Dismissed!

A couple of weeks ago, a bunch of us bloggers “[fell] over each other…trying to solve the great marketing problems of racing,” in the Twittering words of o_crunk.

That wave having passed, the topic de la semaine seems to be the world of racing writing: I wrote about it on Monday; Claire Novak’s on it at the Blood-Horse; yesterday, Paul Moran weighed in.

And with a few well-placed (key)strokes, he swept the table clean of blogs, sending them crashing to the floor, splintering them into bits, leaving behind a pristine table, populated only by the few worthy bits of writing left.

Ouch. I think I’m bleeding.

Any response will be seen as self-serving; okay, guilty. But I must protest (dissenters will say too much), and try to rescue a few shards of internet writing on racing before they are swept into the dustbin.

Internet writers, bloggers—call them what you will (and who calls them journalists? Certainly not we)–have, in Moran’s estimation, “contributed little to either the journalism or literature of racing.”

(Now I need a Band-Aid. Or maybe stitches.)

Those are lofty goals, certainly worth discussing in a blog post devoted to Eclipse Award winning writing, as Moran’s was. As Moran notes, “If any of this material was born in the ‘new media’ is (sic) was not apparent.”

And really, one can certainly agree that internet writing has little place in such a conversation, given the criteria for the awards:

Print submissions (news/commentary writing, feature/enterprise writing and photography) must have been published in a paid-circulation publication OR on the Internet at a web site that is a same-name affiliate of a paid-circulation publication or recognized broadcast news organization (e.g., The Blood-Horse Interactive, the Boston Globe Online, MSNBC). (NTRA)

Bloggers, there’s the door. Watch the broken glass.

So none of us internet writing types is going to be eligible for an Eclipse Awards any time soon. But let’s return to that idea of contributing to the journalism and literature of racing.

A few years ago, Jessica Chapel at Railbird and Raceday360 wrote extensively on the implosion of the Jockeys’ Guild; more recently, Alan Mann at Left at the Gate provided as much—more?–in-depth coverage of the NYRA franchise situation as any professional writer at a major publication; I will immodestly point to my work on the synthetic forum at Saratoga last summer.

Eclipse worthy? Not even qualified, alas. Maybe a Pulitzer? OK, maybe not. But surely, a contribution, however small, however meager, given that in some cases, what we published wasn’t published anywhere else, certainly not in the detail with which we wrote. Apologies to those who have done similar work to which I am not referring here.

A blogging friend wrote to me today, suggesting a disclaimer on the site: “I do not presume to be a journalist.” Perhaps, at the top of our sites, “Warning: you are entering a non-journalistic zone. Proceed at your own risk.”

Rather like, I would think, treading carefully across a floor strewn with broken glass, after those who have broken it have safely stepped away.

With thanks to Dana Byerly of Green but Game and Jessica Chapel for both their intentional and unwitting contributions to this.

14 thoughts on “Dismissed!

  1. I would love to comment on this, but since I’ve now been told by a true journalist how little you have to say, I refuse to even admit that I have read this blog.I’m so ashamed that I insist on remaining anonymous.

  2. One thing I feel is at the crux of it all is the changing of how journalists will now be paid. It is not journalism that is dying but rather “Print Journalism”. Journalism is alive and well, widely available on the web instead of in print in the form of a newspaper delivered to your mailbox every morning. I love newspapers (like most of my kind over the age of 40) but have accepted the fact that they are dying.Many fine journalists have been writing and blogging on the Web. The problem is the articles they write are now available on the internet competing with fine articles written by Alan Mann, yourself and others, who are writing for Free or I dare speculate for meager site advertising money amounting to pennies a day in payment for your posts. This really hurts the actual print journalists trying to make a go of it on the web regarding how they are paid. The smart web publications will just pay them less, knowing that there are many bloggers who will write articles maybe not as good, but certainly for less money, even for no money at all that they can just “hire”.The desire to write blogs is unbelievable, many writing despite “real” full time jobs. People, especially the young are used to sitting in front of the computer for many, many, hours a day, often over 20 hours a day. For them to write an article, a post or a blog -about anything for free is no big deal. Many more bloggers will join in and almost all of them will do if for next to nothing monetarily. Welcome to the Global Economy.

  3. I like your metaphor. Of course, one wonders if the dearth of interesting commentary from ‘official’ channels could have a wee bit to do with why there are so many blogs…

  4. I’m always surprised by the presumption that bloggers want to be journalists. No doubt some do but every single one? I suspect it will take some time for people to get that there can be separate mediums that have their own strengths and weaknesses and that serve different purposes. There is certainly value in each approach.To me it’s also the either/or mentality that we see lead to “discussions” about fans vs. players… like they both can’t exist. It’s a bit maddening.

  5. Gosh, I thought I posted for the joy of sharing this game with other enthusiasts/horseplayers. Dana, I concur.I’ll have to remember to hit spell check. After all, now I know there are “real” journalists feeling the heat as Ryan alluded to :)!Great stuff Teresa!

  6. Paul sounds a bit miffed by the bloggers popularity. I for one enjoy the bloggers perspective more than the “serious” journalists. Keep up the good work!

  7. Weighing in on the journalism vs. writing for the internet debate …. think the one thing that drives good journalists is the unremitting need not just to “get the story” but to get the story when no one else has it. There is little of one’s personal experience evident in a news story; most blogs are steeped in it. That being said, painstaking research (which, along with a keen eye for observation and a passion for the sport, separates your blog from the rest) is an largely unseen component of journalism at its best. Reporting and writing are not separate functions but two sides of the same function, and that is what I personally think differentiates blogging from journalism. Does it make one “better” than the other? Not at all. The more voices, the better, and if Thomas Jefferson were around today he might have said something about rather living in a nation without a government than in a nation without newspapers … internet writers.

  8. Bloggers unite! Thanks, everyone, for reading and for commenting, and for all the perspectives you’ve brought to the conversation.On The Lead, I appreciate the distinctions that you note–they are important ones. What continues to amaze me is the “either/or” mentality of which Dana speaks–surely there’s room for responsible, thought-provoking writing of all sorts, regardless of provenance and regardless of how it’s labelled.

  9. hmmm. I have a real journalism degree and yet I blog. Seems to me that blogging isn’t all that far removed from from the op/ed page. Sounds like journalism to me, just unpaid and uninfluenced. Nah, can it be?

  10. Paul sounds bitter about the fact that some people who have never lurked in the gloomy confines of the press box are actually developing a following.I don’t read alot of blogs. I read this one, and Jessica’s and those at DRF and sometime Blood Horse and Paulick. I read each for something different.

  11. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation at all, but since Mr. Moran feels there are only players and no fans, it leads me to believe that he is the one who simply wants to have things his way. There are many of these TBA blogs that I enjoy reading and feel like I’m always learning something new also. Therefore, I thank all of you underpaid and misunderstood for all that you are doing to enhance horse racing. Thanks.

  12. Thanks, folks, for reading and for the comments. I am amazed at how much conversation this topic–in all the places that it’s been written about–has engendered, and it feels like that can only be good for racing, because it means that the folks who love the sport are talking about it can best be represented, analyzed, and discussed.And you, anon@12:21 today, are my new best friend!

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