Patrick Reed example is a good one.  Get somebody to say something provocative, push him a little on it, and run with it.  Voila!  Biggest golf story of the month and it isn't about anything that actually happened, just words and people's reactions to those words, and people's reactions to those reactions.  It's [a word I'm not supposed to say, but it rhymes with flea-smarted].

post #7 of 26

I've noticed that on ESPN's website, they'll come out with something like Free Agency rankings for each team.  One big article.  Then each divisional blogger writes a story saying that ESPN gave [Team] a [Grade] and quotes the original story.  Essentially, ESPN publishes an article, then 30 articles about its own article. Its absurd.  

 

And its not exactly the same, but have  you seen the clips on Don Lemon on CNN asking the flight experts whether MH370 could have been swallowed by a small black hole, or whether this could be like Lost?  

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post

And its not exactly the same, but have  you seen the clips on Don Lemon on CNN asking the flight experts whether MH370 could have been swallowed by a small black hole, or whether this could be like Lost?  

The questions is not where the plane is, but when it is.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post
 

And its not exactly the same, but have  you seen the clips on Don Lemon on CNN asking the flight experts whether MH370 could have been swallowed by a small black hole, or whether this could be like Lost?

Yeah, I did.  That's really annoying too, because they say stuff like "just to throw this out there ..."

 

What does that mean?  You know it's shit reporting, but you're going to do it anyway??

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Yeah, I did.  That's really annoying too, because they say stuff like "just to throw this out there ..."

 

What does that mean?  You know it's shit reporting, but you're going to do it anyway??

Didn't he lead into with something like, "Now, I know this is preposterous, but it is preposterous Mary?"

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamo View Post


The questions is not where the plane is, but when it is.

 

A Lost scenario would be the worst.  They would be dead, but then not really, then maybe in some sort of limbo but nobody really knows.  Then smoke monsters would show up out of nowhere.  Ugh.  

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Yeah, I did.  That's really annoying too, because they say stuff like "just to throw this out there ..."

 

What does that mean?  You know it's shit reporting, but you're going to do it anyway??

And don't get me started on "sources". Any reporter can literally say anything they want and attribute it to a source, and are under no obligation to ever name that source (assuming the reporting isn't libelous/slanderous).

 

I bet you if golfchannel.com posted a story that says: According to Sources, Woods Mulling Retirement Because of Bad Back ... every visitor to that site would click and read. Then Tiger's camp would refute it, calling it ludicrous, and the reporter would say something to the effect of "people who are close to the situation" ... yada-yada-yada.

 

Website is happy with all the traffic, athlete could care less, reporter is already moving onto something/someone else, and the reader/fan has learned absolutely nothing!!!

 

But I must say, I would be the first one to read that story, and others like it, so as was mentioned above, I'm part of the problem.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Break80 View Post
 

And don't get me started on "sources". Any reporter can literally say anything they want and attribute it to a source, and are under no obligation to ever name that source (assuming the reporting isn't libelous/slanderous).

 

I bet you if golfchannel.com posted a story that says: According to Sources, Woods Mulling Retirement Because of Bad Back ... every visitor to that site would click and read. Then Tiger's camp would refute it, calling it ludicrous, and the reporter would say something to the effect of "people who are close to the situation" ... yada-yada-yada.

 

Website is happy with all the traffic, athlete could care less, reporter is already moving onto something/someone else, and the reader/fan has learned absolutely nothing!!!

"an unnamed White House official," "an anonymous source inside the Senator's office," "a team official that asked not to be named,"  or, they just say **** it all to heck and go with "a credible source."

 

Says who???

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Break80 View Post
 

But I must say, I would be the first one to read that story, and others like it, so as was mentioned above, I'm part of the problem.

I think we all would.

 

--------------------------------------------------------

Another thing that really gets under my skin in this internet-its-all-about-the-clicks age is when writers or editors (not sure who's to blame for this one) assign titles to stories that entice you to click on them, and then you read the story and the title turned out to be a blatant lie.

 

(I can't find a good example right now, but I have definitely seen it more than just a few times)  It would be something like your Tiger Woods story - with that title that mentioned him mulling retiring, but all the story is about is that he has a bad back, and the writer ponders whether or not he should retire, or some random golfer who hasn't played in 20 years said he should retire, or something else entirely different than the title.

post #13 of 26
CNN is the undisputed king of click baiting. Headlines like "he said What!?"
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Another thing that really gets under my skin in this internet-its-all-about-the-clicks age is when writers or editors (not sure who's to blame for this one) assign titles to stories that entice you to click on them, and then you read the story and the title turned out to be a blatant lie.

 

There's a "Law" or "Rule" or something that any time a headline asks a provocative question in the headline, the answer is no.

 

"Can your golf clubs kill you while you sleep?" No.

"Can passing gas in the pool harm your sex life?" No.

 

Well, that second one is probably yes, but you've never seen that headline, either…

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

There's a "Law" or "Rule" or something that any time a headline asks a provocative question in the headline, the answer is no.

 

"Can your golf clubs kill you while you sleep?" No.

"Can passing gas in the pool harm your sex life?" No.

 

Well, that second one is probably yes, but you've never seen that headline, either…

There is a funny bit that a hilarious comedian by the name of Mike Birbiglia does on exactly that (It starts with the headline "Do you know what's in your soup?!?!") .... but I couldn't find it on youtube.  Rats.

post #16 of 26

Reporters no longer report, they give their opinion and may sprinkle some facts within their story.

 

I'm dating myself but when I read the newspaper or watched the news as a kid, the stories were based on fact.  Walter Cronkite prided himself and making clear distinctions between what was known to be fact and what was opinion.  Newspaper reporters were very careful to "report" the news and left the opinions for the editorial staff.  News organizations had fact checkers who validated everything before they were allowed to report it.

 

Today, if the story runs on TMZ, it's fact and the local news agencies run with it regardless of the actual facts.  It seems being first is more important than being right, just consider the botched reports covering the elementary school shooting in CT or the recent missing MH370 flight

 

In sports, the reporting is almost completely devoid of fact.  Every sports writer has become an editorial writer.  Team trades, promotions, demotions used to be small "extras" at the end of an article reporting the results of a game.  Now they are the headline with an entire story on why they agree, disagree or both on the move the team made and last nights score only gets a small mention.

 

In golf, you have the guys who continue to gain "clicks" by writing or saying something controversial about Tiger and now Reed.  It's like they say, this is a slow golf news week, I think I'll rip Tiger for his putting today or Reed for being arrogant and drive some traffic to our site.

 

The net effect is I have very little respect for any news or sports reporters.  In my book they all want to be TMZ or Enquirer reporters not journalists.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post
 

In my book they all want to be TMZ or Enquirer reporters not journalists.

 

No, that's not what all of them want, nor even most of them – those types are the exception rather than the rule. It's what media organizations, which exist to make a profit, have forced many of them to become.

 

Some people, such as myself, bail out at some point when the situation becomes intolerable. But truth be told, I wouldn't have bailed if I didn't have a soft spot to land. Like most, I've got bills to pay.

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

Case in point ... http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10682317/josh-gordon-pretty-sure-cleveland-browns-draft-quarterback

 

How in the hell is this a story on the front page of espn.com???

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