As a writer of SonicsRising.com who lives outside of the Seattle and Sacrament media markets, I have found it interesting to see how the respective media outlets from these two regions cover what is going on related to the Kings potential sale and relocation. I'm thankful for this day and age of the internet where in a moment I can gather news from two places far apart, and far from me.
As I have been observing this whole drama play out, the quality and professionalism differences between a couple of journalists has jumped out at me. One of the lead voices for the Sacramento Kings is Aaron Bruski. Mr. Bruski writes for a number of agencies, including NBCSports.com and ProBasektballTalk.com. When I read Bruski, his passion for the Kings is readily apparent. To his credit he is keeping the accelerator down in the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento. While that is commendable, it must be said that as I continue reading his writing, I find it often to be frustrating at best, and at times lacking professionalism. As I have thought about this, and looking back over his various articles, I see a lot of blurring of the lines between reporting and informing and editorializing.
I'm all for giving hope to the Sacramento fans who have shown themselves to be an excellent fan base. But when your primary source for nearly everything you write is unnamed sources with knowledge of someone else's thinking, it comes across as sketchy in reliability to me. I could understand that form on something like a blog, but when it continues to get run in accredited and professional forums it leaves me shaking my head. I understand the constraint of not including that on Twitter, but I really think there should be something more substantive to back it up in an article if I am going to be pinning my hopes on that tidbit of information. And while you might think I'm picking out a small instance, I'd encourage you to look back on Bruski's references to his sources for the information he provides. Seems lacking in credibility and reliability in more places than I'd expect for a professional journalist.
At the other end of the spectrum in this coverage I have seen some really good work coming from Chris Daniels. Mr. Daniels is a KING5 TV Reporter, and has won the highly respected Edward R. Murrow Award for writing and photojournalism. Since I am outside of the Seattle market, I had (until recently) been unfamiliar with ' work, but suffice it to say I am impressed.
A great example of how Daniels has handled things very well, and one that stands in contrast to Bruski's writing comes from when both men were working to get the story on the right of first refusal issue regarding the sale of the Kings to Chris Hansen. Because of the nature of the sources for this story, both men were unable to give the specific names of their sources. This isn't an oddity in reporting. Where the cream rises to the top though is that Daniels doesn't just leave it at that and be content to quote an unnamed source who know someone with insider information. Daniels went the extra distance to take the quotes and ideas given to him to other reliable sources. He solicited opinions from people who might professionally have insight into the situation, adding great depth and reliability to his writing. For his story on the right of first refusal Daniels visited with experts from a major university who is widely respected in this type of thing. Rather than relying on the initial source, Daniels builds off of this secondary source a clear and informative basis for his article. Bruski in contrast blindly races forward building his whole argument on unverifiable opinions and fills out a whole article based off of his own interpretation of the comments from that unnamed source. A stark contrast between the two methods.
As a fan I want to have hope, but I want that hope to be founded on something. I want journalism, not homerism. I read the blogs for wild speculation from unsubstantiated sources, but in a professional new source I want more than that. Thank you Chris Daniels for going that extra step or seven to provide that for me.