Sunday, November 6, 2011


Well, the gauntlet has been thrown. Some NHL journalists recently recognized a common trend I had noticed. After the tragic death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon, there were a bit too many retweets and carbon copy mentions of the same stories over and over again. One could argue that this was an inevitable fallout from the 9/11 era. However, I posit that this trend was born from the social media era. This began some time thereafter. I have noticed way too many typos, broken links, and other trends in mainstream web media. In short, it appears that the push for instant relevance has given way to journalistic integrity. There was an argument in the NHL world that too many of the insiders (read complacent accredited journalists) relied on the breaking news from their BlackBerries, and the usual media melees with the players and analysts, to make their stories. I tend to agree with this. As a bit of background, I was a HUGE Dallas Stars fan from 1995-1999, and was lucky enough to obtain a team press pass thanks to an innovative group of web journalists from the website LCS was an exercise in pushing the boundaries of the NHL news coverage of the day. In short, the editors threw in honest news, opinions, rants, etc (a little bit of this, a little bit of that) and as a consequence molded a template for sports journalism in the web era that is unknowingly being copied and followed to this day. Fast forward to my contributions. LCS put out a simple email roll call for any and all team-specific fans to become official team report correspondents. I answered the call for Dallas. I combined newspaper columns, watching games via tape, attending games, and an honest attempt at intuition to derive the current state of the team, the vibe from the players, guessing coaching moves, etc to form a holistic "state of the union" report for the team every two weeks or so. In so doing I experienced many a priceless moment both on the scene, in Reunion Arena and the locker rooms, and off the scene from my trusty computer, recapping the trials and tributations of my boys, The Stars. While I did get way too detailed and verbose in some team reports and feature columns, I felt it was the least I could do to repay my LCSHockey brethren for the honor of having a press pass. To affirm an earlier point, I spent an average of 3-4 hours or more sweating every detail, quote, and punctuation of every article. Indeed the LCS editors pretty much got to the point where they would be like "dude, just submit already!" Where is this heading? I think too many "professional" journalists have lost their way, and are relying too much on technological and editorial crutches to be "first" to report something, anything. Too bad they are in line with a dozen or so other journalists to succumb to the same pressures to deliver instant, freeze-dried news over something personal, unique, and intuitive. Anyway, that's the view from this seat. To think, I did everything I did to compose team reports as a volunteer. I wasn't payed any beans at all, except for a press pass, and I felt honored, obligated, and privileged to report favorite team to an anonymous group of fans and other correspondents. Something must have got lost in the translation during the social media era, because old school journalists have become distilled, to a degree. The new journalists are not being held to the same standard as some of the traditional fellas. It's not too late, the two schools of reporting can still compare notes and meld the best of both worlds to provide both timely, accurate, and original news for a given team. I have faith. Now, put down the smartphones and pick up a notebook, and pay attention to the team you areop.privileged to be covering. Make me.proud Blast from the past: