Weighing in on the Deadspin Debate

Big Red NetworkSenior Writer IMay 21, 2008

Those of you who watch HBO or visit Deadspin.com, or who perhaps catch the kind of viral videos that circulate e-mail and the net may have seen this excerpt from Costas Now.

It’s easy for those in the blogging community to get drawn into the battle. Are blogs good or bad? Are newspapers obsolete? Is one better than the other?

If you watch the piece it’s probably fair to say that if you were a blogger you wouldn’t necessarily elect Leitch to be your spokesman. Although, Buzz Bissinger didn’t exactly make newspapers seem particularly classy. And Bob Costas’ assertion that he didn’t have a dog in the fight because he’s on TV was laughable. The internet is absolutely stealing attention from TV. It’s stealing ad revenue. And sites like YouTube allow anyoneto broadcast video just as blogs allow anyone to print stories. Many blogs already do both.

Here’s my two cents. I too am concerned at the current state of newspapers and television. Not when it comes to sports content. Let’s face it, printing an entire sports section or running sports content isn’t disseminating “need-to-know” information. It’s pandering to what your audience wants and while it may be non-fiction, it’s still essentially entertainment. And when it comes to entertainment, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

I’m more concerned that newspapers and major networks served a useful purpose for a democracy. By maintaining high ethical standards and investing a great deal of money in deep investigative research and reporting they absolutely serve to advance the interests of a free society. Unfortunately, the financial pain these outlets are feeling is causing them to make drastic cuts. It’s bringing down the quality. In other words, we now have a harder time knowing what to believe. And that’s just flat out depressing.

But we don’t need a healthy free press to follow sports. If the information we get about our sports is imperfect. So what? If anything, the competition between print, television, and the internet only bring us more flavors of a snack we already love. Visitors to the Big Red Network know we love Nebraska football. If anything, that’s why they’re here.

The Lincoln Journal-Star’s Steve Sipple can get stories I can't. I can say things Steve Sipple can’t. Why is that? Because if Bo Pelini gets angry enough he could deny Sipple information and access. That could cost Sipple his job. We don’t have that vulnerability. So we continue to do what we do. I hope someone will always continue to do what Steve does, because we rely on that access too.

There’s room for both. Someone close to the story and someone further away. Someone instructed to fight their biases and someone free to maintain them. It doesn’t have to be either or. But then, this is only a hobby for me. Maybe it would be different if I were Bissinger and needing some good paychecks in order to retire or trying to make blogging a career.