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Weighing in on Credibility and New Media

By Mike Silva ~ June 23rd, 2009. Filed under: Mike Silva.

I am a little late to the party on this one, but felt compelled to give my two cents.

Everyone probably already knows about it and has seen the ESPN roundtable with Ken Rosenthal. If you haven’t, a blogger by the name of Jared Morris wrote a piece giving his opinion about whether Raul Ibanez career year was indicative of him being on steroids. The story blew up, Ibanez got annoyed, and you had the predictable cry of accountability.

I have been involved in new media for over two years. I sometimes believe that I fall into a unique category of “in the middle” because I have made an attempt to do mainstream reporting with my independent site. What I have come to find is that both the blogger and mainstream reporter are debating an issue versus trying to understand why it exists in the first place.

First, I detest the term “blogger” and the usual trailer that goes something like a “40 year old guys in his mom’s basement”. I have heard that and believe no one should judge another by what they do or how they look. I own a home, car, have a 401k, and actually am married. I love sports, writing, and radio. What I do makes me very little money, but I believe I am on the ground floor of a new way of reporting. It’s a dynamic field that provides you so many outlets to express yourself that corporate America, my day job, stifles. There are many in “new media” that don’t have the perspective that I do. Either they are too young, don’t have the corporate experience, or quite simply aren’t mature enough to understand what Ken Rosenthal called “the power of words”. Having a website is no longer just a hobby that is protected by the privacy of your office walls. What you say will get picked up, reported, misunderstood, and possibly hurt others.

This was the case with Raul Ibanez. I experienced this when people accused this site of making up a Beltran for Cano rumor that was positioned as purely debate. Point being, I have never said or wrote something that I wouldn’t address to someone’s face. I use my real name and people have easy access to contact me. I never hide. If you’re going to put yourself in the public eye you have to accept the consequences. Maybe it’s my experience working in the corporate environment that gives me this perspective, but I honestly don’t see a lot of my “new media” colleagues taking the same attitude. I would love to see those who write some of the stuff say these things to people in person or on the phone. What I have come to find is that many like to hide in obscurity.

On the flip side the mainstream media doesn’t understand why they are in the predicament. How can little “blogs” throw their industry into chaos? Two words: Greed and Laziness. The corporate honchos have created an environment where they are more interested in hiring the cheapest talent, not the best. What transpires is journalism school reporting that would pass a final exam but fails to interest the reader. The other problem is general laziness. Many in mainstream media continue to yearn for the “good old days” that are never coming back. Why? Because they had the advantage and the job was easier. Remember, this is the same traditional media that at one point in their history protected ballplayers rather than report the truth. It was a good old boys network that reported the news they wanted you to hear. Now you have to work hard, write smarter, and channel creativity. Those are characteristics that don’t automatically come with a journalism degree.

The real question is rather than fight each other how about learning how to co-exist? How about the “bloggers” start to understand the power of their words and behave accordingly. Don’t write something that you won’t tell to someone’s face. Act like this is your job versus something that will score you points at happy hour. As for the mainstream, do what a lot of the young, up and coming, hard working journalists are doing. Working harder, smarter, and driving creativity.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Weighing in on Credibility and New Media

  1. Drew

    Bravo Mike. Well said!

  2. David

    Good blog. I have a hard time reading blogs because too many of the writers are, as you say, too immature. If I want to hear someone saying that Omar needs to spend more money or trade Reyes for Holliday, I would listen to WFAN (NEVER!). In the end, reporters have gone from being the players best friend to opinionated editorialists (is that a word?) who don’t report on anything but what they think and feel.
    This is my first time out to your blog. I like what you’ve said here. I’ll be coming back to check it out. It would be a real breath of fresh air to see some good reporting and fact-based thoughts rather than the garbage that seems to fill the Net…

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