Letter From the Editor: The Times, They Are a Changin’

By:
Published: July 8, 2012

Perhaps our most controversial piece ever, but some things just need to be said.

This week, Hornets fans went into panic mode after the Times-Picayune incorrectly stated in an article that the Hornets could not sign-and-trade Eric Gordon. Readers were led to believe by sites such as ours that this was a live possibility, and once word came down from ‘the most credible’ of sources that this was not the case, they were forced to question everything they thought they knew. Of course, after some feedback from us, the Times-Picayune decided to check their facts and came back with a different conclusion.

Our loyal readers and Twitter followers begged us to call the T-P out on this one, and behind the scenes the seven writers for this site discussed how we should handle the situation and how we should handle similar situations moving forward. What irked me, personally, was that we got tweets and comments saying something to the following affect:

A blog knows more about NBA sign-and-trade rules than the local newspaper! smh

The implication here is that a newspaper is usually a superior and more credible source. Based off of what? Because they have been in the game longer? Because they have advertisers? Hornets247.com has four more writers covering Hornets basketball year round. We produce, on average, 6-15 thousand words of original content per week covering a variety of topics, most of which the T-P never touches. We interact with our readers on a minute by minute basis, and answer their inquiries, point them in the right direction when needed, and have a weekly podcast that features their questions.

So why is it that it is a shock to some that we are the one who got this right? We have access to CBA expert Larry Coon, due in part to our affiliation with ESPN. We have a NASA contractor on staff with a Ph.D. in mathematics. We are simply more qualified on subjects such as these, yet some people are still stuck in a day and age where print media ruled the world.

The fact is that the Times, they are a changin’.

The paper that is an institution in the city of New Orleans is planning to cut back their print coverage to just three days a week, while they shift their full-time attention to their online coverage. The writing is on the wall, and it is clear that an online only Times-Picayune will be a reality in the foreseeable future.

I am comfortable in saying that Hornets247.com is the premier source for Hornets news, insight, and analysis. What I will not do, however, is disrespect our elders and act as if they had nothing to do with our success. Simply put, we all grew up on the Times-Picayune or a paper just like it. Their content is the foundation of our knowldege base, and if not for that foundation, advanced stats, CBA FAQ’s, complex trade proposals, and the like would go straight over our heads.

The days of simple, surface-level content satisfying the sports fan is over. A straight forward recap piece with two or three generic sentences from the team’s star gets skimmed over, if it even gets read at all. Instead, people want trade rumors, a better understanding of the CBA, draft prospect profiles, a deeper look into why the team is succeeding or failing, and insight on what can be done to make the team better, with evidence to support those claims.

Because of their business model, traditional newspapers cannot take the chances that sites like ours can. Additionally, they have to carry that weight they’ve carried for so long: working the beat, traveling with the team, attending practice, and making all grind of the year-long basketball super-season mesh with the 24 hours news cycle and daily deadlines. Because of this, their product appears static to those fans who want to dig deeper.

It is what it is, and it served a purpose once upon a time. That time has come and gone, but I want to emphasize that it is not necessary to bash traditional media just because they have fallen behind. We owe them a tremendous amount of respect and graitude for getting us all to this point, and should forever be remembered for what they did at their peak, not how they failed to quench our insatiable thirst in their final years.

We at Hornets247.com hope to be a source to both you readers and to our media brethren, including the Times-Picayune. We rely on the Times-Picayune and others for what they do best, and we welcome them working with us on what we do best so that we have the best coverage for the most dedicated and most educated fan base of any team in any sport.

30 comments
ADubya
ADubya

First of all... NOLA.com does not equal T-P. They are different businesses with different owners. NOLA.com has always been terrible at retracting errors from the T-P, but that isn't the writers faults, it is the editors at NOLA.com. T-P needs to get their own website, then they can move to a better business model. NOLA.com doesn't care if people get it wrong in the first place, and they certainly don't care enough to retract errors. Unlike Mike Vick, they don't have a dog in the fight, so they can make mistakes w/o consequences. I go to hornets247.com for all things Hornets, it doesn't require arguing over it, non-stop news and updates will always trump something in print that can't be deleted since it is permanent and is out of date 10 minutes after it is submitted to the printers. It doesn't require stating, and it isn't controversial to state.

cgrand
cgrand

not at all sure how this post is "controversial"... well-informed NBA fans look to the internet for content, and have been doing so for some time now i have not more than glossed over a hornets-related item in the TP for years during the season, the pace of the schedule gets the better of them, and in the offseason there is just not the in-depth analysis there that we demand no harm, no foul yes the S&T story was factually incorrect, but it's not the first time and will not be the last they are all adults there, and if they cannot handle a little criticism then they need to do a better job, period the hornets are either a priority there or they aren't

cloud520
cloud520

I have always considered this site to be the most reputable source for my Hornets and NBA news.

JayRey
JayRey

I guess this doesn't tie to the Hornets fans outside of New Orleans lol. On a serious note, I use to look at all the Hornet's news through their NBA homepage and ever since I found this site I think the amount of times I've went back to that page could be counted with one hand. This site has been beyond credible and I always looked forward to finding a new article every time I surf this page. I feel that this is a must-see site if you're a true Hornets fan. To go even further, I've checked a good amount of other team blogs from TrueHoop and I have to say that Hornets 24/7 is by far the best one in my opinion. Great blog writers, user interface, information, etc. I could say a lot more, but I'll keep it short and sweet.

Eric
Eric

Im 15 years old and have been reading this site since I was twelve. I love the work you guys do. Thank you and keep up the good work!

cheide1
cheide1

I think I can speak on behalf of everyone who reads the site regularly that this is without question the premier source for any hornets info. Keep up the great work

Ron
Ron

Absolutely. The T-P site is a distant second when I look for Hornets info. I've gone to other Hornets blogs, though, and other teams' fan blogs and what I've seen is pretty weak. We are very fortunate to have such articulate and voluminous writers contributing to h247.

BDavis
BDavis

Well spoken....or I should say well written!

sweetpea
sweetpea

The T-P is in deep doo-doo. And though I think you're letter is great, I'm not holding my breath about any changes coming as a result. They are owned by an outside corporation that has no feel for the city, they are a bloated bureaucracy, and their new website sucks more than their old one, which is a bad indication for a news source that's planning to increase their online presence. My concern is the lack of T-P coverage might actually hurt maintaining the fanbase of the Hornets. Meantime, Smith and Reid seem like solid reporters but DeShazier is god-awful and Duncan is far more reliable for the Saints than Hornets. So I hope you guys realize y'all are probably at a crossroads for your own fantastic website. More and more people are gonna start tuning in to you guys as the Hornets get more established and word gets out that y'all are the primary source for NOLA news on the NBA and the Hornets ... or Voodoo ... or whatever. Keep up the great work; you have an incredibly loyal following (just like the Hornets) that is well deserved. And good liuck keeping up the business model or organizational flexibility or whatever it is you want to call it to meet increasing demand and web-traffic in the future. Stay lean and hungry guys; as long as you put out your great product (for free, Good God) your base will stay loyal and spread the word.

Josh
Josh

Thanks for all the great work that y'all do. I have the NOLA.com app, and I actually like some of the stuff they have.

Thechosenuno
Thechosenuno

I have a total man crush on you guys. Keep up the excellent work. There's a reason yours is the site I check when I first get up and when last I read before bed.

sean
sean

hornets247 rocks - end of story.

Rt
Rt

Moderation really?

Rt
Rt

Chris Paul: I left New Orleans because I value my life. Eric Gordon: Help me! Chris Paul: Hahah........endure

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones

I tweeted a couple of times about the article to the Hornets247 account, but this seems like a better forum. For disclosure's sake, I am a summer intern at the Times-Pic who currently attends Tulane. My views certainly don't represent the paper's views in any way -- I'm relatively unimportant. I think Hornets247 is a really compelling read; I enjoy it. I would, however, like to see a few of the ideas presented in the article fleshed out. I'd echo the comments of J above. Blogs simply aren't generally more credible sources of news than newspapers. If anyone is surprised that Hornets247 knew better than the TP, it's for one of three reasons: (1) They hold The Times-Picayune in high regard because it has served them well in the past (2) They don't hold Hornets247 in high regard because it hasn't served them well or (3) Prior, the hadn't heard of the Hornets 247 blog. In any of those three scenarios, it's a little silly to be offended. I thought this was interesting: "Because of their business model, traditional newspapers cannot take the chances that sites like ours can." I know what this means in a general sense, but specifically, I'm not sure. What does "business model" mean? What is Hornets247's business model, and how is it different than the TP's? What chances can Hornets247 take that The Times-Picayune can't? More importantly, are they good chances? It's a shame that The Times-Picayune's article contained a mistake, and I'm sure this blog has made factual errors in the past as well. I don't think either is indicative of anything more than the fact that even people doing due diligence sometimes make mistakes. The TP's mistake is certainly not indicative of the fact that blogs in general should be viewed as equals to newspaper in general.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

I had a long rant here, but I've removed it. Long story short-- It's ok to be wrong. It's not OK to refuse to adjust your opinion and "facts" to fit reality.

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones

For some reason, I can't reply to your post below. I think you're taking your line of reasoning one step further than the evidence you're presenting allows. Pointing out an error is one thing. Proving malicious intent behind the errors is another. I could think of a few reasons for their mistakes other than lying. Maybe, such as in Jimmy Smith's case, it was just a lexical slip. It seems later in that article you posted a link to, he makes the correct distinction. Maybe it was incompetence on their part. Maybe (just maybe) they didn't get your message because you aren't that important to them. Who knows? My goal isn't to defend each of their errors. This is what they do for a living. I'm just saying that you better be absolutely certain that they are deliberately trying to lie to people before you say they are. "I sent them multiple tweets, and they didn't change it like I wanted. So they must be lying to everyone" doesn't qualify as evidence. I would reiterate that your post just makes the editorial seem like it misses the point, intentionally or unintentionally. Put the issue you're really concerned about front and center. Don't side-step around it with backhanded compliments. The appropriate place for the underlying reason for this editorial isn't deep in the comments section, if anywhere. Just keep putting out a quality product and people will read. No need to make haphazard, presumptuous accusations against other writers.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

Here's some proof that they don't care if people know the truth or not. Call it deliberately misleading or call it simply not caring if the readers are misled, but imo it's essentially the same thing-- http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2012/07/under_nba_rules_new_orleans_ho.html Read the first paragraph. Read the headline. Sure, they added a tiny little blurb at the end of the article way later (WAY later), but who re-reads an article that has no clear note of being updated to reflect reality? Why wasn't there a retraction issued? Why is it still up with that headline and that first paragraph? Again-- WHY IS THAT HEADLINE STILL UP? Why is Bob Licht (hornets play by play guy) and so many more of their readers still repeating false info three full days later? BOB LICHT ‏@hortonhomers (7/8) I thought new CBA prohibited RFA sign/trade? I don't throw these accusations around lightly. They messed up hard and never clearly corrected their mistake. They're the reason I've had to explain to other sports media members and fans that we can, in fact, do a sign and trade. Oh, here's something else that stands uncorrected-- http://www.nola.com/hornets/index.ssf/2012/07/new_orleans_hornets_guard_eric_21.html The first sentence is false-- he never signed the offer sheet. That's been repeated by them multiple times with no correction. I'd think they didn't know better (which in and of itself is wild), but I've tweeted to them multiple times that they're reporting false information. I'd continue and find the other factual errors that have gone uncorrected int he past few days, but I think I've proven my point. Look-- you seem like a bright guy. If you can give me a good reason why that stuff is still up there aside from them not wanting to acknowledge publicly they were 100% wrong, I'd love to hear it. I honestly can't think of another reasonable explanation.

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones

If you're trying to say that The Times-Picayune found out it made a mistake and then lied to its readers after the fact because it didn't want people to know it made a mistake ... you need proof. That's a pretty strong attack on John Reid's journalistic integrity. Then again, it's probably easier to make that attack in the comments section of a blog than it would be in a newspaper. I guess because of your business model, traditional newspapers cannot take the chances that sites like yours can. If you know it's true and you have the proof, then it seems like the above editorial is missing the point completely. There are much bigger problems for a writer or a traditional newspaper than falling behind the times if they are deliberately misleading their readers. If you have evidence that is happening, scream it from the rooftops. Media needs that kind of accountability! If you don't, be a good journalist/purveyor of information/whatever you consider yourselves. Don't throw strong accusations around haphazardly. That undermines the very kind of respect you're looking to receive from readers. I think that playing Poynter Institute is a little outside this site's range of skill. But again, really love what's happening here. I enjoy the news, analysis, videos, etc. I honestly don't know of a better sports blog in the region devoted exclusively to one team.

andreseml
andreseml

Blogs like Hornets247 are and will be the most reliable source of information. As you say, times are changing, tilting how information gets to the common reader/fan. Hornets247 guys are doing a great job. Don't need to explain. Keep it up.

Zombian
Zombian

Great article but can someone talk me off the ledge? I was so optimistic after draft night and now I'm utterly confused as to the direction of our team. I was on board for Rivers and Miller. Hell, I even refrained from the Eric Gordon backlash because I felt that we could/can get something meaningful out of him (though he fits the team perfectly). But now I'm concerned. Ryan Anderson, like so many players before put up stellar numbers in a contract year and now we will be on the hook for 4 years at $9 Million/year. I strongly felt that the kind of player we needed was a Ben Wallace type of player to put next to Anthony Davis. Every post I saw on At the Hive spoke about how Anderson is a better player than Ayon. Statistically Anderson in his contract year did have better numbers than Ayon in his rookie season but Ayon had such a feel for the game and could compliment Smith off the bench and pass from the post so well. Now our big men are Smith Davis and Anderson who all shoot long jumpers. We may never have a post presence. So how do you see our offense/defense running in three years when we're hoping to be competitive again?

Zombian
Zombian

quick followup. that ryan anderson article wasnt there when I posted this otherwise I would have posted it there.

Zombian
Zombian

Whoops apparently it was there for a while and somehow I missed it. Don't mind me.

AlterEgoOfJeffBower
AlterEgoOfJeffBower

I'm not a journalism major nor a former basketball player. Just a Hornets season ticket holder since they first arrived in New Orleans in 2002. The Times-Picayune article about the sign-and-trade issue was extremely confusing and distressing to me, just a person who is a casual fan struggling to understand the team's options. Even more disheartening was the T-P's refusal to correct the story after 3 days of repeated requests and complaints. This is a sad day for the T-P's sports section. Thank you, hornets247, for the cojones to confront and correct this issue.

J
J

I appreciate this post, but I'm not sure - to me - that it was really necessary. Are you guys concerned that readers don't think of you as a primary source of information? Are you defending hard copy papers? It's not entirely clear. The reason there was a tweet lamenting that a "blog knows more about NBA sign-and-trade rules than the local newspaper," is for the very reasons you pointed out. It's not because hornets247.com isn't a credible source; it's because historically, blogs on the *whole* are not a credible source. Let's face it: anyone with access to the internet and Wordpress can create a blog. Any yahoo with an opinion can declare themselves an expert on any subject, as long as it suits their delusions of grandeur. That's not an affront on the work the writers at hornets247.com do, but it is a reality of the era of digital publishing we live in. With that said, I can't help but point out your own remark several paragraphs in: "What I will not do, however, is disrespect our elders and act as if they had nothing to do with our success. Simply put, we all grew up on the Times-Picayune or a paper just like it. Their content is the foundation of our knowldege base, and if not for that foundation, advanced stats, CBA FAQ’s, complex trade proposals, and the like would go straight over our heads." So there it is, right? That's the answer to your question. Basically, I think many people are still transitioning from papers being the ultimate source in most news matters. And, as a former journalism major myself, let me say this: it *is* a shame that the Times-Picayune published that article (which I read) that did not have accurate information. It doesn't matter if they had four writers or seven, they should have done better fact checking to be sure the information they were providing was accurate. That's a major part of their job. I don't believe anyone wants to disrespect the Times-Picayune, per se, but this was not one of their better blunders. We have to hold them up to a minimum journalistic standard, and yes, for many it was disappointing that their expertise was exceeded by "a blog." And, to be fair, the Times-Picayune - like most hard copy newspapers - has editors and formally-trained journalists, so it's pretty easy to see why people would view hard copy and digital sources differently. I haven't found very many blogs that hold themselves up to those standards (not that they necessarily need to). Eventually, however, digital publications will be accepted as genuine primary news sources. Until then, keep up the great work and know that your loyal readers - such as myself - will continue to promote your site and your expertise to other hoop heads.

LE
LE

This is spot on, but I was expecting a TP-smear campaign when I clicked the link & not a narcissistic 24/7 suck fest. Sons i am disappoint

Ian H
Ian H

Also agree a great read, I spent for years in college studying Mass Communication and broadcast journalism specifically so I knew then it was only a matter of time before print would become less and less relevant. With the advent of social media and smartphones and tablets getting the paper is the most inconvenient of all the media choices. I'm 29 and 10-15 years ago this wasn't the case. Newspapers were the end all be all, what Jeff Duncan or Brian Allee-Walsh said about the Saints was virtually understood as law back then. I credit you guys for stepping up to the plate and demanding better and making us the fans/consumers that much smarter and more aware. Without the print, this site never happens but we have evolved and now sites like these are the top of the food chain.

DTBHornet
DTBHornet

Great read, I thank you all for your efforts to keep us informed. Listen to all podcasts read every article and truly appreciate everything.

jmbell
jmbell

Agree. I really appreciate this blog. The reason a lot of people were surprised that a blog was correct or implied that a paper should have been more credible is that I think when a lot of people hear "blog", they think of angry rants, ridiculous speculation and immature arguments. This all takes away from the credibility of a website. Thankfully, those are all things hornets247 lacks.