a few years ago in a brazen attempt to besmirch my name.
(By the way, if I were gay I’d be the proudest gay man on earth but the truth is that I prefer women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
The point is this: when I began in this business 26 years ago, only a handful of people at the newspapers, radio and television had the “reach” or “distribution” to send any information to the masses – good or bad. And it could make or break any career or reputation.
Now, via Twitter, Facebook, message boards and the internet any one anonymous person can write or transmit any message on a bathroom wall for an audience of tens of thousands if it’s placed in the right place and shared. For better, or worse that’s the way of the world in the new millennium.
But, much like the quality and growth of our WNST Text Service, the content and accuracy and credibility of the message is everything. At this point, if the web comment is signed by “Hugh G. Rection” or “Jack Mehoff” it’s generally taken for the mud or venom that it is by any thinking person, much like a bathroom wall that says “Call Suzie for a good time.”
BUT…if it says “WNST.net is reporting…” you know you can trust that it’s true. We’re proud to sign our real name on anything we write or say.
As for the actual news — not the slander — in the old days “PI” – pre-internet — it wasn’t considered “news” until it was in The Sun. Period.
The newspaper had the power of distribution and the power of being the ONLY place for depth of content.
If a story broke at 10:30 in the morning – let’s say a trade or tragedy like the death of Len Bias in June 1986 – the radio would initially own it until (or unless) the TV went “live” to a press conference or a site to present “breaking news.” So, if the Orioles could get WBAL-TV to dump “Days of Our Lives” for a “We’re signing Jimmy Key press conference” they were a gigantic winner that day for free PR during the offseason. Then, the 6 o’clock news would have an “exclusive” with the newest local hero/athlete/millionaire.
The next morning – still a pretty “fast” turnaround in the old world of dinosaur media — The Sun would provide a recap and in-depth analysis with a Q&A, some quotes, personal information, hobbies, quips, etc. There would be no other immediate source or place to turn for this written information – nowhere in the world to turn that day for this almost exclusive set of facts and content. The Sun would have the smiling press conference picture, the main columnist’s analysis of it, various predictions of success (always the case) and the happiness and joy that surround the off-season sale of baseball optimism.
No one else COULD win. Unless you had a printing press and deep pockets and could put a newspaper on folks’ doorstep the next morning, there was no other source for this kind of sports information