Monday, January 31, 2011

It's a whole new media landscape, right Phil Martelli?

Welcome to my world, Phil Martelli.

The men’s basketball coach at Saint Joe’s is not a happy camper these days.

First, the young Hawks are struggling. They may never die, but their fans are this year, as the Hawks limp along with a 5-16 mark.

And now Martelli is starting to hear it. He’s become the target of some online bloggers and anonymous Internet postings.

I know all about it. I didn’t post any of them, but I deal with the Internet, and juggle that along with my print duties each day.

Yesterday I was asked by our lead sports columnist Jack McCaffery to come onto his afternoon radio show on 97.5FM The Fanatic to talk about the Internet and the changing rules in the media biz.

You can read Jack's column on Martelli and the heat he's feeling here.

Martelli is having issues with those who offer their opinion online – but do so without putting their name beside it.

I know something about that. Every story we post on our website brings with it the ability of the public to comment on that story. Very often they take issue with me, or with what this newspaper has published.

They very often are inflammatory, not based on a whole lot of facts. And yes, some go over the edge. We review those comments and sometimes take them down.

I agree with Martelli in that it is pretty easy to offer those kind of opiniona from behind the veil of anonymity. Everything I write –both online and in print – has my name beside it.

Not everyone is willing to do that. That does not mean I don’t think people should have to be willing to identify themselves in order to comment. If you did that you’d soon find your comments dwindling to next to nothing.

Instead, the idea is to open up the process to as many voices as possible. And you let the community do some of the policing. People who object to what is posted as comments on our site can alert us to those items via a took that appears right there with the comments.

Most of the time when we get alerts, it is a legitimate point. The item is reviewed and often taken down. But we also get a lot of reports on “objectionable” material when the person simply disagrees with what the person is saying. That doesn’t cut it, and that material stays online.

Martelli clearly is bothered by criticism coming from people who will not identify themselves. It was not all that long ago that Saint Joe’s was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Martelli knows better than anyone that when the spectrum shifts, when the losses start piling up, that the praise will evaporate and the vultures will come out.

One rollout seen at the Palestra Saturday indicated “It’s the Big 5, not the Big 5-15.” Classic City Series stuff.

It goes with the territory.

And that includes the new media landscape territory, where whole new legions of anonymous voices are joining the conversation.


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