Detroit News writer vs. Tigers bloggers: fight for the ages!

photo by Samara Pearlstein

There are lots of people out there who hate bloggers. There have been lots and lots and lots of articles written in recent years about the Scourge of the Blogger, and how bloggers are ruining writing/reporting, and various other things along those lines. Normally I wouldn’t bat an eye at such an article, and I certainly wouldn’t respond to it, because it’s so utterly not worth anyone’s time. This, however, is different. I’m sure some of you have heard about it by now because a lot of Tigers/Detroit-area bloggers have already written about it.

You see, Chris McCosky is a writer for the Detroit News. He wrote an article about “why bloggers just aren’t journalists”. In some ways it’s no different from any other article written by some behind-the-times old fogey who just doesn’t get this Publishing for the People wave from the evil, immoral ELECTRONIC FUTURE, and thus would seem to invite no further comment, but he specifically talks about Detroit bloggers here, and, even more specifically, Detroit Tigers bloggers.

That’s me. That’s some of my friends (see that little list on the right, under BLOGROLL?). Chris, kiddo, you don’t call out Roar of the Tigers and expect to not get it thrown right back at you. Anyways, like I said, everyone has already responded to it, but I just have to get in on this. It’s TOO rich.

My bosses want me to focus on what I do best, which, apparently, is griping, grumping and grousing. They have asked me to produce a weekly collection of things that have been ticking me off.

No problem. Buckle up.

Right off the bat I see a problem here. The article is going to be about why bloggers aren’t Real Journalists. We know that from the title. But what our dear friend Chris here is describing– someone who is best at “griping, grumping and grousing”– is someone who would be best suited to the blogging format. Not a Real Journalist.

Oh, Christopher. We most hate and fear that which most reminds us of ourselves, eh?

The line is getting way too blurry now between Internet noise and actual journalism. It’s actually getting to the point now where some (too many) of the bloggers are using cyberspace to discredit the legitimate media.

OH GAWD NO, journalists are now ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR INFORMATION AND WRITING!! If they do a hack job, PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET will call them out for it! Curses be upon this hideous age of checks and balances and Wikipedias and freedom of information in which we dwell!

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.

I think something like half the bloggers I read either have or are currently in school for a Journalism/English major. At least 4 of them off the top of my head. Anyways, this is complete bollocks. There are some jobs that require a degree in that field… jobs like medical doctor, or particle physicist. Most other jobs can have any person do them so long as they have the requisite skills, regardless of the degree they hold.

I’m a fine arts and biology student. I’ve never hidden that fact. Even though most of my scholarly learnings are concerned with things like painting and drawing beetles and phylogenetic trees, I too can use words to form sentences on the subject of baseball. My lack of a Journalism major is a handicap I must fight courageously against every day, but I soldier on.

I also blog precisely BECAUSE it allows me the freedom to not take this stuff too seriously. I don’t WANT to be exactly like a newspaper journalist, because you can get those things (gasp gasp!) in the newspaper!

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.

It will only become evident if you read the entire article, but our BFF Chris did not talk to a single blogger for this article. Not a one.

I’m pretty sure a couple bloggers have also already emailed him about this article, and as of right now (9 pm Sunday night) I am not aware that he has responded. I know Kurt emailed him and promised to update his post when he got a reply back. Ho hum. So much for confronting the people and taking the meds. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now, since it’s the weekend, but we shall see.

With blogging and Web sites, it seems the hard work, standards, accountability, courage all of that is bypassed. Who needs to study this stuff, or attend games, or conduct interviews when you can just sit in your basement and clack out whatever comes through your head, right? If I rip somebody, or if I get something wrong, who cares? Nobody will see me.

Courage? COURAGE????

Look, I know “LOL” is a hideous overused internet acronym, but I literally LOLed when I read that bit for the first time. COURAGE?? (“LOL” means “Laugh Out Loud”, in case Chris McClod-sky is reading this. I know such a “new and hip internet vernacular term” might be too opaque for him to figure out on his own.)

I want a tshirt now that says something like “I BLOG ABOUT JIM LEYLAND WITH COURAGE.”

A lot of times these bloggers use the work of legitimate reporters. They will lift facts and segments of stories and cut and paste them onto their blog. Rarely, if ever, though, do they bother to credit the source.

They will write something like, “I am hearing the Pistons are going to start Antonio McDyess this year.” Well, wonder where you “heard” that. It was reported in the darn newspaper. Yet, the same blogger will go out of their way to ridicule the source they stole from.

Oh, Chris-ums. Did I not mention your name? Did I not link your ridiculously bad article? Did I not mention the Detroit News several times? Am I not liberally blockquoting you, thus setting your glorious prose apart from my own clumsy amateurish blog-tainted words? Do I not do this every time I quote a newspaper or magazine or other website?

I do these things. Other bloggers do these things. What are you talking about? Have you ever read a Tigers blog in your life? I again implore you to check out some of those links to the right under BLOGROLL. Those are some Tigers and Detroit blogs. They are there for you to read them.

Bloggers are having a field day speculating on how Joel Zumaya really injured his shoulder. Nobody believes a heavy box fell on him. So the Internet is rife with stories about how he fell off his dirt bike.

This was my second real-life LOL.

I’ll be totally honest: I had not heard the dirt bike rumor until I read Sir Christopher’s article. I know I certainly didn’t post about it. In fact I went out of my way to specifically reenact what had happened to Zoom via gloriously realistic illustration, and there is not a single spoke of dirt bike in there. I read a bunch of Tigers blogs. I didn’t see anything on any dirt bikes.

Out of all the things I read on the internet, some of which are written by dodgy internet troll-people aka bloggers, the only thing I read even mentioning this bogus story was the Detroit News. So Courageous Chris is officially the sketchiest writer of the lot.

I also wonder where in the world he got this idea that blogs were all over pushing some random dirt bike story. Like I said, he wouldn’t have got the idea here. He wouldn’t have got it from Billfer or from Ian or from Kurt or from Lee or my main man Matt or from any of the major Tigers blogs. I haven’t been keeping up on them lately but I don’t even think Deadspin reported anything about dirt bikes.

So where did this come from? I am honestly confused. At first I thought that maybe Chrisasaurus was just too internet-unsavvy to understand the difference between a blog and a message board (which would be like not knowing the difference between a newspaper editorial and the bulletin board at your office where people always tack up Dilbert cartoons and fart jokes. As a side note, in this world where blogs are reader-write-in editorials and message boards are that bulletin board, RotT is a really long rant written on the inside of the toilet stall door in Sharpie that gets added to every so often by that one incredibly crazy person in the office).

I checked Motown Sports which is, let’s admit it, the only Tigers message board worth looking at, and sure enough I found this thread talking about it. Two seconds of reading made it clear that the dirt bike rumor originated from the COMMENTS SECTION of something posted at ESPN.com.

If Chris the Journalism Major doesn’t know the difference between the comments section of an ESPN article and Tigers bloggers, he might need to go back to college and take a couple courses in Basic Internet Use or something.

That’s the difference between journalism and blogging. It might be fun to read about Zumaya falling off a bike, but, until proven, it’s fiction.

That’s the difference between blogging and you, Chrisnutter. It might be fun to read about how all the Tigers bloggers pushed some crazy Zoom dirt bike story, but, until you can prove that they did, it’s fiction.

FUNNY HOW THAT WORKS, ISN’T IT?

All I am saying is this: You don’t have to believe everything you read in the paper. You shouldn’t, actually. But you do have to know most reporters at legitimate news sources work hard to deliver fair, accurate and pertinent information.

And what they do is vastly different than what the clever dude in his pajamas is doing on his computer, down in his basement.

A few points here:

1. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I can pretty much guarantee you that it took more work to draw up all those diagrams of the acromioclavicular joint and to write a post about acromioclavicular joint surgery than it took for Mr. Chris to write that bit of factless drivel. Just, y’know, saying.

2. I’m flattered that he thinks I’m clever. But I am insulted on every other level. I am in fact fully dressed at the moment, although I must admit that I HAVE blogged while in my PJs before. I know, I know. So unprofesh! And for shame, Chrisikins, for shame: I live in an apartment. I don’t even HAVE a basement for blog-related lurking!

3. At the end of all that, his assumption (or lazy language indicating an assumption he doesn’t hold) that every sports blogger on the internet is male is just a tiny drop in the overflowing bucket of idiocy. But, whatever, it’s there, I’ll point it out. HE, HE, HE, HE. I’m not a he, Chris-lips. There are others of us out there. FEMALES. USING THE INTERNETS. TO WRITE ABOUT SPORTS.

Some of us DON’T EVEN HAVE JOURNALISM DEGREES.

Holy freaking cats, someone call the cops before we go getting all uppity or something!

24 responses to “Detroit News writer vs. Tigers bloggers: fight for the ages!

  1. i thought your drawings were really scientifical and stuff… poo on whatever his face is… thanks for giving us (me at the very least) something really interesting to read… as a tiger fan it was really cool to stumble upon this page and do check it religiously ever since, so thanks.
    go tigers!

  2. In two years, the Detroit News will ask him to keep a blog along his regular journalistic pieces. I wonder when and how he’ll react then.

  3. rodrigo, here at RotT we strive for the very finest in scientificalityishness. Also, cats.
    Brent, it’ll be ok for HIM, because he has the sacred journalism degree, dontcha know. He’s not one of those BASEMENT-DWELLING AMATEUR KEYBOARD GREMLINS. Obviouslyyyy.

  4. I am now picturing you hunched over your laptop in a darkened basement, maniacally typing away. In your pajamas. Creepy! :P
    I wonder if this fool will write back.

  5. It is 2 a.m. (gosh, do I ever sleep? Isn’t this like what 3 a.m. would have been like a day ago or something) and not a bo-peep out of him.

  6. Well, ivan, I’m definitely hunched over the laptop right now, because I’m sitting on the couch and the laptop is on the ottoman and there’s no other way to do it. My spine, it cries. But I’m still dressed, dammit! And I HAVE NO BASEMENT!! I can’t be a real blogger without a basement! Damn my interstitial life!!
    Kurt, I emailed him too. I dunno, I’m willing to give him ’til it’s actually during the week, but apparently some of the Pistons bloggers have emailed him over past things and he never responded to them, so… not holdin’ my breath.

  7. Good job, Sam. Before I joined MVN I used to rip on the traditional media for what they didn’t do or ask with their access. But I decided to quit a long time ago because I figured if blogs and internet networks were ever going to gain equal ground, they couldn’t keep harping on traditional media because there seems to be an inferiority complex in that approach. So, it’s funny to wake up one morning and see shots fired the other direction, especially when it was done so poorly.
    Another funny thing is the reason I began blogging was because there were all kinds of questions I had about baseball and the Tigers that weren’t getting answered, and I figured I’d just go ahead and answer them myself.

  8. Great cat on computer photo

  9. I’m so glad that a LOLCat made it to a Tigers blog. It makes me even happier to think that if Mr. McClosky bothered to come over here and read the response to his ‘article’, he would have no idea what it was or why it was so funny.
    I assume that’s your cat, btw? Cute beastie.
    I also have to say that I literally LOLed several times while reading this. The nicknames killed me. The journalism degree killed me. The courage killed me. Blogs FTW.

  10. Matt, I reckon you’ve got it right when you say ‘inferiority complex’. After all, he said it himself: his editors think he’s best at ranting and griping and… maybe… not doing actual ‘reporting’. So he’s best at blogging, basically, but he’s not hip enough to have his own blog or somethin’. :)
    Leshnock, I knew you’d get a kick outta that. It would be funnier if it was Izzy, but then again if he sat on my computer it would probably break.
    PfP, it was high time we had some LOLcats. And yup, that’s Miranda, one of the two. She always sits on my computer. Obviously a blogger in the making.

  11. Well said. I’m a former newspaper reporter and eventual editor/columnist (news side, not sports) and it was d-bags like Chris that ended up forcing me to move onward and outward into other reaches of print media. Even though newspaper blogs are popping up all over the place, the curmudgeons in the editor’s chair are usually dragged kicking and screaming from their typewriters when their publishers tell them, “hey, editor, it’s time we get a couple of those blog-thingys.”
    I blog about the Indians on MVN … it’s nice that division rivals can unite for a greater good…

  12. Oh, and Sam, it’s clear to me that your cat is looking at kitty porn on that laptop. Even bloggers’ cats lack moral fiber.

  13. If Lynn Henning would quit abjectly speculating about Pudge being traded away, Inge moving behind the plate, and the Tigs doing God-knows-what for third base (was he suggesting Infante? I don’t really remember), I would actually read the online Detroit News. I had already boycotted Rob “The Idiot” Parker (who — for shame — actually has a HoF vote), but when Henning was saying not that this is what he was advocating for (the trade Pudge, move Inge to C rumor, which he apparently pulled right out of his hind quarters), but rather that it was going to happen, if Dombrowski could only find the right trading partner… That was too much. I read mlb.com for Tigers stories. They tend not to speculate wildly. They interview the players and come up with all the same good quotes that the other news outlets get. Oh, and I love Danny Knobler (at http://www.mlive.com/tigers )… I don’t read anything else. Knobler, mlb.com stories, and blogs. The News and Freep just aren’t worth my precious time.

  14. I BLOG ABOUT JIM LEYLAND WITH COURAGE would make for an awesome T-Shirt. Either that or it could be the Mission Statement for DIBS.

  15. Jackson, but you’re a BLOGGER! You can’t have WRITIN’ ABILITIEZ. The two are mutually exclusive! I mean, once you’ve got that blog-stink on you, there’s no goin’ back.
    Matt, it’s unclear what the order of corruption was. Did I corrupt her? Did she corrupt me? Did the internet corrupt us both? Something must have happened to make us all so depraved though.
    Jeff, maybe he thinks ARod at third? That’s honestly the only thing I can think of… not that I want it to happen, ’cause, yeah, I think I’ve made my position on Inge-at-catcher pretty clear in the past. INGE has made his position on that move clear…
    Billfer, it should totally be our mission statement. We could put it on a flag and bring it to Comerica… yes. This is a noble vision.

  16. Since you’re a blogger, I assume you became aware of the problem of your cat’s porn addiction, but lacked the courage to confront her about it. I’d let a great journalist write something up that portions out the blame.

  17. No, this was the off-season right after Pudge’s late return from Colombia (or wherever) when he voluntarily gave up his appeal from the 4-game suspension to skip the series in Toronto (I think?). You know, when he was considered a clubhouse cancer and all. I’m pretty sure we’re talking the 2005-06 off-season. That’s when Henning was describing that scenario, so A-Rod was totally not in the picture at that time. But, again, I stress this: Henning was not stating that this was his own personal theory on what they should do, but that this was what *would happen*. He was just sure of it. And, you know, he has that fancy piece of paper on the wall that says “Journalism”, only maybe it’s in Latin, and maybe all of it is written in Latin, come to think of it. So, therefore, we should take what he says as coming from God Himself. Cuz, after all, he’s the JOURNALIST. And never submits anything from his basement (come on, with the advances in telecommuting, you can’t tell me no reporter has ever submitted anything from his basement), nor does he do it while clad in pajamas (ditto the previous parenthetical). In fact, I clicked on that link and said to myself: “Well, look at this new fancy look of the Detroit News web site.” I have no idea how long it’s had the new look, but that should give you some idea of how long it’s been since I have relied on them for anything. Give me Danny Knobler or give me death, I say.

  18. I’m sure that even “Journalists” write articles in their P.J.s from time, to time. Talk about a job that has telecommute written all over it… We all know that any sports writer or radio host loves to spout controversy, that’s what drives their copy/show. You can only write or talk about hard statistics for so long before you lose your audience, yet another similarity to blogging. Perhaps the universities should jump on this inter-web thing bandwagon and start awarding blogging degrees.

  19. Matt, let’s be honest: as a blogger, I have no high moral ground to stand on, even compared to a porn-addicted siamese cat. :)
    Jeff, oh jeez, those days. Nothing much can be added to that except to note that it is, in fact, all kinds of crazy.
    Erik, but maybe the Courageous Journalists write in their PJs from their airy journalism lofts, instead of down in the basement? :P And the stats thing isn’t true, for blogs… I know of a bunch of blogs that are all-stats or heavily-stats-based, and they retain readership just fine. THIS particular blog ain’t one of ’em, but they’re out there.

  20. Yolanda was joking for him, but strangely reeling for him yet. Why him, and internally me? The phir stroked Vanessa’s pockets through her resolute quickley blouse, peppering hairier sighs from her.

  21. Tonight she completly could guess their handprints and celebrity fakes list about the babes that trebled within them, drunken on the faces that they wore when handing their wishful lives. Would she have reinserted without harassing goodbye?

  22. Awesome. Amazing.
    Having been through journalism school, I can tell you with full confidence that biology and fine arts will do just as much for you, thank you very much.

  23. I’ve just found your blog, and I must tell you that this post makes me furiously happy. I force myself to read the Free Press website from time to time and it generally sends me into a baby-punching frenzy. I know MLB.com has more money to get better writers, but for the love of God, you’d think the FreeP could get some people who could actually write about sports without sounding like jerks.

    Don’t even get me started on the FreeP Tigers twitter account. I almost unfollowed it during the playoff games because the live Tweeting was just. so. awful.

    Finally: “There are others of us out there. FEMALES. USING THE INTERNETS. TO WRITE ABOUT SPORTS.

    THANK YOU. There is a reason the blog I just started is titled “Are you really a girl?”. I’ve taken all the macho “Heh, no, seriously, you really like baseball?” snark I can take, thanks. You are my hero, and reading your blog already makes me want to quit mine, because I can’t say it any better. :-)

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