Good day to you all….
Not sure if TLG has a day’s play review coming up, but we’ll get something later. (UPDATE – He is. Don’t worry TLG, post as soon as it is ready…)
There’s been a bit of a break from me (again) this week or so. I have a rule with this blog that if I am off sick from work I do not write posts on here. It’s not right, and I am not about to take the mickey out of an employer, no matter how much the provocation. The odd comment here and there, but no posts. But I am back fit and well, so there are opportunities for me to get back into it. I do know I still owe the patrons the rest of the review of 2015, including the May entry which, as many of you might know, was the record month for hits. All in the future, when I get around to it.
I thought I’d pick up on some of TLG’s observations in his excellent piece on Day 1 of the test. The thought is that we (I) might have over-reacted to the witterings of an idiot or two on Twitter, but TLG was right to say, yet again (and if you can sense the frustration in my “writing voice” as I put this down for the umpteenth time) that neither he nor I have any desire whatsoever to be journalists. Before some smart arse thinks they can do it for me, I need to get something off my chest.
Not be a journalist? What does that mean? If it means getting paid then TLG’s assertion is about 95% true in my case, as I’ve long held a dream of being the English bloke who brought American sports to the UK in terms of writing as one day I might live out there, and perhaps be recompensed for it. I dipped my toe in the water just over a year ago. For a few weeks in 2014 I wrote a couple of pieces for a website, they never got published, and I never claimed for the work – basically, after tax on the earnings from it, it was not a great use of my time. I never bothered with it afterwards. So it’s not strictly true that I didn’t want to get paid for what I do, it’s just I never wanted to get paid for doing this blog. We don’t have donate buttons, we’ll never take on paid advertising, and speaking for myself, I’ll keep this going for as long as I can.
I have made absolutely no pretence throughout the life of this blog that it reflects my views in my posts. You can choose to agree or disagree. I don’t speak for anyone other than myself, or if the blog is challenged, the people who come on here and contribute in the way that they should. I do get annoyed at people who wilfully misrepresent what we say, act as some sort of gatekeepers for the media, or worse still, act like they give a shit on here, and then run off elsewhere and slag us off. I don’t expect everyone to like us, good grief no. I’m not that naive.
But if they want to accuse us of being journalists, then let’s have the evidence. Because it’s not new. My first ever blog was derided as being tragic. I thought it was nonsense then. We write on cricket here, but don’t want it as a profession, and don’t get paid, nor have access to players, administrators or, in many cases, those who do get paid to report. I don’t consider this journalism.
But what is journalism? The online definition when “journalism” is input to Google is…
the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television.
We write, but not for newspapers or magazines and we don’t have broadcasting capabilities (although one day we might try to do a podcast – already have a name if we do it “The KCC”). The difference between blogging and journalism can be defined by the medium of transmission, but I don’t think that’s what the likes of Agnew and Etheridge, to name two, are on about. They are on about the years of “hard yards”, the slog to get where they are, the contacts, the ability to access information, the way they go about their writing, the time it has taken to develop these skills. I’m not denying that at all. But I don’t pretend to be that, and I don’t want to be that.
However, I also think they subscribe to the journalist Saleem Khan’s description (Saleem being a full-time journalist at the time this was published)
The blogger vs. journalist debate is (in my view) primarily an old-guard one promoted by traditionalists who regard bloggers as unreliable, non-authoritative sources of information vs. journalists who are viewed as reliable and authoritative under this model. (I believe it’s an argument that stems from journalists’ self-preservation instinct, meant to warn people away from bloggers and convince them to go to journalists to stay informed as traditional news outlets’ fortunes wane.)
The reality is not so black and white. Bloggers have diligently investigated and reported news stories that had been ignored and eventually made it to mainstream news outlets, and professional journalists have reported unverified, unreliable and ultimately false stories as fact.
Bloggers may be subject-area experts with deep professional training, experience and knowledge of a topic that is often greater than a journalist (or they may not be).
Journalists may also be domain experts with extensive training and experience, but are more likely to come by their specialized knowledge of a topic over time through sources they interview.
We write, by and large, opinion pieces. We delve into “facts” when it comes to some of the stats, and we try to piece together what is going on from the shreds of evidence we come across, but after all that, most of our pieces are our opinion of what we have gleaned. We don’t think we are right all the time, but judging by some of the reactions we get, we don’t think we are miles off the mark on much of our stuff either. If this poses a “threat” then I suggest those that feel that way get used to it.
Those from the journalistic side who now snort at us were more than willing, when times were very tough and a lot of shot and shell was fired around them, to come and talk on here, or DM me, or engage on Twitter. How odd it is, post-Ashes, that any of our interactions now tend to be short, have diminished in number, or are now totally ignored. No, I’m not begging them to come back, and no, I don’t get the hump if someone else talks to them. I just get amused by their transparency of motive then and opacity of approach now. As I said, The Ashes win saved more than just the England team, it kept the media corps in clover too. There’s the offers to explain what they do, as if it’s a huge secret, sure. But where there was regular contact and dialogue, there’s not a lot.
A blogger has to be more personal. Has to develop relationships with their respondents, take on board their views, have an inkling what people might want to read if they are to come back to read more. But it is also about being your own boss, your own editor (yeah, I’m bad at that) and having your own style. If it works, it works. Hey, this works.
Personally, I’m just a fan of the sport writing about it, and writing about how it is reported. I choose to have just one title, if I was forced. Blogger. That is all.