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Apr 21, 2010

Wraping it up...

Final portion of guest blogger Steve Davidson - 68Caliber

68Caliber strives to maintain fairness. Two companies having a private squabble may be news - but is the situation helped any by informing the partisan players and having the web forums explode with pages and pages of hater-flame-war BS? Very often, I think not. I'd much rather print the story of how the two companies resolved their differences and are now moving forward, instead of printing stuff that might just complicate the matter.

Sticking to the above sense of balanced reporting is another reason why you might not see a story on 68Caliber. 68Caliber is duty-bound to get both sides of a story and that might not always be possible. We've been talking to person A (who is quite eager to get their slant on the story out in public), but we can't get person B to talk to us.



Now sometimes publications will use a little trick to give the appearance of balanced reporting (something they've learned from cable news): they've got one side of the argument - obviously the side that they're spinning the article for - and have no real interest in giving the other side a voice - so they call a number they know the company normally doesn't respond to, or they send an email at 3 AM - and five minutes later they print something like "so and so had failed to respond to our inquiries as of this writing" or "we tried to get in touch with so and so but they aren't responding".

In reality, you're not supposed to use that kind of BS as an excuse until the party has said "we're not responding to your inquiries" - and even THEN, if you want to be balanced, you try and present their point of view as best you can using secondary sources - rather than just leaving them hanging in the wind as "the party that won't defend itself", because the deliberately incited and obvious conclusion of that kind of presentation is - those guys are in the wrong. Which may very well not be the case.

Infotainment sure is captivating. Who doesn't look at BatBoy on the cover of the Globe when standing in line at the checkout counter? It's titillating to read articles where writers use curse words or make wild accusations about other folks, it's kind of fun to be on the inside when someone implies the sexual proclivities of someone you know, or pretends to reveal some kind of grand conspiracy that will make the sky fall.

All of those things are fun, they generate traffic and they attract attention - but they aren't news.

Finally (and I'll admit that this is a pet peeve of mine) some folks out there in internet land seem to think that when I make statements like "68Caliber follows the rules for journalistic integrity" what I am really saying is - someone else's website is NOT following those rules.

I have a little expression I like to use in situations like that and it goes like this: "If the shoe doesn't fit - why are you trying to put it on?"

My statement of 68Caliber's policies is not meant as an indictment of anyone who doesn't have the same policy. (For example, if any paintball forum site tried to follow those same rules, they'd have virtually no content: forums are for the expression of opinion, not news. Blogs are meant for the expression of an individual's viewpoint, not the printing of news. Sure, each of those types of sites might have some news content, and often do, but that isn't what they are focused on. Indeed, much of a paintball forum's content is the discussion of just what the facts in a particular case are.)

If the publishers of some other site want to assume that I'm talking about them, there isn't anything I can do about it except to reiterate: I am talking here about 68Caliber's policies, not anyone else's. We're doing what we think we need to do in order to reach the audience we want to reach and to put information out there the way we think it should be presented.

We can't and aren't interested in telling anyone else what they should be doing with their own publication.

If we have a problem with what someone else is doing - you can read about it in our editorial (in the opinion section, not the news, lol.)

(Mick here) Thanks Steve for taking the time to express your thoughts here at The Paintball Paintblog.

4 comments:

Illuminati,  Apr 21, 2010, 8:25:00 AM  

Is it wrong that I no longer give a crap. Let me explain.....

Steve seems like a nice guy, and very dedicated to his website. VERY DEDICATED!

I understand that you consider yourself to have more integrity than the other reporters that talk about paintball, and I also like reading 68Caliber from time to time, but was writing 3 lengthy posts about how you are better then the others and dropping the name of your website 16 times in the process really needed?

I love the approach that Mick has taken on his posts. Simple, to the point, heartfelt, and non-preachy. I come here to read the opinions of a Paintball person who is unfettered by the desire to sell anything or push his opinion into someones face.

Shall I guest spot on 68Cal. and talk about Tsquared for 3-5 days about how amazing Mick is compared to all the other websites, or how Tsquared is real and truthful, or how Tsquared is unbiased to advertisers, or how Tsquared uses dolphin-safe tuna, or how Tsquared once ran into a burning building to save a baby kitten, or how Tsquared...... you get the idea.

As good natured as the posts were, they came off to me as nothing more than a preachy, namedroping ad-space for 68Cal.

I hope that this is read with the inflection that I intended. I am not going to stop reading Tsquared or 68Cal, but I had to throw my 2 cents in on what has been bugging me for the last couple days.

Reiner Schafer Apr 21, 2010, 8:44:00 AM  

Being an opinionated person (but trying to stay open minded), I could never accomplish running a site such as Steve does at 68Caliber. I have a lot or respect for the integrity that Steve has the capability to maintain. When one is trying to secure an income from a body of work they are putting much time and effort into, I'm sure the lure of the "easy" fork in the road is tempting at times. I'm sure the road Steve has chosen to go down has cost him readership and in turn advertising income.

As a writer, I'm sure it's difficult for Steve to not crave the attention of as many readers as possible. Hopefully he has enough other avenues to accomplish that end.

Keep up the good work Steve. It is appreciated by many.

Anonymous,  Apr 22, 2010, 12:06:00 PM  

I also am a fan of 68 caliber and I like the fact that I can go to one site and see the entire paintball world I can go from that site to PBX3,Deadbox,PBnation etc. without leaving that site I dont believe you have any problems with any other forums or publications or they would not be made available at 68 Cal.Keep up the good work .

PS if it wasnt for that site I would never have found this one!!!!

Richelle Shattell Apr 23, 2010, 6:51:00 AM  

I think it's a no-brainer that if you give a writer a sort of freestyle situation to write about something they are passionate about and quite proud of, you're going to get one very long article. :)

Looks like to me Steve loves his job and is proud of his website. Long read, but I enjoyed it!

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