You have to excuse me for such a misstep but it was only last week that I discovered Cervélo’s co-founder Gerard Vroomen maintains a blog. I’m loving that he writes what he feels. I read his post about cars in the race caravan and couldn’t agree more; why would a VIP want to sit in a car just in the off chance a rider might drift back to a team car and request a bottle? Wine and dine the VIPs in a course side cabaña. He also takes a swipe at Versus, a network that has shown plenty of Cervélo love in the past. Tip of the hat…
This takes me to my point – what is objective sports journalism? I’ve been on both sides of the table: working for a magazine and now doing my own thing, and I can sympathize with both. A magazine/web site writer, whose career depends on access, can easily get flicked if they offend a rider. For example: you won’t get the Lance Armstrong interview, that is guaranteed to sell a crap load of issues/ hits on the web site, if you’re not on Team Armstrong. At the same time you’re no longer reporting “news” but just pushing out general information or that rider’s own agenda.
Major news media outlets have employed bloggers who specialize in sports and politics issues. BigGovernment.com is the site that got the Rep. Weiner scoop. Of course this is just one type of blogger and you can find any flavor you like in the interwebs.
When you’re a hobby blogger you don’t have to worry about upsetting an advertiser because you didn’t treat their rider/product with enough love. To a certain point they can write with impunity (sure they shouldn’t/can’t go hog-wild with half-baked thoughts or they’ll probably end up with a “cease and desist letter”) and as a reader you need to be aware what their reliability or biases are. Of course there are sponsored bloggers whose main purpose is to do product placement in their writing, but that’s a whole different category.
Personally I’ve felt the effects of not toeing the company line when Comcast/NBC/Versus terminated my contract because of my infamous Lance Armstrong twitter exchange. Bottom line I was told a producer at Versus complained because they didn’t want their access to Armstrong compromised. Even when wounded, Armstrong is still the Golden Calf that no one wants to offend. Major media outlets don’t want to compromise their ability to get that pre-stage interview when the rider gives such golden quotes as, “My legs feel good.”