Athens, GA (Mar 5, 2008) - The world of sports blogs (and some mainstream media blogs) was buzzing the past couple of days about WBNG-TV Sportscaster Brendan O'Reilly (pictured left) jabbing ESPN about harassing and hassling him to get video from Cornell's Ivy League title-clinching win last Saturday night. Having written about this yesterday, Eye on Sports Media was surprised to hear that he had created an account at SportsJournalists.com and talked about the blogisode without concealing his identity.
Readers have to understand that this is big news in itself, because 99% of the journalists on that site hide behind screen names and post such venom-filled content, and there are multiple threads on that site with sexual discussions that would make a sailor blush. But they defend this by saying that those are just "words" and "words" cannot harm anybody. They are entitled to say that, but they need to realize that the site itself, because of this content, is quite possibly violating quite a few federal laws (but that is a discussion for another day).
So with this in mind, Eye on Sports Media wanted to find out if the poster was indeed O'Reilly. So an e-mail was sent to a generic email address at WBNG-TV, and he responded fairly quickly. Here is a transcript of the email exchange (with his permission):
Hi Brendan, Is that really you posting in SportsJournalists.com? If so, I want to thank you for not hiding behind a fake name like 99% of the people on there!
yep, thats me. I think i just sent you a pm....thanks for your (sort of) defense and to answer part of your post, I wanted comments, management said no and i hate firefox, so there's that too Brendan
To give readers context, there is a generally accepted concept in the Web 2.0 world that a blog is not truly a blog unless it allows interactivity by way of comments. In the case of his blog, management would not allow it.
Again, thanks for having the backbone to identify yourself on there. Very, very few people do on there. And some of the things they say, and language they use, under the veil of "Anonymity" would make a sailor blush. I did not post what I did as a defense, but to point out that the risk of what people write in blogs can and will come back to bite them, no matter the intent (see my articles "Managing the Business Risk of Blogs" over at Compliance Solutions Advisor Magazine and "Bloggers, Mainstream Media On Same Page?" in USBWA's Tip-Off).
And I had to throw a dig as ESPN for not being better prepared when they knew the title was coming. Just be careful out there! Have you gotten any negative feedback from management?
As far as Firefox, Internet Explorer is banned in my house because of all the security problems, and the fact that I can soup up Firefox to give me all the tools and security I want (and there are some cool tools for it!).
Oh and even though I cannot get Spiedies down here in Athens, GA, I can get Genny Cream Ale! (A couple of brothers from Endicott own a bar and a beer/liquor store down here). I graduated from SCC in 1980 (we were the first class to go though all four years there after the merged Seton and CC).
Thanks for getting back to me and for being a good sport.
Haven't heard from mgt.....yet. They might be happy their precious blog got some traffic....but probably not. A seton grad makes good....perhaps news at 11 on that. Thanks for the heads up on blogs, but again, I'm not worried about it impacting any future moves to bigger markets, because I have no plans to pursue a career in a bigger market.
This last statement is important. He is willing to accept the risk because he is happy where he is and has no plans to move on. In his message to me on SportsJournalists.com, he says:
I appreciate your take on this, but I'm kind of out of ammo when it comes to defending it. I'm not a blogger, I'm a sportscaster with a blog thrown on my "to do list" pile of chores.
I'm not hiding from this (obviously, I'm here) and I really don't care too much about what ESPN thinks. They clearly don't have a worry about what I (or a lot of sports fans) want to see on their network.
It was a joke. I have no ill feelings towards the badgering producer. She probably had someone on her back to get it from me.
The point was, we had a lot going on Saturday. This was obviously the most interesting, and I thought I'd share the joke.
But in truth, big markets and networks do seem to think it's their right to get video from smaller stations. I did them a favor. They acted like I was being a pain in the rear.
also, I'm not trying to get out of Bingo. I have a family and a life. I may not be at WBNG forever (or much longer after this) but I'm fine staying here. That's a tough concept for "big time" people to understand. (emphasis added)
Again there are a couple of important points in this message. First, he is not a blogger by choice, but by management edict. The blog became another "duty as assigned". This is something being thrown at sports writers around the country, and many of them resent it because it adds to their workload without any additional compensation.
Second, he makes it clear that he is not hiding from it, despite being beaten up about it by people on SportsJournalists.com. This puts him head and shoulders above the many bloggers (sports and otherwise) that post anonymously and without fear.
The one important lesson he seems to have learned is that even though he did the post as a joke, humour does not always translate well in writing. Luckily his boss liked the post and the traffic it drew to a television station in the number 156 size market in the country, as he says in the response in the SportsJournalists.com thread:
"I got a kick out of seeing it all over the place. So did my boss. They were happy with the page views. But someone else sent the link out in the first place. Not me.
I like(d) ESPN when there was a balance of fun in the sports. sports is fun. I have fun shooting sports and calling hi-lites, and that obviously comes across.
I lost interest when Sean Salisbury was on TV more than actual hi-lites and they held mock pressc onferences. My issue wasn't with ESPN per se, it was with someone who thought they were WAY more important than me because of who they worked for. Same thing happens to small market guys around the country."
So it looks like Bill Pidto and Karl Ravech will not be getting a new colleague from WBNG-TV, and it will be because he values his family and what he does more than trying to aggressively climb the broadcasting ladder.
You gotta love an Irishman who is not afraid to speak his mind and sticks to his guns! The only question left is how an Irishman survived four years at Harpur College/SUNY Binghamton/Binghamton University, or whatever it is called this week.