I know as a journalist, and by journalist I mean someone that gets paid to ask any sort of question, your job is to ask some softball questions and some tougher ones.
I guess that is why I have such a tough time watching ESPN these days. No, I'm not a bandwagon hater that spends days picking apart the network, it has just become a forum for buddies. Everyone is always chuckling about this or that when they aren't yelling at each in between smiles. I guess I don't get it.
Their attitude towards journalism couldn't have been more apparent today during the Conversation with Shaquille O'Neal. Shelley Smith avoided any follow-up question to things Shaq was saying, namely how he would be fine because he was still young in his mind.
Um, yeah, being young in your mind isn't exactly what you want from your center. Old people say they feel young a lot, and I promise none of those guys could defend Tim Duncan. Also, if you have the opportunity to question the craziest basketball trade in years, maybe spend more time talking about the trade.
See, journalism is supposed to be a couple of things. It isn't supposed to be an outlet for the regular people (i.e., you and I) to get insight into what the famous athlete we adore actually thinks. Sure, this has become more difficult over the years because athletes have to watch what they say, but when you're interviewing the best sound bite in the league, give us something to remember.
Also, it is supposed to be tough. If you work for ESPN or any big news conglomerate, you are supposed to be good at pulling the blood out of the vein. You need to ask questions that people would be interested in hearing the answer, not give the guy two minutes of powder puff stuff just to get his face on TV. Personally, things like this insult the entire profession.
People might bitch about blogs not being "professional" and "any idiot with a computer and a basement could get his word out," but at least some of the blogs circulating raise questions worth discussing.
View the video and see what you think. The Sunday Conversation used to be something worth your Monday morning. Now, I just snooze a couple extra times.