Last week, we chronicled the delight that was Flyers beat writers exhibiting weird self-righteous indignation over the Flyers’ decision to name their starting goaltender by instantly gramming a picture of Steve Mason’s locker.
Well, over the weekend, the Flyers kept trolling beat writers… by doing it again and again:
Now, the obvious evolution of the Instagram announcement would have been if the Flyers announced Peter Laviolette’s firing by tweeting a picture of a noose– a joke made by many yesterday.
They didn’t do that, but still, the continued use of Instagram to announce their starting goalie meant that old school beat writers like Rob Parent of the Delco Times continued to whine and carry on about the practice, this despite being thoroughly humiliated last week:
Joking aside, I’m genuinely perplexed by this ongoing reaction from Parent. The announcement of a starting goaltender may be the second biggest bit of commodity news behind the starting lineup in baseball. It’s merely a fact that can be pumped out to fans instantaneously in a dozen different ways. There’s almost no value a writer or reporter can add beyond the generic: This is [name]’s [number] start of the season. In his previous [number] starts, he went [record] with a [number] GAA and a [number] save percentage.
What’s more is that the goalie is usually announced on gameday, maybe nine hours before the game. Yet the most vicious defenders of the sanctity of this news item are newspaper writers, who have little if anything to gain from breaking this news. To them, it’s basically worth a Tweet and a short blog post, which I can’t imagine anybody would read.
This is the problem with the old school media mentality– it’s not that their medium is dying, it’s that they can’t comprehend that you don’t need to relay information using methods meant for the dying medium. To a newspaper writer, a news item like the announcement of a starting goalie warrants a short article written in the traditional AP inverted pyramid style. But, in actuality, the only people who would care about such a thing don’t need 100-150 words with background and context– they simply need a picture of a player’s locker, or a Tweet, or six words: Steve Mason is your starting goaltender. And since there are now dozens of mediums through which to broadcast the message, there’s no use in having six writers all write the exact same article. The team can just tell you, quickly and effectively.
To me, this is the biggest issue for older media outlets. They try to use methods created for their older mediums on new mediums.
Newspaper articles are written in a particular style because they were meant to be printed in newspapers! Stories online don’t need to be told that way.
Talk radio is formatted so that, every 10-12 minutes, there can be a commercial break. Podcasts don’t need to be structured this way.
TV shows have cliffhangers to conclude one episode and entice people to come back for another. Netflix series, released all at once, don’t need to do this.
You get the point. Parent does not. He keeps tweeting things like this:
I have a Communications degree in Journalism (it really helped with making jerking off GIFs) and I’m still not 100% sure what a mainbar is. And most of Parent’s followers certainly don’t know or care what it means. There is no mainbar-sidebar online. There just is.
Tim Panaccio does this sort of thing, too:
This problem isn’t exclusive to Flyers beat writers, but they’re by far the best example of it. And this whole Instagate thing illustrates it perfectly.
Have an opinion? Submit your letters to the editor in the comments.