Thursday, June 04, 2009

Blogs With Balls Update And An Apology

So the first-ever sports-blog conference is coming up a week from Saturday (June 13) in New York City. If you live in the city or just want to be at one of the biggest gatherings ever of sports bloggers, I highly recommend it.

There are a bunch of great panels, and I'm fortunate enough to be moderating one on the quote-unquote "conflict" between sports blogs and "mainstream" media, although as I plan out the panel, I think it's clear that the notion of a schism is no longer operable, and the proper description is probably "co-opetition."

What we would call "indie" blogs are increasingly professionalized (both for content and as businesses) and mainstream media has quickly adopted the blog platform and format for information delivery and consumer engagement. Bloggers offer innovation and a new talent-development stream; mainstream media offers wider distribution, some form of additional "credibility" and the opportunity to generate revenue.

But, really, what I keep coming back to is how stale the vocabulary is: How do you define "mainstream?" I would offer one working definition as "influence"; under that definition, Deadspin or The Big Lead ARE mainstream, in the way they impact the sports-media news cycle. Arguably, they are even more "mainstream" than newspapers or talk-radio, siloed by market (exception: national shows like Dan Patrick and Mike/Mike), or magazines, limited to weekly agenda-setting.

Anyway, hopefully, we will dig into all of these issues and more, and I'm fortunate to have a great panel to work with, including guys like Dan Steinberg, John Ness, Jeff Pearlman, Bethlehem Shoals, Mike Hall and Jeff Pyatt.

The media industry -- particularly sports media -- remains a passion of mine, and I love nothing more than getting into intelligent discussions about it, in almost any setting.

On that note, I was reading a commentary about Deadspin's latest commenter evolution and the writer -- who I might not agree with but very much respect -- brought up my criticism of Jason (Big Lead) McIntyre from just about a year ago.

What I regret about that post was that I didn't stay true to my interest in clear-eyed media analysis -- I may be shallow when it comes to last night's baseball news, but I like to think that when I finally talk about stuff that I actually understand deeply, like the sports-media industry, I present thoughtful and intelligent arguments. Instead, I devolved into personal attacks -- not my m.o. at all -- that ultimately undermined the more rational points I was trying to make.

It is long overdue, but I apologize to Jason for those personal attacks. I think it is totally valid -- even constructive -- to disagree on the topic (any topic) on the merits. My personal potshots were lame and unnecessary and -- I would like to think -- out of character for me.

I am not bringing this up to try to curry some sort of favor with Jason -- I would send him the same message via email, but given the public nature of my first post about this, a public message seemed more appropriate. But in thinking about that post, I sincerely regret the tone and apologize for the too-personal vitriol. Nearly a year later, it was time to revisit and set it straight.

-- D.S.

No comments: