Just a blog ?
March 2, 2005 3:15 PM   Subscribe

When is A Blog, just a blog ? Boston Sports Media Watch, a blog claiming as its purpose: "to provide a resource for Boston sports fans both locally and transplanted, who may not be able to keep up with the plethora of information available in the newspapers, on the radio and television and on-line.", has challenged the validity of Boston Dirt Dogs, another local blog's content. BSMW founder, Bruce Allen citing This Announcement, claims a relationship between Silva and Boston.com, a subsidy of The Boston Globe, which is in turn a property of The New York Times Company, and thinks Silva should be held to the same standard as mainline journalists. This came about after Boston Dirt Dogs fell victim to an email hoax concerning former Boston Red Sox superstar Nomar Garciaparra. Allen sent an inquiry to Boston.com editor Teresa M. Hanafin, who replied " Oh, Bruce, please -- spare me. It's a blog, for God's sake. Lighten up. Given some of the content on your website, you're hardly in a position to be flinging mud." But the question remains: Should a major newspaper company sponsor a blog without holding it to the same standards it tries to follow, especially if said blog blurs the line between truth and satire?
posted by lobstah (18 comments total)
posted by fenriq at 3:29 PM on March 2, 2005

That sounds like an argument for it, lobstah. The blog gives them or some of their minions to operate with more fredom than they might otherwise be able to. Blogs are opinion pieces even if the line seems blurred to certain readers. See also, War of the Worlds.
posted by geekyguy at 3:49 PM on March 2, 2005

Normally, I'd agree. Boston Dirt Dogs however, is more like the bastard son of Sports Illustrated and National Lampoon. Outlandish tales mixed in with real news is IMO, a dangerous combination. The problem is, Silva tries to make himself out to be an " Insider", and some people buy into it. Go one way or the other, but don't try to be both.
posted by lobstah at 4:02 PM on March 2, 2005

Blogs that try to be funny and news don't work unless they point out where they are trying to be funny and where they are trying to be authoritative. And even then, the messaging is muddled. Pick one or the other and roll with it, ya know?

But my feeling is that a blog that's being published by a media company should be held to a higher standard. They're branching into a new medium but they should be focused on the integrity of the information they deliver, not the new medium.

Blogs being used by companies should be held to a higher standard than a private person blogging about their pinched nerve in their back or how hot the girls were at the bar the other night.
posted by fenriq at 4:13 PM on March 2, 2005

You know as I spelled freedom incorrectly it struck me that they are not looking for freedoms that could be found on the boston.com op/ed pages but instead some faux street cred by being a blogger.
posted by geekyguy at 4:13 PM on March 2, 2005

Very interesting ... and topical. Brings to mind the recent, relevant and on-going dialogue/debate about "blogging and journalism."

Are bloggers journalists? [Christian Science Monitor | Feburary 02, 2005]

and ...

A Bloggers' Code of Ethics [CyberJournalist.net]

As well, the world's oldest Sunday paper, The Observer, launched a blog last week. It includes a statement from the Observer editor, indicating that a blog provides a new level of transparency for the print publication.
posted by ericb at 4:24 PM on March 2, 2005

I just want to add three things :

1st, I wish someone would fix my FPP errors...I guess the spellchecker ( and a nice merlot) failed me.

2nd, I really enjoy Boston Dirt Dogs, but I have learned to take his "scoops" with at least a tablespoon of salt.

3rd, I am happy to see blogs embraced by mainstream media, But I think "DD" is not a good choice for The Globe. There is a history of BS associated with his site, and there are some blogs more worthy of sponsorship.
posted by lobstah at 4:51 PM on March 2, 2005

your 1st wish has been granted.
posted by jessamyn at 4:56 PM on March 2, 2005

Lobstah-- I'm with you on points 2 & 3. But even though DD isn't the best ever Sox blog, and it's not the choice I would make if I were running the Globe, I still don't think that the Globe should be expected to hold Dirt Dogs to its own standards. The topic, style, format, content, and personnel of DD are very evidently completely different from those of the Globe. People regard them as having separate goals and standards. The linking from the Globe's site doesn't muddy this separateness.
posted by ibmcginty at 4:58 PM on March 2, 2005

oops on preview, look like my errors were fixed... Thanks
posted by lobstah at 4:59 PM on March 2, 2005

This is the part that troubles me:
From The New York Times Company press release:

As part of the deal, Steven Silva, founder of Boston Dirt Dogs, will join Boston.com starting June 7 as a sports producer. Later in June, Boston Dirt Dogs will relaunch as a feature within the Boston.com sports section.
posted by lobstah at 5:08 PM on March 2, 2005

Fair enough, that language is troubling. But here we are 9 months later and there is no confusion that DD is a separate entity from Boston.com. If it were Globe reporters running the blog, that would be different. But linking to it doesn't create the same issues as the Observer setting up its own blog. If the line between Boston.com and DD blurs, though, as the press release indicates is possible, there could be problems.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:14 PM on March 2, 2005

i think we all have a responsibility for the truth ... whatever we do
posted by pyramid termite at 7:02 PM on March 2, 2005

Ona related note -- Hiawatha Bray, a Boston Globe technology columnist, has been called out for blog comment posts he made slamming John Kerry.
posted by Cassford at 6:27 AM on March 3, 2005

Dan Kennedy at Medialog posted a bit about this too.

I read BDD occasionally, but since the whole A-ROD is coming to Boston, mark my words, or I'll shut down the site thing happpened, I'm more inclined to believe Drudge than Silva.

Soxaholix and the hopefully soon to be revived Bambino's Curse are much better Sox blogs, IMHO, and they're more deserving of suckling on the sweet teat of the Times Corporation.
posted by BigFatWhale at 2:58 PM on March 3, 2005

Yeah, I love Soxaholix too, and I really miss Bambino's Curse . BTW, this FPP was in today's Soxaholix strip. I was kind of disappointed that this didn't get more of a run here. I think it raises some important issues. Maybe I should have worded it a little better.

PS. I really like your cartoons, BigFatWhale
posted by lobstah at 3:52 PM on March 3, 2005

Garciaparra is not a Red Sox Superstar, inasmuch as he now plays for the Cubs, and is hated by Boston for his constant pouting and bench-warming. This is relevant inasmuch as i can say inasmuch. Also, A-Rod is a slap-happy cheat. BDD rules! *Remembers A-Rod contract (Seattle), swearing his only desire is to play for a contender, then accepts 252 mil to play for the worst team in league, inasmuch as Texas was the next team he went to!*
posted by uni verse at 1:23 PM on March 10, 2005

Whoops. You did say former. I'll go home now.
posted by uni verse at 1:24 PM on March 10, 2005

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