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The Oregonian's John Canzano: The Leader in Critical Writing

Philip DodsonCorrespondent IAugust 9, 2010

The editor's of the Oregonian in Portland, Oregon know they have a good thing on their hands.  Researching and writing about the world of sports, John Canzano has the ability to produce polarizing reports that have an easy ability to reach the emotions of his readers. Since 2003, he has found a way to become the most disliked, and controversial talking head in the state of Oregon.

Fans of the Portland Trail Blazers and Oregon Duck athletics are far from turning to the dark-side and becoming Canzano supporters.  From California to the Midwest, Canzano is working with his sixth newspaper and his resume includes membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Professional Football Writers Association.  

With the absence of the NFL and MLB in the state of Oregon, Canzano focuses the majority of his time on Pac-10 athletics, the NBA,  Portland State, and a touch of Seattle sports.  A less then entertaining three hours of radio, the Oregonian writer has hosted the "Bald-Faced Truth" for local sports fans for five years too long.

The ability to create controversy with pure bluntness is a tactic that has worked well for Canzano.  He is commonly considered the most recognizable sports writer in the state.  Listeners and readers will follow Canzano out of hate, love, and unpredictability.  For every supporter he has lost, the controversy associated with his work gains him even more attention.

The power of print and radio personalities can not be underestimated.  Canzano's work uncovers and promotes the emotions of athletes, coaches, ownership, and the entire community.  He is very well respected in national writing circles, and has found a way to balance critical writing while still maintaining working relationships.

The man seems to thrive on the harsh reactions of his readers. Much like a celebrity he will take negative attention over no attention.  Here is a very brief refresher (the list is endless) to the critical reporting of Canzano during his time with the Oregonian:

Canzano Doubting Former Blazer Damon Stoudemire

Covering the Blazers during the 2003-2004 season, Canzano wrote an article doubting the sincerity of Stoudemire ridding the use of marijuana after the guard was arrested for a third time.  The Portland native offered a voluntary urine test, and midway through the season the writer appeared in the Blazer locker room to take up the offer.

The moment came during a downward spiral of a once proud organization. Stoudemire passed the test, resulting in national publicity for Canzano's antics and landing him a guest role on the Dan Patrick Show. Labeled as the "Jail Blazers" and quickly losing community support, Canzano was successful in spreading a level of national disrespect for the team to support the agenda of his career.

The Radio Bashing of Oregon Coach Chip Kelly

In an early 2010 airing of the "Bald-Faced Truth", Canzano dug into Kelly in regards to the state of Oregon football.  The program had recently seen an abundance of issues regarding the conduct of players off the field. The radio host displayed his inherit ability to treat his guests like the staggering guy at the end of the bar.

Speaking with pure bias and opinion, Canzano proceeded to cut into the second-year Oregon coach about the lack of discipline in the program.  He even went as far to say that many in the athletic department questioned the leadership abilities of Kelly in a major football program.

The Press Box with Colleen Bellotti

In 2007, Canzano wrote an article about the two recent DUI's of coach Mike Bellotti's son.  While readers flocked to the column, the Oregonian writer had placed the digressions of a young man in the community eye.  Bellotti's wife Colleen, was far from pleased with the release of this article.  A man who commonly questions the ethics of those privileged to compete, Canzano himself had publicly used his reporting skills at the expense of a young man.

Colleen's displeasure met Canzano inside the Autzen Stadium press box, in an embarrassing incident that Canzano would later recall to his readers.

To Conzano's credit he has received plenty of recognition as one of the nations best sportswriters.  His columns are insightful, to the point, and leaves readers pondering the topic and Canzano's mindset.  In contrast to the employees of the Oregon Sports Network and our beloved Blazer analysts Mike and Mike, Canzano isn't paid to play the role of a homer.

He wasn't present during the glory days of  "Rip City" or the depressing play of Duck and Beaver football for decades at a time.  Canzano has no connection to these sporting communities and most likely never will.  The author and on-air personality is a smart man, he has been blessed with a personality and the reporting skills to spark controversy and heated emotions with his work.  As his work and reputation grows, so will the ever increasing possibility he will as well.

In my personal opinion, Canzano will be moving on to bigger things in the near future, leaving an absence of critical reporting in the world of Blazer and Oregon athletics.

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