When I was a kid, I used to look forward to getting the paper. I wasn’t worldly or anything. I just wanted to read about baseball. I wanted to read writers like Rick Telander. I thought about how fun it would be to have such a job. Writing about baseball and getting paid for it? It seemed to good to be true.
As Telander continues to flail away at the windmills, it is becoming obvious that the game has passed him by. I wonder what happened to that dream job? What has gone wrong? Maybe I have changed. Maybe the world has changed. I really don’t know. I just know that I don’t read the paper anymore.
The uncomfortable, yet undeniable reality is is that the newspaper is the dead star of the media industry.
But oh, the plans they weave….
Rather than employing journalists who write to enlighten fans, some choose to get people to react. The focus has changed from informing the public to the best of their ability to doing what they can to sell papers.
It doesn’t matter that Telander’s story is ludicrous. It will get attention. Even those of us who avoid the paper can’t escape it. For some fans, Telander’s words ring true. They go straight to their gut. It speaks to them on an emotional level. It articulates their frustration about the Cubs lack of success when it comes to bottom line results. It males them angry. It makes them react.
For others like me, it rings hollow. Yet the reaction — the results — are the same. It goes straight to the gut. It speaks to us on an emotional level. It makes us angry. It makes us react.
And oh. the sickening greed…
Either way the paper “wins” because it gets people to read the story. It gets people to talk about it. You can almost hear the cacophony of clicks, ruffling papers, and the cha-chings of a cash register run amok.
Telander is an intelligent man, so why is he railing against an intelligent rebuilding process? Why is he making fun of those who understand and embrace that process? It’s a disturbing trend in the media. The message they are sending is this, “Don’t trust the educated and the intelligent”. “They don’t care about you, they only care about themselves. There is no interest in putting a good product out there. They only care about making money…”
Well, I can turn that argument back on newspapers that print these type of articles.
Why should the quality of your product matter if people are buying it anyway?
There is one consistency with this type of coverage and it is this: Only results matter. Who cares about how you do things as long as long you get immediate results? Who cares about process? Just sell out to get those instant clicks and cha-chings. Who cares about the obvious long term repercussions? That’s too far away for people to care. Just worry about that when it comes and be sure to point the finger at someone for the mess. Why shouldn’t the local baseball team follow suit, pander to the masses. and sell out to get instant wins? Why not?
What makes most people feel happy
Leads us headlong into harm
I’ve heard very nice things about Telander as a person. There is a part of me that wants to believe that, as a writer, he is still better than this. Somewhere underneath it all is the intelligent, talented, fair-minded journalist I knew as a kid. Maybe he is just being swept up in a media trend. Maybe it’s just a persona, a role that journalists play to satisfy the goals of their employers. Don’t blame the messenger. It’s not the writer, it’s the paper and the changing face of journalism that is to blame. I truly want to give Telander a pass for these reasons, but for one thing,
You could have said no
If you’d wanted to
You could have walked away
…Couldn’t you ?
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