Yesterday Brian posted link from SBNation's Peter Bean's NFL combine diary. I found it to be a well written article that made several fine points and was somewhat entertaining. Mr. Bean (ironic?) however contradicted himself, and to those of us who are familiar with the subject of his poor humor were easily able to recognize his gaff for what it was. Take these two quotes from the article:
Reflecting on how remarkably intense this all is, I try to strike up a conversation with the media member stationed next to me, a newspaper reporter from a metropolitan daily in Florida. Can you imagine, I ask, if each of us had to go through something like this to land our jobs?
He shrugs indifferently, a reaction I initially attribute to his veteran experience, but soon begin to think representative of something very different. There are over 200 members of the media in attendance, and the more of them I interact with, the more I sense a pervasive cynicism. For every perfectly pleasant, engaging person I meet, there are two jaded, disinterested souls going through the motions. Many seem cranky, generally, and many others quickly become so when they find out I'm covering the event as a part-time blogger.
"Doesn't your paper ask you to blog these days?" I ask one writer who seems particularly disgusted with my presence.
"You bet your ass they do," he hisses in reply. "But if it weren't for jokers like you, they'd still appreciate my filing three stories per week, instead of asking me to write a blog three times a day."
This isn't to say that everyone I meet is this way, but more than enough are that I understand why new media continues to grow and thrive as it is. The gatekeeper status previously enjoyed by established media made sports journalism an enjoyable, privileged position; and now, any old schmuck with a computer and Internet connection can do the job. Unsurprisingly, many do it better, and equally unsurprising, among the old guard the change breeds resentment.
"Really?" I ask, prodding for explanation. "Because my only regret is that I can't explore sports with as much depth as I could if I just had enough time to write about everything I want to write about."
"And that's the trouble with you young people," is his reply.
And that pretty much says it all.
And then this:
Chain Gailey, Bills Head Coach: At this point, we all know Chan Gailey better than we should, and while I can't say I understand why the Bills would hire Gailey for a reclamation project, I find myself endlessly amused by his press conference, primarily because the media's favorite go-to question for anyone and everyone is some version of, "How has _____________ helped you prepare for where you are now?" Whereas with Jim Schwartz there was a single question about how his background in player personnel might be helping him today, almost the entire Chan Gailey press conference is filled with questions about how his various experiences in the past will help him now.
I have to bite my tongue not to ask how his wealth of experience with mediocrity is helping him prepare to make the Bills mediocre.
In the first snip-it Bean tells of how complacent the "Old Guard Media" has become. He insinuates how they hate bloggers because they have made their jobs more taxing. Basically Bean says that older media types are lazy and thanks to bloggers the higher-ups at newspapers and other media outlets have asked sports writers to work harder, to do more, to actually, you know, work more.
In the second snip-it Bean falls right into the same trap as these very same "Old Guard Media types" and takes the easy way out by picking on the Buffalo Bills. As a Bills fan I am painfully aware that they are thought of in the same vein as the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions. Basically I know my team isn't good. I have heard all the jokes before and I am well aware that the bigger media outlets ignore my beloved Bills because they aren't all that great. This is a what-have-you-done-lately industry. When the Bills get good again they will get more attention. Plain and simple. Therein lies the issue.
If SBNation wants to set itself out from the crowd they are going to have to ask more of the bloggers that they choose to send to big events like the NFL combine. They can't afford to publish the same rubbish as the ESPN's of the world. What makes SBNation great in my opinion is the fact that they aren't the bigger media outlet. They have access to guys who know more about their respective teams then most of the big time media types. Who would you rather listen to for information about you team? A guy who follows one team and one team only, or a guy who is trying to cover all 32 at the same time? If I am going to read the same old junk why wouldn't I just go to ESPN, or Sports Illustrated?
Mr. Bean had a prime opportunity to showcase his investigative journalism ability and tell sports fans something of some substance about the Buffalo Bills. All he had to do was, you know, work more. To do more then the lazy "Old Guard Media". Instead he took the easy way out like many of the same people he criticized just a few paragraphs earlier by making snide comments about the Bills. Maybe that is the problem. Mr. Bean isn't an investigative journalist, he is a part time blogger so he has to take the easy way out. Or does he?
Maybe SBNation should think a little harder when they choose a blogger to attend these events. Sending the wrong guy can have an adverse effect on what they are trying to accomplish. You failed to deliver Mr. Bean. Just my two cents.