Relevancy Doesn’t Need to Be Personal

As a sports fan and a voracious reader, I read different perspectives on sports topics and stories that are interesting, insightful, controversial, and thought-provoking.

Call me crazy, but what we’re seeing on the internet between sports writers and bloggers on a national level has turned into an online street brawl filled with bravado and egos.

Michael Lazerow wrote a column on LinkedIn about the recent rash of entrepreneurs bashing each other publicly, and on social media in particular. His article can easily be applied to the pissing matches on Twitter between sports blogs and websites like Deadspin, Will Leitch, among others.

Lazerow said the purpose of bashing others is to stay relevant among followers, readers, and fans. I don’t mind reading a multitude of sites for information and to get a different view of topics, but has it become necessary to be assholes to one-up each other, all in the name of getting eyeballs to your site?  You know, to be edgy, fresh, and “cutting edge.”

Bryan Goldberg, formerly of Bleacher Report, explains his case against Will Leitch with respects to the backlash towards Bleacher Report. There is one statement that Goldberg that stood out:

I take a lot of pride in co-creating Bleacher Report, but I got a lot of help from the arrogance and antediluvian attitudes that emanate from so many newspapers and journalists over the age of forty. They have no idea how hard it is to make it as a writer today, and maybe if they were more compassionate, or saw value in doing anything other than saving their own skin, they would look in the mirror before criticizing the 20-year-old “scabs” who write for Bleacher Report.

I disagree with Goldberg with this generalization. Not all newspapers and journalists are arrogant and have a disdain towards younger online journalists like Goldberg.  Not all older reporters consider young reporters and bloggers as “scabs”, as Goldberg claims. A good number of older journalists have started to use social media, write blogs, and have become comfortable with how news and sports are being covered.

Maybe it’s because I live here in Iowa, but the interaction between those who cover sports or hard news, whether it’s print, television, social media, or online, isn’t hostile as many nationally want to claim. The overall goal is to provide content and news to those who need it, be it Twitter, newspaper, texts, et cetera.

Not all older journalists are as grouchy, or disheveled, like Oscar Madison, or look down upon younger journalists who use social media to make a living in journalism.

Goldberg claims that older journalists are arrogant. Ironically, his attitude towards older journalists, along those like Drew Magary and Will Leitch, is starting to emulate those they accuse of doing the same to them, because of their hatred towards not being accepted by a large sector of traditional media.

The culture of reporting is changing and many are making an effort to embrace and use new tools.  It’s no different when the computer started to slowly replace the typewriter in the newsroom. 

With that said, childish Twitter fights (Richard Deitsch vs. Darren Rovell) and slamming others, sooner or later, will turn a good number of readers and viewers off, or seek another site to get their news.

If you provide content and facts, give an informed opinion and willing to hear all angles of a topic, you become relevant.

Being juvenile, and personally attacking others to be relevant, in effect, makes you less relevant, no matter how cool and edgy, or old school and stale you are.