Over the past couple of days I've found myself checking the LoHud Yankees Blog regularly, basically because Peter Abraham breaks Yankee news on his blog more quickly than any major media outlet. Peter Abraham is the Yankees beat writer for the Journal News, and this position gives him great access to the players, coaches, manager and executives.
The LoHud Yankees Blog is part of LoHud.com, which runs under the tagline “Lower Hudson Online: Powered by The Journal News.” Abraham is a reporter, he writes regular stories, not columns which are opinion-based, but stories, which are straight journalism, about the Yankees. His stories appear under the news section of the site, his blog under the “blogs” section. Here’s the problem, or maybe it isn’t a problem, I’ll leave that up to you:
In his blog, Abraham refers to Carl Pavano as, “the Rajah of Rehab,” at the same time, he has to write a story about Pavano’s most recent injury as an objective reporter.
Yesterday, in his blog, Abraham criticized Brian Cashman indirectly for rushing Phil Hughes to the majors. Basically saying, “I told you so,” when the rookie phenom went down to an injury that he may or may not have suffered had he been pitching in AAA. Then he wrote a straight news story about the Hughes injury, quoting Brian Cashman.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Abraham isn’t alone in riding the fence between journalist and blogger. A lot of people will tell you the line is antiquated, and nearly irrelevant. Others will be outraged. I tend to lean toward the former. I think it’s better to know where a reporter is coming from when reading his/her material, then I know how much credence to give it.
This isn’t a new debate, the traditional media vs. the blogosphere argument has been raging since blogs first burst onto the scene and stole precious eyeballs from the mainstream media.
I want to propose few very specific questions about this debate. Can you take an objective Abraham (or any other reporter/blogger) news story at face value, when you know his personal feelings on the subject from reading his blog? Does he lose the objectivity benefit of the doubt, if you will? What if he reveals himself to be a big-time fan of the team that he’s covering, will that influence how you view his work?
Conversely, does his blog carry less weight because of the access he has to the team? Do you think he might hold back to keep that flow of information open?
Note: I’m using Abraham as an example here, not because I think he’s doing anything wrong, but more out of convenience. He was the example I had on the tip of my tongue. Personally, I think he does a fine job with his blog, like I said at the beginning of this post, I read it regularly. I’m asking the questions in broad strokes. Can you trust any sports reporter/blogger’s objectivity in their reporting, or sincerity in their blog?