Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Selling My Hockey Soul

About a year ago, (actually a bit less, essentially it was a Shark year ago) I wrote this.  For those of you who don't feel the need to actually read the column (you should, though, it isn't bad), it essentially says that while most people can adopt another team once theirs is eliminated, I can't bring myself to do it.  With Obama in the White House, we are all about change in America, and it is time for OV Sports to join that trend.  

This season, I am going to put my pride as a Sharks fan aside and try to adopt another team for the remainder of the playoffs.  There are actually a lot of reasons why I am going to do this, but here are some of the main ones:

1. I'm just not ready to stop caring about the NHL for the year.  Maybe the fact that there are still 8 teams alive is to blame, maybe it is because I have been watching hockey more this year, but whatever the reason, I don't want to give up my rooting interest quite yet.  

One of the things that I feel like I didn't articulate in last year’s column was that when I say I can't care about the NHL playoffs sans the Sharks, that is hardly to say that I don’t watch the games anymore.  Even with the Sharks out, I still watch hockey almost every night, and follow the playoffs closely.  I mention this for two reasons, first of all because I love hockey more than almost anything and didn't want to give the impression that I was abandoning the sport when it is in need of viewers, and secondly, to say that just following the playoffs objectively won't do this year.  

2. My first instinct was to throw myself behind team USA in the IIHF World Championships. This would have been the obvious answer, the only problem is that the games aren't on TV, and the webcast schedule is sporadic (not to mention frequently starting at 8 a.m. PDT, no thanks), so that is pretty much out of the question.

3. After I wrote that column, I started thinking about the concept of adopting a team.  Basically, I am curious to find out what it's like, and if I can even do it.  There is only one way to find out.

4. Not for nothing, I have been a Sharks fan pretty much as long as I have cared about hockey.  Sure, I rooted for the Stars and liked the game when I lived in Dallas, but a) that was almost 13 years ago, and I barely remember it, and b) I started playing hockey the same year I moved to THE BAY (copy write 1994 Mac Dre Ltd.), and I didn't really throw myself into the NHL until that same year.  I am kind of like a husband stuck in the same marriage for 30 years, and is wondering what it would like to be with someone else, except if the husband stayed 26 years old throughout the marriage.  Besides, I won't be cheating on the Sharks.  Each season is really a lifetime so, as I said last year, I am a widower.  I am simply looking for a partner to ride out the remainder now that the Sharks have passed on to the giant regular season in the sky.

5. Who am I kidding, sure, I can watch hockey objectively when the Sharks are out of it, but it is much more fun when you have a (somewhat) vested interest.


Before I get to the good stuff (picking a horse in this race), I feel the need to set some terms for this allegiance.  First of all, by no means will this team replace the Sharks.  This is a fling, not a relationship, and once the season ends, I plan on completely washing my hands of them.  I may or may not develop an appreciation for the team that carries on, but they will not be any sort of "second favorite."  My favorite team will remain the Sharks and that is that.  Also, I won't be talking any trash, or even really bringing any sort of outward emotion to the run.  My right to talk trash died with the Sharks, and it would feel hypocritical to continue to act as if my team was in.  I have a few things with other NHL logos on them, and I may or may not rock them while the team is playing, but I doubt I will purchase anything (although you should feel free to bribe me into rooting for your team by sending me stuff).

Those are the things that I won't do, as far as what I am going to do, this is basically going to consist of learning a little bit more about the team, making a point of watching the games, possibly writing about them if I feel compelled by anything to do so, and essentially just hoping that they win.  


I am going to open this one up to you guys, and elicit your help in choosing a team.  First of all, I am going to present the case for each team (why I should root for them).  These are my thoughts on the situation, but I want yours as well.  In order to do that, I will put a poll up on the side of the page, where people can vote for the team that they want me to adopt, and although it isn't exactly a democracy, and I will make the final decision, the poll will be a large part of it.  Also, I want to encourage people to e-mail me, send me a message, or comment on this post, making their case for a team.  If I receive anything strong (or funny) enough to be posted, I will throw it up here, and possibly respond, mail bag style (if I get enough of a response).  Hopefully, within the first couple of days of the second round, I will take everything I hear into account, combine that with my own opinions and make a decision as to who I am rooting for.

At any rate, here are the candidates, in reverse power ranking order (#8 being team I am least likely to go with, #1 being the leader in the clubhouse).


Off Limits

8. The Anaheim Ducks

Be real, I would rather asphyxiate myself with my Marleau jersey than root for those (censored).

(besides, I don't think that they are going to get past Detroit unless Hiller's deal with Satan covers around 2, and it isn't listed on the Ducks' cap figure)


7. The Detroit Red Wings 

Again, not a real good chance that I could go with the Wings, even if they were the overwhelming favorite from readers.  For one thing, they have to be the favorite to win the cup with the Sharks out, so it would feel a bit too front-runnerey.  Also, the Wings are basically the Yankees of hockey (every bandwagon jumping kid in America ends up a fan), and I don't want to sink to that.  The only appeal is that Hossa was one of my favorite players in Ottawa, Atlanta and the 'Burgh.  Basically, I think I'll pass on the grounds that I want to throw up every time I meet a Wings fan who isn't from Michigan.  

Obvious Choices, Perhaps too Easy

6. The Chicago Blackhawks

Every one wants to jump on the Hawks bandwagon.  In fact that is what I got from both of my friends when I mentioned that it may be time to pick up another team.  I don't think I can do it, though.  First of all, as the sub-head suggests, it would be a bit too easy.  I'm not really worried about being too contrarian, but I don't want to jump on the same wagon as everyone else.  Second of all, even though I like Teows, I can never help rooting for Americans (such as Kane), and Brian Campbell is awesome (provided he has the puck), I have always maintained, and still probably would, that this team is a bit overrated.  Rooting for them would be like rooting to be wrong, and I don't really want to do that.

5. The Pittsburgh Penguins

Who doesn't love Kid Crosby (apart from people who live within 100 miles of New Jersey)?  It seems like the Penguins would be an obvious choice, given that they are probably the most compelling team in the NHL.  Basically, they have the same problem as the Hawks.  I feel like every Western Conference fan will throw themselves behind the Pens, and I just dont know if I want to follow them.

The Conflict

4. The Carolina Hurricanes

At first glance, there really isn't a problem with the Canes.  The bandwagon factor is almost zero, it is a team that I don't know a thing about (and that I would enjoy getting to know a little bit), and they even have a couple of compelling players (Staal and Sampsonov) that almost are enough to suck me in.  There are two problems though.  

The first is relatively minor, one that I could probably see past.  It is that I have a hard time rooting for a team to get its second cup, when they have been in a city a shorter time than the Sharks.  The jealousy issue is high, but like I said, I could probably see my way past that conflict were it not for the second one.

I cannot claim to be a Whalers fan, given that they moved 8 years before I arrived in Connecticut.  However, having made plenty of friends who long for the bygone era of Brass Bonanza, I have become something of a Whalers apologist at least.  Given that, and the fact that my friend Brendan would never talk to me again, I'm not sure I can go with the 'Canes (although if the response indicates otherwise, we'll see).

3. The Boston Bruins

The B's are a compelling option.  I have been a Sox fan for about 10 years now, so to root for a Boston team seems natural.  On top of that, Chara and Kessel are two players I really like (American and Slovakian), as well as Lucic, Ryder and Savard.  The problem with Boston is that I have a bunch of friends who are B's fans.  While I am guessing that they would like to have me, I feel like I would have to keep it really under wraps when I was with them, as I wouldn't want to infringe too much on the glory of those who have followed the team all year.  Even having said that, the Brus are an extremely viable option. 

The Contenders

2. The Washington Capitals

Compelling? Check (because of Ovechkin).  Players I like? Check (Ovechkin, Green and Backstrom in particular). Superstar? Check (Ovechkin).  Good for hockey?  Check (becuase of Ovechkin).  Mainstream media coverage of the team?  Check (becuase Ovechkin).  Does Alexander Ovechkin play for this team?  Check.

There are a lot of things to like about the Capitals (at least one, anyways).  The bandwagon factor is high, but to be honest, they would have been my knee jerk reaction when picking a team to adopt.  Definitely a force to be reckoned with in this competition.


1. The Vancouver Canucks

            As of writing this, the Canucks are the clear leader in the clubhouse.  The Sedins are fun to watch, Ryan Kessler is a G, and they even have my old friend Stevie Bernier.  I also like that, for the most part, the Canucks have a roster with guys I don't know a whole lot about.  I like the opportunity to learn more about a team.  They are also the team of my all-time favorite non-Shark (Pavel Bure), so that is a plus.  The one thing is that I don't quite agree with the Canadians (the nationality, not the team), jumping behind the one Canadian team left standing (which the Canucks are) and I have my doubts about joining this annoying trend.

Besides, it will be fun to root for the team that sported my favorite jersey of all time, (even though  they basically now wear this)even if they no longer sport them.  


So there are the options.  Being the guy who wrote this, clearly I am a big fan of participation, so throw me a bone here.  Drop me a line, vote in the poll, and let me know how I am going to get through the rest of the playoffs.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Questioning the NHL Playoffs- Round 1

Having put the Olympic preview on hold until this summer, it is time to tackle the imminent hockey tournament, which doubles as the best two months of competition in sports.  I speak, of course, of the NHL playoffs. 

The problem, though, is that due to re-seeding at the end of each round, it isn’t possible to make picks NCAA bracket style, all the way through to the finals.  I will give it a go anyways, but since the matchups will be off unless I go 4 for 4 in a conference, it will likely be necessary to come back and revise the picks at the conclusion of round one.  Luckily, that is easy enough.  At any rate, here we go…


Round 1

Eastern Conference

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers – The Keystone Ice Cup

The Matchup

Put simply, I don’t see the Flyers matching up here.  At forward, the Flyers are certainly deep, but it is hard to argue against the Crosby/Malkin duo.  Grit has been an issue for the Pens, but if the stars at the front of their lineup play as such, it is unlikely that they will miss the likes of Ryan Malone, who skipped town in the summer.  Although the price (Ryan Whitney) was steep, the acquisition of Chris Kunitz will likely help to keep the Penguins involved in the grinding aspect of playoff hockey.

On the blue line, the Penguins have been on a tear for the better part of the second half of the season, largely because of the resurgence of a now healthy Sergei Gonchar.  Logging 19 points in just 25 games, Gonchar revitalized the Penguins power play, and took pressure off of guys like Brooks Orpik and the talented youngster Kris Letang.  On the other side of the Keystone Commonwealth, Philly saw 43 points from Kimmo Timmonan (the heir to Darius Kasparaitis for “NHL defenseman who’s name sounds most like a medical term), and a resurgent 26 points from Matt Carl, just a year removed from “healthy scratch” no-man’s land.  Alas, Pittsburgh seems to be a little bit better in terms of both top end talent and depth on the blueline.

In goal, while Marc-Andre Fleury has hardly been a model of consistency in his stint as the Penguins backstop, you would have to give him the edge over the Biron/Nittymaki tandom in Philly.

The Question

Will the Penguins superstars, Sid Crosby and Gino Malkin, who were inconsistent despite the Pens running to the cup finals in 08, show up and dominate this cross-Pennsylvania matchup?

The Answer

Indeed, they will.  Malkin has taken his game to another level this season, as the numbers indicate, and Crosby, while somewhat down in points, has found a new grit that should lend itself well to the intensity of the playoffs.

The Pick

Western PA in 5


(3) New Jersey Devils vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes – The Paul Maurice Cup

The Matchup

I can’t, for the life of me, explain why, but the Hurricanes have been arguably the hottest team in the NHL for the past month or two, and they seem to be the consensus pick for “Eastern Conference 5-8 seed that the higher seeds would like to avoid.”  All I know is this, they fired Peter Laviolette, and somehow getting rid of the man who vaguely resembles Sly Stallone behind the bench sent them on a tear. 

As for New Jersey, they have something that they haven’t had the luxury of in quite a while, and that is a fresh Marty Brodeur.  The all-time winningest (screw you, squiggly red line, winningest is a word…I heard it on Sportscenter so it has to be) goaltender, having missed much of the season sidelined by injury, has played just 31 games.  He should be better prepared for a long playoff run should they get by the Canes.

The most important thing of note about the Devils, though is that this is a very different team from the ones that won a lot of games and pissed off just about every hockey fan between 1994 and 2005.  The Devils will still fall back on the trap at times, but for the most part they rely on fast, freewheeling forwards such as Zach Parise (94 points), Patrik Elias (78) and Jamie Langenbrunner (69 points) as well as underrated puck moving defenseman Paul Martin (+21 on the season) to score at a much more potent rate than the Devils of old.

The Question

What the hell is going on in Raleigh?

The Answer

I legitimately have no idea, this team looks extremely mediocre on paper, but they have been getting it done.  Unfortunately, Eric Stall is going to have to learn the same lesson in humility at the hands of Zach Parise that his older brother Gunner got from the likes of Adam Banks and Charlie Conway.  I’m just going to pick against them and move on.

The Pick

Familiarity (New Jersey), over mystery (Carolina) in 6


(2) Washington Capitals vs. (7) New York Rangers – The Beltway and the Broadway

The Matchup

The Capitals have Alex Ovechkin (the best scorer in the NHL), Mike Greene (the best defenseman in the NHL), Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom (two of the most underrated in the NHL— 79 and 88 points respectively, and Semin only played 62 games).  The Rangers leading scorer (Antripov) had 59 points.  Not only did the Caps have 4 players score more than that, one was a defenseman.

Washington also has Jose Theodore, while the Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist.

That one sentence turns what looks like a blowout into something of a toss up. 

The Question

There is only one, and it is huge.  Can Henrik Lundqvist steal a couple of games, or even the series, or will Theodore get the job done for Washington?

The Answer

The Caps have been shaky defensively and in net, make no mistake, but their firepower should be too much for the Broadway Blue.

The Pick

Government over finance in 5


(1) Boston Bruins vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens – Not these Guys again

The Matchup

Essentially, the matchup boils down to this: a vastly superior team versus a certain bleu, blanc et rouge sweater.

Really, the Canadiens shouldn’t even be able to hang with the Bruins.  The Brus have the best 2 way player in the NHL, a goaltender who is phenomenal at (most) times, and an exceptional core of 7 players with 50+ points (7 20 goal scorers, plus a 19 and a 17).

As for Les Habitants, for them to compete, 2 things have to happen.  First of all they need to get Schneider and Markov, their two best defensemen, back from injury.  Secondly, Bob Gainey needs to wake the eff up and play Jaroslav Halak.  Halak is an above average young goaltender, with a bright future in the NHL.  Carey Price, on the other hand, is an overhyped, underachieving mockery of what it means to be an all star.  Will he ever be a good goaltender in the NHL?  In all likelihood yes, but he is not right now.  Mark my words, the Canadians don’t have a chance with him in net (look back at their season, and you will find that Halak, not Price, won most of the key games that got them to the playoffs).  If those two circumstances are unable to come to fruition, the ghosts that exist in this rivalry may creep up upon the Bruins.

The Question

Will Bob Gainey smarten up and play Halak instead of Price, and if so, can the Bruins overcome the historical struggles with the Habs?

The Answer

Probably not, and even if he does, the Canadiens just don’t seem to match up.

The Pick

Change Boston can believe in, in 6 if Markov and Halak play, 4 if they don’t



Western Conference

(4) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (5) Calgary Flames – Grind versus Glamour

The Matchup

This is probably the most compelling matchup of the first round.  Calgary has three big scorers (Jokinen, Iginla and Camalarri), two big defensemen (Phaneuf and Aucoin), and possibly the best goaltender in the league (although also possibly the second best goaltender in the northwest division).  To me, Chichago isn’t quite as solid.  They are certainly glitzier, but they have questionable two way defending, and are at a huge disadvantage in net.  The two things that they have going for them are speed (Kane, Teows, Sharp, Versteeg, Campbell and Havlat are all great skaters, to name a few) and skill.  The other thing is depth.  Calgary will ask a lot of the Curtis Glencrosses and David Mosses of the world, whereas Chicago can roll out players like Pat Sharp or Chris Versteeg in second and third line situations.

The Question

Can the youngsters in the Chi step up in the playoffs, or will ‘soff hold ‘em off?

The Answer

Both.  I think that guys like Kane, Teows, Sharp and Havlat will play well, but I just think that the goaltending is too big of a disparity.

The Pick

Kipprusoff in 7


(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) St. Louis Blues – Midnight

The Cinderella story of the year has to be either this team or the one right below it, as I doubt that anyone saw both the Blues and the Canucks reaching the playoffs.  St. Louis has young talent up front with breakout guys like David Backes, Brad Boyes and the scrappy TJ Oshie, among others.  They aren’t really spectacular, but they have solid players filling out lines 1-3.

On defense, the Blues are tough and have a fair amount of skill, even without the services of former #1 pick Eric Johnson.

Then, there is goaltender.  The Canucks have Roberto Luongo, and that is all that really matters.  They could realistically give up 35 shots, score 2 goals and win the game two or three times a series, and that makes them not only a safe bet to take care of St. Louis, but a scarry draw for anyone later on in the playoffs.

The Question

Will Roberto Luongo play at the level that we are accustomed to seeing him play at during this series?

The Answer

I don’t see why not, and that should be enough for the Canucks.

The Pick

Johnny Robby Canuck in 6


(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (7) Columbus Blue Jackets – OSU vs. Michigan

The Matchup

The Blue Jackets are in the playoffs for the first time in club history.  We should take some time to feel happy for a squad, and a fairly good fan base, that is finally going to get to participate in hockey’s second season.  Make sure you don’t take too much time though, because I wouldn’t expect them to be there long.

Detroit is, well, the defending champions plus a top 10 forward.  It is hard to know where to start, so suffice to say that they won it last year, brought pretty much everyone back up front, and added Marion Hossa.  To say anything else would be overkill.

Columbus is a bit more interesting.  Going into the season, you would have expected their fourtunes to ride on their young talent (I mean really young…mostly rookies) stepping up.  They had just lost their second best player to the Rangers, and basically, they were a superstar (Rick Nash), a couple of young guns and a bunch of role players.  Somehow, though, even though they got very little from their rookie forwards (Brassard was great, but broke his leg and missed the last 5 months of the season, Filitov was up and down and Voracek didn’t give them all that much production), but a bunch of guys stepped up under Ken Hitchcock’s system, and a rookie goaltender carried them to the postseason.

The Red Wings do have a couple of weaknesses.  It is unclear that Chris Osgood can carry them to a cup this year, and they have, for whatever reason, been prone to looking somewhat lethargic at times this season.  Alas, I just don’t think that will be an issue in the playoffs, and the goaltending shouldn’t be a problem, at least this round.

The Question

Can the BJs push the Wings deep in the series and maybe steal a couple with Mason to win the series?

The Answer

The Wings are getting older, and the Jackets are one of the younger teams in the league, so maybe at some point, but probably not this year.

The Pick

Motor City in 5


(1)San Jose Sharks vs. (8) Anaheim Mighty Ducks – California Dreaming

The Matchup

I like, nay, love this matchup as a Sharks fan.  The Ducks and the Sharks play a very similar style this year, but they did it in much the same way that

In every meaningful instance this year (before the Sharks effectively clinched the division), the Sharks manhandled Anaheim.  Anyone looking for a preview of how this series will likely play out need only to watch a tape of opening night in San Jose, a 40+ shot clinic put on by the President’s Trophy winners (I know that it took place a long 6 months ago, but that is about how far you have to go back to find a game that the Sharks had any sort of pressure on them).  This is two big, physical and fast teams, but the Sharks are bigger and faster, and should have a big edge.

The Question

Will the Sharks be able to regain the intensity that they haven’t needed for months in time to knock take care of an inferior team?

The Answer

A slow start in the series is definitely possible, but it is hard to imagine that by the end of game one, or at least game 2 the intensity won’t be back.

The Pick

Ducks in….yeah right, good guys in 5


Friday, April 3, 2009

Another Break from Sports; A Different Look at New Media

I am just two days into studying communications in college.  I have had less than 4 hours of classes on the subject, and yet I feel compelled to weigh in on the way we view a changing world of media.  I have a lot of objections to how we are responding to these changes as a society, and I am taking the opportunity to get them off of my chest.

(note- If you are only interested in this site for semi-irrelevant projections, occasionally questionable writing backed up with links that at times don’t even seem to make sense, bad jokes and smug criticisms of people with difficult, high profile jobs in sports, feel free to skip this and come back in the next few days when I may actually find the time to finish up the Olympic preview)

                Newspapers are on their deathbed, and even if they survive this economic climate, they will likely not be the same when it recovers.  Indeed, with consumers increasingly reluctant to pay for content, and an effective advertizing based revenue stream still a fantasy for online papers, downsizing is not just a reality, but inevitability, even for institutions such as the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.  This means that well researched, thoughtful pieces and international news, the two more expensive sides of reporting, will dwindle in the coming years. This is a process that began years ago with the advent of the internet, which duplicated what was available with papers (as opposed to TV, or cable news, which were separate media).

People believe that the media will become reliant on either centralized wire services, with only one voice, or that the blogosphere type media (this includes pretty much all online journalism, and really could be extended to cable news networks) will be the only way to access information.  This is viewed as a negative thing, but I have to defend it, not because this is a blog (tangent- it isn’t, blogs update every few hours, bringing short, knee jerk bits of information, news and unfiltered opinion.  This is a webpage with magazine or newspaper style columns.  It just happens to share a domain with many blogs.  Deadspin is a blog, formatted more like a newspaper or magazine, OV Sports is more like a section of a newspaper, without any of that news to get in the way, formatted like a blog…something I felt compelled to clear up), but because most of the fears stream from a technophobia, and distrust of platforms we are not accustomed to.

                A plethora of fears and complaints seem to have surfaced regarding changing media. Some of the more common ones are:


-          These new media are unreliable

-          These new media are not objective

-          With a lack of large scale organization, the mainstream media will rely on the same sources, leading to only one voice

-          A lack of funding will lead to under coverage


The first two fears deal with problems foreseen with new systems of media.  Let us put those on hold and first address the third and fourth fears, dealing with the future of the old mediums.  Essentially, it is possible that these two fears could come to pass, but it is asinine to suggest that they must.  People worry that a reliance on wire services and the lack of a diversity of coverage agencies will lead to abject acceptance of party lines.  This notion is ridiculous.  While it may be more difficult to put people in Washington or New York for the cost, advances in communication that are available should offset that.  It is now possible for reporters to do due diligence on a story without being on location, by cross referencing claims and conducting interviews from their own locale. 

The under coverage issue is easily avoidable.  While the Dallas Morning News may no longer be able to afford a London correspondent, the internet is has eliminated the need for one.  Sure, local papers may suffer, and subscribers may be unable to read about international news in that paper, but instead they can access outlets such as the Economist or the BBC online, and actually get more complete coverage of international news.  This will cause local papers to find their niche.  At risk of sounding Darwinist, if a newspaper in Tulsa, Oklahoma that cannot survive without first hand coverage of Japanese politics exists, it probably deserves to fail.

Moving to the blogosphere, I must start with an observation that some would think (wrongly) runs contrary to common sense.  Objectivity itself is completely over rated.  The fact is every piece of news is delivered by a human.  In a given newspaper there is only one segment which can actually be called objective.  That is the box scores from baseball games, which contain only numbers, as determined from the finite framework that is the rulebook of Major League Baseball (the exception being errors, which are also subjective,  but that is a different column for a different day—although the column is actually a book, Moneyball by Michael Lewis, and the day was sometime around 2002).  All other reports, articles and columns are subjective.  All of them.  They are delivered by humans who decide who to interview, which statistics to gather, which facts to site and how to word the reports.  The newspapers themselves are subjective.  They chose which stories run on the front page, and what gets relegated to C-21.  The fact is, this is the nature of news, and that is okay.

                The reason that it is not a problem is simple.  It is exceedingly possible to gain valuable information from something that is not objective.  Some of the most valuable conversations one can have are those that take place with someone you disagree with.  If someone is to tell you why the President is right, or why the president is wrong, the fact is they are probably giving you a better idea of what the president is dealing with than if they simply tell you what he is dealing with, as they must present information about what the president is doing, why he is doing it and what the ramifications are in order to make their point.  By lending opinion (or to use a more taboo, but equally accurate term, bias) to a story, a reporter or analyst can lend significance, context and relevance to a story.  There is no room for shortcuts when presenting an argument, as opposed to a report where people are much less likely to notice them.

                The perceived problem with bias is that people can be influenced by the way in which stories are presented.  Indeed, it is a bad thing if people only read those who they agree with, or if they take what they read at face value and become overly influenced by a story’s subjectivity.  The thing is, to use a cliché, that this is a you problem, not a media problem (I know I said that I would put the bad jokes on hold, but that was too easy to pass up).  If the Prius driver in San Francisco only wants to listen to Al Franken, and subsequently misses out on other perspectives, or the pick-up truck driver in a Kansas is uninterested in journalists (term used loosely) not named Limbaugh, therefore not getting facts that go against his arguments, that problem rests on the consumer of the media, not the producer. 

                The problem that stems from a lack of reliability is more concerning, but is one that is present in all media, and need not be exacerbated in the shift away from traditional media (the word media is plural for medium, so to say “forms of media” as most probably would have is redundant, and yet everyone keeps talking about traditional versus new “forms of media”).  I am not about to suggest that internet sources are always reliable, but we read them knowing that they aren’t always reliable.  This means that we are taking a step in the right direction, not the wrong one. 

After all, even the New York Times, among many other papers, was accused of having false stories.  One of the popular tidbits sited by the “save the newspapers” crowd is that because of the reliance on wire services, few outlets questioned the claims of WMDs in Iraq (their point being that if only a few papers survive, it could be no one next time).  This only goes to show that newspapers are not infallible.  Yet, how many people read a Washington Post or San Francisco Chronicle article and think, “I better cross check that.”  Sure, the batting average of accuracy for blogs may be lower, but people are more likely to verify that which they read.  While this seems like it makes for more work in a society where the last thing we need is another obstacle in becoming informed, it is more than offset by the plethora of information that is now available through the internet. 

Is there still a place for newspapers?  Of course.  The world will be much better off if they can figure out a financial plan, or else be taken over by NPOs, and are allowed to exist.  There is still a place for traditional, well thought out reporting that the blogosphere falls short on.  Platforms for widespread op-eds need to be continued.  Simply creating a blog and expressing what one has to say, as I have, will not take you to prominence.  On the other hand, if writers are backed by platforms such as newspapers, they are allowed to flourish, and no one wants to see professional editorializing disappear.  It is even worth keeping papers around for the nostalgia some feel when holding the physical paper.  But to fear the new media is ridiculous, and until people realize this, the flow of information is being dammed.