As with anything in life there are always two sides to a story or situation. For me, it is the ever changing world of NASCAR journalism. On one side, I am eternally grateful for what I’ve been able to accomplish and do by creating this NASCAR blog. On the other side, with so many blogs out there not only has the intelligence of each dropped, but it is starting to seep into mainstream media.
Take a quick look on Google and you’ll find blog after blog of people writing about the sport they love, NASCAR. Some are done quite well, having built into something reputable. Others are either not maintained regularly or the content is borderline crazy. In this world many have built themselves up to be celebrities, when in fact, they are nobodies. I was guilty of this for a bit, thinking that my next post would have all the major networks knocking at my door to sign me up.
It is great that people have outlets, which was exactly why I started this blog; but come on folks, you’re not beat writers for NASCAR. You’re fans who might have been able to get “connected” through Twitter or some other way with people in racing. There has to come a time when people realize that the world of NASCAR beat writers is ever shrinking, with credible published writers filling those positions when they come along.
Then we come to what is considered the mainstream media’s coverage of NASCAR, which has gone from thoughtful articles and breaking news to a dog and pony show. The two offenders that spark this opinion are NBC’s MotorsportsTalk, which reads almost like a TMZ/gossip column with “articles” being written about tweets from drivers, footage of drivers doing things (for example Jeff Gordon’s tricycle race at a Washington Wizards’ game, that screams stop the presses right there), and other assorted garbage. If it is not posted on their sites, it is Twitter which leaves me wondering what is going on. When Cam Newton was hurt in a car accident, Motorsports Talk was quick to tweet out NASCAR driver’s tweets about the situation. Are you kidding me? I’m so glad we have Austin Dillon’s well wishes to Cam Newton to read.
Today was another Twitter related post that is taking down the Sporting News. Keith Olbermann and Jimmie Johnson traded barbs over Twitter. This sort of thing happens a lot with drivers and nobodies, but I guess since he’s on ESPN Olbermann can be a somebody today. The Sporting News wrote an article about this, plastered that original link and an updated one (“with Olbermann’s response!”) over and over on Twitter. Again, this is not breaking news. Correction, this isn’t news. It’s nothing, actually. Nothing at all.
While new technology, Twitter for example, has made life easier for non-traditional journalists to try and get a foothold in the journalism world, but it has dumbed down real journalists to a TMZ sort of level to grab hits. Splashy headlines and playing into fans’ obsession with their favorite drivers is how to play the game now a days, and that is just sad.