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Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Links (4/17)

It's Friday, and for once, I'm actually taking the weekend off. I'll be heading to the fine city of Columbus on Saturday for a spectacular concert featuring a Journey cover band. I know, you're jealous.

So, this will be the last post of the week. If you haven't checked out my post from yesterday on Georgia's top spring performers, however, it should help kill some time if you are in great need of reading material.

Also, a couple of big things coming next week...

First, we're going to launch a new series in which we'll get some inside info on spring practice from each of Georgia's 11 BCS-conference opponents this season, along with the rest of the SEC.

Second, I'll be spending a bit of time in the car to drive north where I'm visiting family and heading up to New York, where I'll be covering the NFL draft live from Radio City. If you're not already following me on Twitter, you can sign up now and be ready for our draft coverage.

Now, on to a heaping helping of links...

-- Mark Richt says Georgia will be more of a team without its superstars. I agree with his premise, but I must say, I'm disappointed that Richt appears to use the "blame the media" cop out. Perhaps I'm bias in defending the media, but this just seems like the oldest excuse there is, and I have always thought Richt was above it.

Were Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno the most talked about and written about players last year? Absolutely. But part of the media's job is to get the stories people want to hear. It is not the media's job to maintain locker room chemistry. It's the job of the coaches and the players. If we ran nothing but stories about walk-ons and punters, we'd be out of business (OK, out of business even sooner).

I think what Richt really means with his quote in that story is that he thinks this year Georgia feels like more of a team, but to bring up "the media" in his argument is unfair. Besides, I'm not sure what "media" he means, because I read virtually every inch of local coverage on a daily basis, and I think the coverage of the two stars was far less at Georgia than it has been of, say, Tim Tebow at Florida. Truth is, Stafford and Moreno were far from great quotes, and that probably got them out of the spotlight more than most superstars.

-- Forget Brian Van Gorder. The Love of Sports has a story about the real tough man of Georgia defensive coordinators: Erk Russell.

-- Chattanooga's David Paschall talks with CBS about the network's planned coverage of the SEC in 2009. Georgia Sports Blog has more details, along with a first draft of what Georgia's timeslots might be.

-- The Orlando Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler writes that Georgia has reminders of last year's loss to Florida plastered everywhere in its locker room.

-- I wish Rivals would have made this a free article, because it's a story every Georgia fan should read. Bryan Evans is using his ties to the program to help raise money for a former high school rival who is now paralyzed from the neck down.

-- The Buffalo News writes that this year's running back class -- including Knowshon Moreno -- aren't exactly speed demons.

-- Chris Low has the first installment of crazy Tennesse coaches: Ed Orgeron is ready for his big-screen debut.

-- And Get the Picture has installment No. 2: UT has to report a secondary recruiting violation after Lane Kiffin attempts to find closure on the whole "gas pumping" incident.

-- The top-ranked Georgia men's golf team will face some stiff competition in the SEC Men's Golf Championship.

-- Georgia closer Dean Weaver is on the watch list for the top reliever honors.

-- Catfish & Cornbread has a collection of unrelated yet still worthwhile thoughts on Georgia sports.

-- First the Iron Bowl might move to Friday and now Kenny Stabler is out as Alabama's color man. I suppose next you're going to tell me that Bear Bryant is dead.

-- Doc Saturday should probably be expecting a not-so-pleasant phone call from Mitch Mustain's mommy and daddy after this story.

-- The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal stole my joke already.

-- Just when it looks like we might be rid of Frank Calliendo, the fate balances the obnoxiousness level by bringing this back into our lives.

-- But wait! We're back on the plus side of the ledger with this news: ESPN and Stephen A. Smith have parted ways.

The previous three posts remind me of one of my favorite exchanges on "The Simpsons"...

Shopkeeper: Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
Homer: Ooh, that's bad.
Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free frogurt!
Homer: That's good.
Shopkeeper: The frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: That's bad.
Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of toppings.
Homer: That's good!
Shopkeeper: The toppings contain potassium benzoate.
Homer: (silence...)
Shopkeeper: ...That's bad.
Homer: Can I go now?

-- I loved the "Star Wars" reference in Wednesday's "Lost" episode, but the New York Times thinks it's totally played.

-- And finally, Matthew Stafford is just the latest in a long line of "can't miss" QBs to get tons of hype before the draft. Some have turned out to be every bit the star people predicted, others have fallen far short. But Todd Marinovich is as cautionary a tale as there has ever been, and his story in the new Esquire is an absolute must read. (And it's a long one, so perhaps print it out and tell you're boss you'll be away from your desk for the next few hours.)

OK, have a great weekend, folks!


Anonymous said...

I think the point, and it is a valid one, is that the media has a bias in reporting. And I'm not talking about liberal or conservative...but that they have a bias to reporting what will drive ad revenue vs. what is truly news/opinions that people should hear. The news business has become too much about what sells newspapers, ad space, etc. That is what is so sad about today's news reporting. Freedom of the press, has become a cover for just more advertising. And more than anything, that is why newspapers are going out of business.

"part of the media's job is to get the stories people want to hear"

Wrong...the media's job is to get the stories people should want to hear. Getting the stories that people want to hear is how we went from journalism to Hollywood Extra.

David Hale said...

All due respect, Anon, but there has to be a balance of the two. Listen, I share your complaints as much as anyone. It kills me to see newspapers essentially stop caring about journalism. But the bottom line is that newspapers are an independent, profit-driven industry (as are radio and TV -- if you don't count NPR). If you don't do enough of what sells, then there's no paper or TV show or radio broadcast to share any other message.

It's about balancing the wants of the public with the needs of the public. I'm not saying that balance hasn't gotten out of whack over the years, but it's a balance you HAVE to have in order to survive.

And to the more central issue -- I think Stafford and Moreno WERE the more important story on many occasions last season, so in that case, those stories fulfilled both obligations of a news outlet.

Mike In Valdosta said...

Perhaps I am wrong, but didn't Rennie Curran receive about the same amount of attention?

As far as media "bias" or sensationalism, I will take it. Non-profit, all too often, means non-quality. Government run media, well there are countries that have it, but I do not see a waiting line at their front door.

One beauty of our times is our ability to find new and unique sources of information. This allows us to compare and contrasts and form our own opinions as to the veracity and motivations of the author/producer/commentator/pundit/ and yes blogger.

Personally, I never needed Peter Jennings or Dan Rather to tell me what should be important to me. J-SChool professors with an uber-ego issues believe it is their job to determine relevance. In the process of determining this relevance, their personal views always come into play. This leads to constant calls for change simply to validate the effectiveness of their work.

"Fair and balanced" may be a pipe dream, but "We report, you decide" is a worthy ideal.

David Hale said...

Great points, Mike. Very well said.

Bernie said...

This is getting a long way from the Stafford/Moreno debate, but to a large degree, the public has gone from those Walter Cronkite days of just a handful of outlets, to overly salivating at salacious and sensational "journalism". If the public didn't want the crap, the print and television and radio wouldn't shovel it so much.

As far as journalists, whether they are Georgia beat writers or nationally syndicated superstars - I lend my eyes, my ears, my "clicks" and my $$ very carefully. Cuz in all honesty the bad ones are fairly easy to pick out.

brew said...

Stephen A. Smith has been slowly losing responsibility over the last year at ESPN, and many have questioned whether his time with the "Leader" was up. Well according to The Big Lead, that time is upon us, and Smith's contract won't be renewed this May....
Stephen A. Smith-going-bye-bye/While this is obviously still a rumor, it seems to make sense. SAS has been phased out of NBA work for the most part, and really only appears on First Take from time to time. So where does he go next? My first thought is that he will expand on his CNN appearances, but SI and Fanhouse are still out there. It's not like he doesn't have options.

the anonymous suckup said...

Am I the only one who physically shuddered when Anon 9:57 said, "the media's job is to get the stories people should want to hear"?

The notion of Dan Rather, or some newspaper editor (no offense, David), or Anon 9:57 determining what I SHOULD want to hear...or watch...or frightening. I'll determine what news I SHOULD consume for myself, thank you. That's why I have a remote control and a mouse, and I use them as I see fit. Thank goodness I have many options and the freedom to pick and choose among them.

Anonymous said...

On a light hearted note, I just want to thank DH. After nearly not providing links last friday (but coming in the clutch thanks to my comparison to Frank Shirley), you have more than redeemed yourself on this friday. It is now 12:11 and I have just finished reading the Todd Marinovich article. I think I might just take lunch now. Thanks Lord Hale!

David Hale said...

No problem, Anon... it's the least I can do for a fellow Christmas Vacation aficionado.

Suckup... Your post is at the essence of what makes journalism so complicated. Do any of you guys really WANT to read a story I write about recruiting violations at Georgia? I'm sure not, but as a journalist, it's my job to write it. At the same time, should I write 50 stories on Drew Butler next year just because the punter is an important part of the game? Absolutely not. Stories about Rennie or Joe Cox or AJ get a lot more page views and readers, and I need to take that into consideration, too.

Like I said, it's a balance. People want to read about celebrity meltdowns, so the media runs stories on it. But there are plenty of stories -- from school board meetings to Abu Ghraib -- that people don't WANT to read, but that a journalist NEEDS to report.

Again though, as you said, in the end, it all comes down to whether you choose to read it.

David Hale said...

One other thing on this guys...

I just want to say I'm really happy to at least see an intelligent debate on all this.

My biggest fear as a reporter isn't the fall of newspapers or the lost jobs, although those things suck.

My biggest fear is that the public doesn't care. It's good to see discussions like this that remind me that isn't the case.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

the anonymous suckup said...


I just want to make sure you get my point. I have no problem with anything you've done. I agree with you. You should write (and link to) what you think interests your readers. While it is accurate to say that I don't literally WANT to read a story about recruiting violations at UGA, I will certainly read it because that is information that I want to have.

In a broader sense, you are right when you say the public craves stories about celebrity meltdowns. I, on the other hand, most definitely do not. Thank goodness I have lots of news sources, and all of them aren't telling me about Britney Spears 24 hours a day.

Once again, I have no problem with you, David. I had a bone to pick with Anon 9:57 for deigning to tell me what news I "should" want to consume. If some of my response splashed on you, it was inadvertent. Perhaps I could've worded it better.

David Hale said...

No worries, Suckup. I think your points were valid, I just was hoping to clarify things too.

The beauty of living in this great country at this point in history is that we have access to almost any information we could possibly want. That means good comes with the bad. But the marketplace of ideas has never been more crowded, and I can't help but think -- much like you said -- that's to the overall benefit of society. But it also relies on all of us to be intelligent consumers.

Thanks again for your thoughts. I enjoy reading them.

Gen. Stoopnagle said...

David, you're dead on here. But really, what else is the sports page but a place to just give people what they want? Sports is almost purely entertainment, it's not the most important thing newspapers report on.

And that's sort of how I take anon 9:57's comment. Not that some high and mighty editor should decide what the hoi polli are going to get (although, I'd wager that's pretty much what happens), but that newspapers and their kin have a responsibility to report as accurately and honestly as possible on issues of importance to the public (whether the public realizes their importance or not). Which is different than how others have interpreted it.

Where I would disagree with 9:57 is on the point of becoming too revenue oriented. It's ALWAYS been revenue oriented. You can go back to the Election of 1800 and see that newspapers actively engaged in the electoral process without any pretense to objectivity. They highlighted scandal (Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemmings was widely reported in the press - not really as fact, but as innuendo by Federalist papers). And they did that to corner a readership and sell papers. In a sense, we've sort of come full-circle with news media. When in the early days of the Republic, there were Jeffersonian papers or Whig papers; now we've got Fox and MSNBC flaunting their ideological bonafades.

You needn't worry, though, Dave. The only part of the newspaper I read is the sports anymore. The rest is just too depressing or frustrating for me.

Gen. Stoopnagle said...

Oh, and thanks for linking that Marinovic article. It was a good read.

AppleDawg said...

I agree with some that I think Richt does in fact have a legit gripe yet I also agree that using it as an excuse really won't fly

The media loves to just throw stories/hype down our throat even when there shouldn't be and though the media will claim they are giving us what we want, I don't really agree as I think we would take other legit topics as well

David Hale said...

I agree with you to an extent, AppleDawg, but the term "the media" is a big generalization. Are we talking ESPN? Yeah, they over-sensationalize a lot of stuff. But on the local level, I've never gotten the impression that Stafford/Moreno were made into a bigger story than they really were.

But, either way, it's the job of the coaches and players to avoid "media hype."