While covering IndyCar festivities in Kansas this past weekend, pressdog decided to seize the opportunity of speaking with Jeff Olson, a.k.a. the motorsports journalist who thinks sports journalists all suck. As it turns out, Olson’s now infamous article was not all it seemed to be.
When I finished it, I felt fantastic. It was cathartic. And then the e-mails and calls started, and I began to think I’d stepped on it. I took a stab at sarcasm and fell a bit flat. Never thought people would seriously believe that I thought all sportswriters suck, but they did. I heard from many, many indignant sports journalists. But honestly, there is an element of schlock in this business. Nothing wrong with pointing that out, but I should have made it clear that I included myself among the schlock. At the very least, it made people talk.Which just proves you should leave the untrained word butchery of sarcasm to the untrained word butchers...and of course, I’m being sarcastic there.
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Look, I’ve said before Olson’s a fabulous writer and if this is a case of a single piece falling flat then so be it. I was even a encouraged by the kind words he spoke of both pressdog and My Name Is IRL, knowing we need not worry about his future writing being less about racing and more about the coverage thereof. But sarcarsm or not, I just have to scratch my head when Olson says this.
I stand behind the idea that a majority of people in the press room at IRL events should not be there. They aren’t a) receiving a check for what they’re doing, or b) they aren’t producing anything. They’re impersonating journalists.I’m sorry, but while “b” is a solid point “a” sounds a little like elitism. I’m rather sure the p-dog isn’t pulling a check for his endeavors, and this weekend he pretty much disproved that “a” part of the theory. If you can conduct yourself so as not to be a distraction and produce work that gets people excited about the product then you have fulfilled the obligation of the media credential. It doesn’t matter how much you’re earning or what media you use, because as the name implies it’s called a “media credential” and not “paid journalist impersonation card”.
And we're still not addressing the fact that his piece lamenting the "Us vs Them" among fans seemed all for "Us vs Them" in the media room.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but either way this entire discussion is starting to seem a little too self-involved for my taste - and that's partly my fault because I'm contributing to it. I’d rather start talking about The Month of May, to be perfectly honest.
(Photo: Bill Zahren Motorsports Journalism Impersonation Inc)