New Lakers Fake-Blog from The Times

(Skip this jokey top part and jump right to the update below – this is BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD.)

The folks over at the LA Times are jumping in the blog pool once again, this time with the launch of the Lakers Blog. Personally I think LAist has this covered but I really don’t care about basketball at all so I could be wrong. My 3 second analysis of this new blog has lead me to believe that it’s written by two brothers and most of the posts are in-jokes between the two of them. Or maybe not, honestly I didn’t pay much attention to it since I was both horrified by the ugliness of the site and completely amused by the add with the GIANT COCK at the top of the page:

lakersblog.jpg

The best part is that this cock-ad has been pointed out before and yet it’s still running – maybe it’s getting a lot of clicks. Anyway, if you are into that kind of thing – The Lakers, Blogs, Giant Cocks, then this might just be the site for you. (Thanks MAN)

UPDATE: LA Observed does the legwork and finds out this tidbit:

“I’ve queried the Times on whether the blog posts will be edited in advance and by whom. (The answer is yes, they are subject to editing in a joint effort of the Sports desk and the website.)”

What does this mean boys and girls? It means basically that this is NOT a blog. It’s a website made to look like a blog to try and fool readers. Unfortunately I think that’s going to be a pretty common thing from big media here in the near future. Basically if there’s an editor, it’s not a blog. A blog is a direct link from the writer to the reader and if there’s anyone in the middle changing things around it’s no longer a blog, no matter what it looks like or what software is powering it. In fact we need a word for these fake/faux blogs. “Flogs”?

UPDATE 2: Why is this so bad? Because The Times is taking advantage of the general public’s opinion that blogs are more trustworthy than traditional news sources because both the info is coming from a more direct source and because biases are obvious. If these posts are going through an editor and a sports desk this is NOT a blog, and that is info that should be disclosed up front so the readers are aware of it. Pretending to be a blog is a very bad thing.

UPDATE 3: Please read the comment from one of the bloggers on the site below – he explains the situation which makes much more sense.

14 Replies to “New Lakers Fake-Blog from The Times”

  1. I used to be the webmaster for a university website and we’d put up “blogs” by students. They were edited before being posted, and until I read this, I never thought about them being “flogs” before. Interesting point. We edited them for style, for spelling, etc., and to also keep them G-rated as to not scare off any potential donors. Also, we corrected grammar etc. as to keep all students seeming on the same writing level (let’s face it, not everyone has the gift of writing). YOu say this is “dangerous” because it is tricking the public into thinking the info they are delivering is “more trustworthy than traditional news sources.” Personally, I think blogs are less newsworthy — often times it’s just people spouting off opinions without factual backup that they can point me to.

    Do you think that the Times is just cleaning up the blogs to match their standard of publication? I mean let’s face it, NBA players probably aren’t Pulitzer Prize-winning writers, do you think? Their writing probably really needs help to even be readable. That doesn’t necessarily change the tone, message, or facts, in my opinion…

  2. Arnie – NBA players aren’t writing this blog, professional writers are.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said “also keep them G-rated as to not scare off any potential donors” – If these writers write something that the Times Editorial staff decides might scare off advertisers or the paper’s owners then it probably won’t see the light of day – a blog shouldn’t have those filters. Editing to correct spelling or something is not an issue, it’s when the content is actually being approved before publishing that it becomes a problem in my book – ESPECIALLY if that isn’t being disclosed.

  3. You’re probably right, but knowing all the politics involved w/ professional sports, it’s not like they’re allowed to really be 100% open anyway. I don’t really know much about basketball, but have you ever noticed when a certain NASCAR driver wins, he drinks a certain drink (Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Bud, etc.) when he wins for the cameras — i.e. product placement/endorsements? Isn’t basketball like a billion times worse? So I doubt even if Rick Fox was banging away on his laptop at the local starbucks pontificating about how weird the clouds look downtown when it rains or something, we’d ever see it, know what I mean? But it is a very interesting point this raises, and one I’d never thought of.

  4. One more thing. If they’re written by professional writers, that doesn’t make them not real. What about the magazine articles where it’s so obviously not written by the celebrity “guest editor/writer”? Or when it’s in first person and you know damn well they didn’t write it? I guess often times they include a “as told to .” I don’t think that’s any less valid a source of information though. But this is a newspaper and not People magazine, too, so I see your point.

  5. No, you are missing it completely.

    This blog is not written by NBA players. No one is suggesting it is written by NBA players. There are no NBA players involved and no one saying any NBA players are involved.

    Two professional writers are writing the blog and their names are on the site. There is no question who is writing the posts.

    The question is that these writers are not blogging – writing a post and then publishing it themselves – they are sending it through a sports desk for editiorial – perhaps edited, prehaps rewritten – then published but NONE of that is disclosed on the site. That is the problem.

  6. “Pretending to be a blog is a very bad thing.”

    Absolutely, but then again its coming from a source that’s been pretending to be a newspaper for awhile now, and that’s even worse.

  7. re: updates #1 & 2
    critiqueing the validity of the laker blog simply implies a larger agenda on the part of the ‘media’ rather than addressing the blog for what it is: a web log of posts centered on the lakers. this is not an agenda on the part of the la times to create a fake blog and outside of advertisements that purport to be blogs there is no such thing as a fake blog. the issue of an editor other than the blogger is something that exists on other well-liked blogs, it is certainly a new dimension to consider on the issue of what differentiates a blog from traditional news sources. however i really just don’t see an attempt to take advantage of readers at all, anyone who is that paranoid needs to stop smoking ;) i mean i luv a good conspiracy theory but….i don’t think you’ll find them @ the la times. as a laker fan who doesn’t get any LA daily newspapers, I find this blog a somewhat mediocre attempt to consolidate news, stats, links and musings on the team to increase web traffic for the paper. (personally i believe that as laker fans we need to support attempts to generate positive energy on the lakers)

  8. La times and New York times both suck has sucked for a long time and will continue to suck. People can only handle so much spin and koolaid so in short close them down they suck.

  9. My name is Andrew Kamenetzky. My brother Brian and I are the writers for lakersblog.latimes.com. It seems a little silly that we’re being put in the position of having to defend ourselves against ìflogî accusations, since they come via conclusions reached without all the facts. But for the sake of righting the record, I felt a need to clarify how this blog works.

    In terms of the “censorship” issue, this is the deal. Yes, there are people who will check out what we write. Thus, we can’t curse. We can’t write explicit X-rated material. We can’t make libelous, unfounded statements. Frankly, for a blog dealing with the Lakers, I don’t consider the first two restrictions particularly restrictive. The third one is just the law. Other than that, we’re pretty much free to say whatever we want.

    The key phrase involved is ìsubject to editing.î Subject to editing and actually being edited to two entirely different things. Since our first post, nobody has changed ONE word of what we’ve written. These are our words, straight from our minds, fingertips and keyboards. So if you don’t like what we’re writing because you think itís bad, leave comments (that are printable) and we’ll publish them. We’re not above criticism. But if your gripe is that the work is filtered through a zillion channels, you’re unnecessarily pre-judging material you might otherwise enjoy.

    So there it is. We’re not trying to “fool” anyone. It’s not a ìflog.î (Although I must admit, that’s a catchy term) For better or worse (hopefully better), itís always gonna be us doing the writing. We wouldnít have signed up for a blog where our opinions were asked for, then changed. Nor would we read a blog like that. And rest assured, you wonít have to, either.

    Thanks so much for your time.

    Andrew Kamenetzky

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