RoostCast 58: Just Enough to Piss You Off

In this episode, Ryan and Chris Smith of Artvoice talk journalism, the Buffalo News and the perils of consuming media in Buffalo.

Some links you may find helpful as you listen along:

Hoyt Lake swimmer prompts police search — The Buffalo News

The press becomes the press-sphere — Jeff Jarvis on Buzz Machine

The Guardian open journalism model: Three Little Pigs — The Guardian

WUFO’s sports director advocates new stadium in downtown Buffalo — Buffalo.com

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Musical selections for this episode:

“Blank Generation” — Richard Hell and the Voidoids

“Due Vendetta” — The Protomen

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One Comment

  1. Mike

    I used to dissect the Buffalo News when I was in high school. Now I barely read it. I have a much more cynical take on what you and Chris were talking about. I think relativism has crept into the culture so much that the paramount goal of Journalism, truth, is no longer relevant at all. I think this is why Fox News and MSNBC are also so popular. People know they’re biased, but they don’t care, because the objective truth just doesn’t matter to people anymore. Now this is not to say that people don’t have a need for the truth. I think that people are going to places that simply act as a repository of the actual truth – like stats sites. People who are given the forum of social media are interpolating and publishing their own material. Everyone has their own opinion, and TBN’s is no less valid than anyone else.
    In High School I went to a writing workshop for local students with a seminar by Alan Pergament of all people. It was not my first go round at a talk by him, but I think my experience helps shed light on the problem with TBN and their model. When he started his talk, it was sort of like “Well, I’m here. I’m the authority. You’re a bunch of dumbass kids. What can I tell you about TV.?” He seemed incredibly dour, and generally unhappy to be there and he gets paid to write about something he ostensibly likes, which is TV. I get that sense from TBN sometimes. John Vogl seems to write about how much he loves every place that isn’t Buffalo. Gleason has a nearly pathological need to be proven right about Ruff and Regier ruining the team. Mike Harrington was the best at seeming like a legitimate beat reporter, but as you mentioned, even he holds his own opinion above the blogosphere. It seems like a lot of the reporters at TBN 1. Hate what they’re doing. 2. Hate being in Buffalo 3. Hold themselves above fans or so above the sport they’re covering that it’s impossible for fans to relate to. Or at least this fan. I don’t think it would ruin their objectivity if they admitted to rooting for a team. It would make their work more approachable and easy to understand. It would be more professional in the fact that it’s not completely disingenuous and fradulent.
    It leads into another criticism I have of what you and Chris say. I think there is a conceit there among media types that there is truth to be gleaned out of a press conference. There may be truth, but not any more or less truth than you’d get out of Kevin Sylvester or Chris Brown or any team source. You’re not going to get accurate reporting out of either source, but pressers would just be Bucky or Sully saying something vaguely snarky to Darcy or Lindy, and them saying something completely non-controversial and watered down. The conceit comes in when a reporter thinks that their actions cause the team to leak something newsworthy. That’s not necessarily the case. I think anything newsworthy would have been uttered by the team. For something truly unplanned, I would go to Lindy’s “You coach Mike.” comment from the road trip. Was that comment newsworthy? Maybe. But only because it showed the frustration with the Sabres struggles. The comment itself isn’t newsworthy in and of itself. Unless you consider Mike Harrington more important than he is.
    I was intrigued by what Chris said about the post game interviews. I still love them and I know I have no rational basis for them. Pominville is truly great at saying nothing. Few of those guys are wordsmiths. But for me its like listening to someone who witnessed a crime or fought in a battle talk about their recollections of the experience. I guess one of my problems with journalism in general is how shortsighted it is out of necessity. Players views are the most shortsighted of all, but they are still interesting if nothing else for how shortsighted they are. As a student of history I look at it like I would a soldier fighting at say Gettysburg. One of the most significant battles of American history – yet one individual soldier’s story there might be completely uninteresting. Not to compare a hockey game to a military engagement, but you can’t really get a sense of a season or a game just from one play. I even think the whole Lucic thing was overblown, but it became the narrative so quickly because it’s an easy explanation for why this season was lost when the truth is far more complicated, and goes well beyond Ryan Miller and his concussion.
    To part, I think that local news coverage will have a place, but it’s going to have a tough road ahead as far as paywalls. I find local news fascinating to some degree, but I’m a nerd. The people who are into local news and take it seriously are either Saints/community advocate people, completely insane, or wonks. The audience for that is small and is going to get smaller because regions are mattering less and less to people these days. Power is expanding out to State and Federal governments because of financial restrictions and because municipalities are more than content to cede their power in most cases. I don’t think there’s anything that can stop this. I don’t think by the time we’re old, local news is really going to exist beyond a community bulletin unless it’s a big enough story to become national news. .