Thursday, April 17, 2008

Linking the Media World Together

The modern blog, as it relates to real professional journalism, is about sharing ideas, spreading the wealth of information and creating opportunities to read many opinions as possible about an array of different issues. That doesn't mean a blog has to be destructive, mean-spirited or irreverent to standout from the more established mediums in daily, weekly or monthly journalism we've grown comfortable with.

This blog has been linked more than a few times in the past weeks and I'm grateful and appreciative of the favorable response it's received. Adding to the links I've already mentioned in previous posts, this page was propped at The Writing Life, Thumb Sports and Michigan HS Football. Terry Whalin, a literary agent, author and expert on the genre of writing authors The Writing Life, while both Thumb Sports and Michigan HS Football are primary destinations for prep sports, with The Thumb being an all-sports site and Searn's being an all-football source as well as a forum for fans offering differing opinions.

I've blogged twice about the judgment handed down to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) for $7.4 million in legal fees stemming from a gender-equity case. I'm both referee and writer, thus the title of my blog, TheWriteReferee. The most commonly-posed question from the past three weeks remains, "T.C., aren't you worried the MHSAA will blackball you for writing about the trouble they're in?" I haven't written a particularly scathing editorial of the MHSAA; I've tried to present both sides of the story in a digestible format. Does the MHSAA have a reputation for blackballing those who don't toe the company's line that I'm unaware of? Further, am I a public dissenter for offering fact and opinion without making it personal?

The truth is the MHSAA's Mark Uyl called and asked me to indulge him about the purpose and intent of my blog when I started it in August of 2006, then called, now my static site. I was under no obligation to oblige Uyl; I had thoroughly cased the MHSAA Guidebook For Officials to ensure I didn't endanger my good standing as an independent contractor through registration with the MHSAA. Rather than be adversarial, I told Mark I had began a journey to rediscover my writing passion and I needed an avenue that provided both a forum and topic to knock the rust off the wheels. My initial 6-8 months of writing wasn't strong, but I started to find a style that fit and today, I'm a better writer for the time I've taken to author this site.

However, two questions arise when I dig deeper into the idea of being blackballed. Do my peers think of me as lazy, self-indulgent or both to simply start a blog without a speck of self-introspection? Second, did my peers believe my blog would simply be a rip-and-shred destination for all things officiating or was this an indictment on the general synopsis of the blogosphere? The truth is the MHSAA has let me write freely and has offered opinion rather than edict when it comes to this blog.

Blogging comes from all people in today's self-publication, self-author world. The credible blogs that offer opinion based on actual insight and fact come from real writers, their public accreditation coming from a credible resume rather than scathing opinion and wit shot straight from the hip. Ultimately, it's up to the reader to decide if the writer, the content and writing style speaks to them.

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Anonymous jim conaton said...

Hi T.C.

I'm enjoying your blog. You first caught my eye on the Okland Press site, when you mentioned you were a Kimball grad. I was the band director there for 30 years, but I'm also a big sports fan. I loved those early days ('72-'82) when Kimball was a powerhouse in many sports. Keep up the good work.

Jim Conaton

April 17, 2008 at 7:01 PM 

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