In an issue close to my heart, the ladies of Helmets and Heels talk about Mike Wilbon’s “Mother’s basement bloggers” comment and how this reflects in the sports coverage we see today.
For those that missed it and our debate on the topic on the latest Helmets and Heels (which you can listen to below), ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption started a bit of a controversy the other night when comments from a recent speaking event surfaced.
Mike Wilbon’s Mother’s Basement Blogger comment:
“What bugs me now is that people is that people sit in their mother’s basements and write this crap and they don’t have any knowledge of what is going on in that place, and it’s too easy to get it,” Wilbon said. “You can go to a game, you can go to a locker room. The only reason to read this stuff is to tell people why something happened, and if you’re not there, and you can’t tell me why it happened, I don’t care about all your advanced analytics and all the other things you concoct.”
In the same story posted on Awful Announcing, what particularly stood out to be are the comments from another media personality at the same event as Wilbon, Christine Brannon. Her comments centered around the idea beat writers will usually face consequences when they say something negative about the team they cover. She hints at writers like myself are “fly by night.”
“The style of reporting cannot last, and that it will be the hardworking journalist who will eventually win out in the long run, said brannon.”
These one-off quotes were eyebrow raising only because I come from two different sides of this coin. On one side, I’ve busted my ass for years writing and running my own media company. I don’t have a journalism or broadcasting degree but here I am as a business owner, writer and radio host.
On the other side, I’ve worked for one of those companies who do this very thing of taking a one-off quote, an edited video and running with it for the sake of clicks. And let me just tell you, it can be soul-crushing work.
You’re not proud of it and many times, we wouldn’t attribute our names to the stories.
Just like it’s unfair to lump team-bought media in with journalists who aren’t afraid to ask a tough question because “their access might be cut off” it’s dangerous to lump click-bait writers into those who run operations that value quality over quantity.
Fans, readers and viewers want honest assessment. In today’s age when an interview can be seen and heard immediately, having locker room access doesn’t give you any more of an authority on a subject than myself at home.
But it can also be a slippery slope when quotes are taken out-of-context and put online without any follow up or the extra research. I almost fell guilty of that myself in regards to this story until I did a simple Google search. I was ready to pounce on Wilbon and Brennan just like the rest of pitch-fork social media before the full scope of the interview was released–which the desire to be first is one of the biggest complaints of our new media world.
If I have to offer one takeaway around the coverage of sports is to treat all media sources as you would treat someone you conduct business with.
Trust your news sources until they give you a reason not to.
Because new media can be just as beneficial as “traditional journalism” when you consider this comment from Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, who points out the value of coverage from a variety of sources and the conflict of interest it can help to avoid:
I think it’s important though to point out that some of these Internet outlets that we’re calling ‘fly by night’ have…kind of kept mainstream sports media a little bit honest,” Jenkins said. “I mean, let’s face it, the Deflategate story in the NFL is a bit of collusion between mainstream beat writers and the NFL…The ESPN-NFL partnership means that certain stories don’t get reported [like] they probably should be in some ways.”
Along with this topic debated between the cohosts, the ladies of Helmets and Heels talk Olivia Munn, studs and duds from the week, Rivalry Week, and we’re also joined by Jaguars superfan from across the pond.
Highlights from the Show
Intro: Olivia Munn fires back about being blamed for the play of boyfriend Aaron Rodgers. Plus our studs of the week.
11:23- Duds of the week
25:01- Alex from the UK joins us from across the pond
35:50- Debating traditional media vs. new media
48:34- College Football Rivalry Week
58:07- Predicting FSU vs. FL and how to deal with a drunk guy at a bar