The amazing disappearing blog post

Today’s Paul Finebaum radio program broached several topics of interest to Alabama fans, and all of them related to the magical disappearing blog of Gentry Estes.

Estes posted this blog entry Saturday evening, which was taken off the al.com website sometime Monday. The post bemoaned the fact that the media was excluded from Alabama’s scrimmage. Estes post stated the obvious, that Nick Saban limits access to his practice sessions.

It isn’t news. We’ve known that for months.

”It’s not that I’m complaining,”Estes wrote.

Yes you are. Just admit it. Saban doesn’t have time for your shit. And that just gauls some sportswriters. There are several beat writers who are furious at how Saban operates; they voice their displeasure via columns, and insidious gossip.

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Other sportswriters have noticed it, and even commented on the obvious dislike for Saban by the Alabama beat reporters.

What the public doesn’t like, and I don’t care for are crybaby sportswriters. You’ve got a difficult job—but it isn’t like you’ve got to do real reporting. It isn’t investigative reporting where you have to dig for documents or find sources who are afraid to talk out of fear of reprisal. It isn’t dangerous reporting where an indicted man threatens you or one of your female writers covering the police beat. Sportswriters don’t even write about the important things—after all it is just a game.

When a sportswriter cries about having trouble getting a story, it just makes him sound lazy. If the story isn’t served up to you on a silver platter with easy access, how about doing some…I don’t know…reporting. Dig. Earn your salary.

While discussing the Estes blog, Finebaum talked with Randy Kennedy, sports editor of the Mobile Press-Register. Kennedy’s interview can be heard at this link. It is useful conversation because Kennedy explains the relationship between the blogs on al.com and the newspaper.

Kennedy said the blog post was pulled by Estes, and there was no outside pressure from UA. So then, what caused the blog post to be pulled? A negative public reaction to the Estes blog post. “We just decided it was more trouble than it was worth…this was not necessarily the battle he wanted to pick with the people who were supposed to be our customers.” Kennedy said.

What? Your customers want to read the truth. They don’t want it censored by the mob. If you believe something to be true then stick by it.

Vox populi, Vox dei may be the closest thing to truth when dealing with politics, but the voice of the mob isn’t a substitute for hard facts.

Alabama fans can be a fickle bunch. For weeks and months in 2006, Alabama fans were calling me names and ridiculing my plea for the ouster of Mike Shula.

Once MSU happened, that changed. It was easier to call for Shula’s termination—but it would still get me labeled an Auburn of Tennessee fan. Today, everybody wanted Shula fired.

Fans are fickle. But this illustrates a point. Fans appreciate honesty, and sincerity. If you take the easy course and say the popular things, then how can we trust you?

If this is what really happened, then this is a serious mark against the credibility of the newspaper and al.com.

7 Comments

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  1. 1
    Hunter Ford

    I read Mr. Estes blog on the Finebaum site, and I didn’t see anything wrong with it. It was pretty interesting. You could make a case that he was whining a bit, but hey…it’s a free country.

    His case about the possibly fudged stats was a bit flimsy because…IT IS ONLY A SCRIMMAGE! The main point, I believe, is whether or not the UA media department (under Augustus Saban Caesar) is trying to shut out media access and give the public a Crimson Pravda version of spring practice coverage.

    I disagreed with Randy Kennedy’s assessment that the public doesn’t want to know anything about the reporter’s job or the process of going about it. I was always fascinated with the “behind the scenes” aspect of college football, and Alabama football in general. That’s why I got into this business! It is not as glamourous or romantic on a routine basis as I would have hoped, but there have been moments.

    The bottom line here is that Mr. Gentry wrote a pretty interesting piece; somewhat but not overly controversial.

    He and his newspaper bosses should have stuck behind it. They look like weenies now.

  2. 2
    Hunter Ford

    Also. I believe Shane when he said he talked with people at the UA athletic department and nobody on UA’s end (official UA employees) put pressure on to kill the blog.

  3. 3
    Lisa

    Hunter – I have worked with sports information people in athletic departments at two large universities. I’ve had houseplants with higher IQs. SI staff work in athletic departments for almost minimum wage because they are hacks who can’t get better jobs. They probably rarely see or interact with the coaching staff themselves. So if an SI person told Shane that, he probably thought it was true (he said on Finebaum’s show he talked to someone in media relations in the athletic department). But there are a lot of people more knowledgeable than Shane who believe that Saban did indeed make that phone call. He may hate reporters and treat them like gum stuck on his shoe, but he cares a lot about his image. It’s an extremely dysfunctional relationship, and it won’t change. The media and Saban need each other in this state.

  4. 4
    Lisa

    Oh, and you’re right — Randy Kennedy and the rest of the al.com/Press-Register management look like weenies.

  5. 5
    Pluto

    Advertisement and Sales now set Editorial and Content. The final stage of the “Filtration” Process is whether the Piece or Opinion is Politically Correct. This is why Information sounds like Bull Shit.

  6. 6
    intheknow72

    By in large, nobody cares how difficult a media member’s job is. Go cry to the guy working 10 hour shifts in the steel mill, or the couple who has decided to give their life serving as foster parents. I mean, a sports reporter’s job is so soft in comparison to real jobs that it is pretty much embarrassing to whine about a coach who, within his personal rights, decides to close practice. Justly or unjustly, if I were Saban, having been grilled by the media over an open flame for the last three years, I would possess such a distrust for them that I would NEVER give an interview to anyone but a select, proven and VERY small group of reporters who had gained my trust.

    So Mr. Estes, the last time I checked, the Gustapo wasn’t breaking down doors in our fair country, dragging people out into the streets and forcing them to take “hard” jobs like sports reporting.

    Bottom line Hunter, Gentry, and to anyone else out there…as a reporter your job is to tell the story, not try and BECOME the story. Until you prove yourself to be reliable and/or entertaining, no one cares about you, or how hard your job is.

  7. 7
    Hunter Ford

    Hey intheknow

    I agree with what you are saying. I was not saying that anybody wants to hear a reporter whine about how hard his job is. I do believe that people like to hear about “what it is really like” to do the job of reporting. Reporting for newspapers has changed (Finebaum’s recent shows have brought up some excellent points about this) and reporters are now required as part of their jobs to post blogs and have first person accounts of things they see and what they think about them.

    This subject has been very interesting to me because I live the life of a reporter. I was always more interested in investigative reporting than anything else. Sadly, the kind of journalism I admired in my youth is not really around anymore.

    Keep Rocking in the Free World!

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