Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quick Note

I was going to comment in the thread on the previous post but it was getting a little lengthy and I wanted to make sure no one missed it so here's a quick post for today.

First of all, I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read the Mike Harrington interview so far. I want to especially thank you for some really honest and interesting comments on part two yesterday.

In the interest of fairness, our conversation about the relationship between the fans of Buffalo and the media of Buffalo was cut down quite a bit. Mike and I went back and forth on that for much longer than what was included in the final post. I took a lot of it out for various reasons - it was really long, it was very circular and we really kind of ended up in the same place. In retrospect I probably should have zeroed in on that part a little more because I shouldn't be at all surprised that so many of you responded to that part of the discussion the same way I did. With a lot of frustration and a little disappointment.

I want to make it very clear to you (and to Mike), that I like him and his work immensely. I think he's one of the best writers at the Buffalo News and I think he's a really good guy. He was, I think, very honest and candid with me. That said, I agree with almost all of your comments yesterday. The Buffalo News sports department is a joke. One thing I struggled in getting across to Mike is that when people say that, they're not criticizing the level of talent on staff or the fact that their job requires sometimes telling fans things they might not want to hear. They're criticizing the underlying attitude toward the fans i.e. the people buying and reading their product. Certain writers at TBN have regularly taken it upon themselves to tell us what we should be doing and how we should be behaving which is especially insulting considering Mike's "We don't need to be in touch with the audience" answer in yesterday's portion of our interview. Clearly, they've separated themselves from us and that's fine. They're not fans. But don't trumpet how objective and removed you are from fandom and how you can't risk being compromised by emotions and then try to hand down guidelines on how I should go about being a fan because fans are in the business of being emotional and irrational. You're a journalist. We're fans. You don't like us telling you how you should be writing, we don't like you telling us how we should and should not be supporting our teams. I really genuinely do not understand what's so hard about that concept. You can show me all the press awards you want and it's not going to change my opinion on this because again, the issue is not talent, it's attitude and it's a lack of respect.

Here's the truth as I see it. Most of the writers in the Buffalo News sports section thinks we're stupid. Oh, sure, they may think some fans here and there are intelligent or informed but they think most of us are stupid. And instead of taking the opportunity to challenge us with new ideas and angles and opinions, they write to the lowest common denominator which means their coverage is often lazy and repetitive and insulting to those of us who do have brains. Again, I don't think they need to behave like us and I don't think they even necessarily need to like us. But they need to respect us. Don't treat us like we're idiots please. That's all we're asking.

(This post is totally half-assed but I need to leave for the airport like, 10 minutes ago. Maybe I'll expound later.)

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