clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Knock this crap off!

New, comments

An open letter to Bay Area 'journalists'

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to preface this with something stated in freshman year of my journalism undergrad and repeated several times for the four and a half years I was in college:

"No one gives a [site-decorum] what you think. No one."

I don't know if you guys checked Twitter lately, but the only people who look worse than the 49ers organization, are the very people paid to report on the whole thing. You don't need to look any further than Tuesday to see columnists spewing things I thought I'd never hear someone in their position say. It's sickening. The saddest part is, it's only a few writers bickering to people on Twitter of all places, whining about who broke Colin Kaepernick's benching story first (or which site is more credible than the other). It gets worse: in 140 characters or less, a person who is looked up to bringing us objective writing, comes on, and not only resorts to name calling on Kaepernick, they fight with other people about how great their job is.

Stop it. Just stop it. You're paid to write about an NFL team. Act like it.

"Kaepernick is benched." "Reasons for benching." "How Kaepernick has reacted." That's it. That's all you need to say. Maybe write a piece making fun of the subject with Vince McMahon screaming, "Yooouuurrre Firrrreeed." If anything, you don't need to take potshots about his personality. Want to call him rude and arrogant? Write a piece describing what he does that makes him strike this perception into your mind. "Why I have no sympathy for Colin Kaepernick, the person." Write that column.  Maybe after that, you can then reiterate with, "And this is why I have no sympathy." It's called, showing, not telling. Basic writing 101.

Now before you decide to run me down, and ‘sources' say I'm a total nimrod.  Lets get two things straight:

1: Yes, I'm partly to blame for letting emotions get ahead of me. I've called out journalists for bad reporting or making scathing attacks on fans when they should have just ignored them. I have been blocked by several 49ers beat reporters for doing so. A couple may be justified, I can be a jerk. Since I've started writing for Niners Nation, I've deleted tweets that may have gone too far in the past, and tried to restrain myself. Still, I write for a respectable-sized audience and I've definitely said some stupid stuff to players and the front office. That said, I admit to being part of the problem, so don't bother with the hypocrite rebuttal.

2: As of this writing, I have 86 followers on Twitter, and there's a reason for that: I suck.  So what I say is largely unimportant. But I have 86, you guys have over 5k. You're a higher standard, being both a journalist and one with a platform. You have no reason  to act like this. You aren't celebrities, you aren't a public figure that openly discusses their feelings; you're columnists, reporters, agents of the public. There's no excuse, and for some of the tweets I read laden with hard blatant insults towards players and their fans, you should be fired.

I had a promising writing career. I wanted to write about video games. It didn't work out because I was too opinionated in my arguments, my columns were me trolling and provided little evidence for what I stated (well, I was right most of the time, but we won't go into that). I realized this was wrong at age 23 and I'm a slow dude. At 23 years old, a slow idiot can figure it out and middle age writers still don't have a clue. My writing career also didn't work because today's journalism, both sports, entertainment and otherwise is less on giving us cold facts, and more on webpage links, stirring the pot, having everyone look at your article for "The questions you asked." Like, "Look at me, I asked Jim Tomsula THESE questions, so these questions are the most important." And above all: Giving people entertainment while keeping them informed.

I may have been nominated for awards with my many novels, but I'm definitely not good enough, nor insecure enough to do that.  From this comes that superiority complex that we're subjected to now. The columnists that are martyrs, the writers that feel their readers are beneath them. Once upon a time, a journalist was concerned with keeping people informed and a columnist was concerned with giving people something else to think about. Now they just concern themselves with THEM being the ones that inform you, and giving you something to think about.

It's bad journalism. And it's the norm.

Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. I won't try to change it. Advertisers dominate media. To attract advertisers, you need to have a platform. The greater the platform, the more lucrative space can get you. Today, platforms are made by saying ridiculous statements that have little or no evidence. Look to my crap if you want an example. Or, my personal favorite, just outright going to 6th grade name calling and not giving any sort of context to why you did it.

Oh? You're just a columnist? You are paid to give your opinion? Then do your job: tell us why you think this. Give us facts, statistics, and other things to support your argument. If Kaepernick is a total jerk, tell me why. Don't go on Twitter blasting the kid with no context, especially on the worst day of his life. We aren't your buddies, we are your readers, we want to be informed. I expect this out of Fox News. Not out of the talented writers covering the 49ers in the Bay Area and elsewhere.

Yes, I said you were all talented.

You might notice I'm not posting the tweets that have irked me, links to some bad articles, or giving any names. It's not because I'm lazy, but it's because I feel the hacks that posted them don't deserve the privilege to be singled out.

I'm an opinionated guy. I inject my opinion in everything, but I at least will highlight evidence to surround it. And I certainly don't fight with the few readers who disagree with me (in fact if someone says something negative to me on Twitter I just silently block them), even in agreement, they rarely get a response from me. Why? I'm 32, and I have better things to do with my life than engage in Twitter wars. Sounds like an awful waste of time and your employer's money if you ask me.

I have a few writers I follow, some popular, some that are underground. Some "well known" writers would not consider my favorites credible. I follow them because I get the impression their personal feelings or assessments do not seep into their character studies of the NFL or its players. They provide me with intelligent arguments and have no agenda I need to question, even if I disagree. They are transparent, for lack of a better word. The hard opinions they do give, have nothing to do with the subject they are typically covering (perhaps a book they liked). If they cite an unnamed source, it's through proper channels where you can respect why they went that route, or it's big news that is going to be coming quite soon. They certainly don't dance around on the internet when their mongering was proven right six months later. Those mainstream and underground writers that I have lumped into this growing cancer of writing do not deserve to be associated with the rest of these clowns that call themselves 'journalists'. You know who you are, because you don't thump your chest to confirm you are, and I apologize to bring you into this.

The rest of you-- grow up. You have a job people would kill for, you don't need to be positive, but try to be objective for once. The only thing worse than a die hard fanboy/girl picking and choosing the stories to write, only to glorify their team is the writer who doesn't like their job. At all. And I'm constantly under the impression you simply do not like the people you work with or the beat you're covering. And for some of you, it's a matter of not what you're saying, but how you're saying it that makes it obvious. Either way, I'm really sorry that you don't want to write on the 49ers. I'm sorry you hate the team, the organization, how you're treated and ultimately, how you hate your job. But that doesn't excuse you from going to a negative slant in your articles, throwing in little jabs that are unnecessary into the sentences, and certainly going to name calling on Twitter when you don't see eye to eye with someone or to express your thoughts on a particular person or player.Or calling out other writers because they got the scoop before you.  Or when they call you on your BS. But most importantly, you don't need to be calling out readers and fans for whatever mistreatment, just or unjust they give to you and only you.

Your readers have that right. You don't.