how does one walk…

with that HUGE chip on ones shoulder? Us vs Them

On the surface it comes across as a “can’t we all just get along” rant about the two sides of the split, and the bias and sometimes ignorance of some on both “sides”. Fair argument. The drivers seem to be tiring of being referred to on any particular “side” or with clever terms like “transitioners”.

Truthfully, after next weeks race, even we (www.champcarworld.net) will stop doing specific “transitioning team” reports. We will become OpenWheelWorld.net post Long Beach and all the drivers in the top tier will be “IndyCar” drivers. Period. This situation for more than a decade has been divisive enough. Time to start repairing the giant fissure in the sport, in the fanbase, and in the general mindset.

But I digress… let’s get back to Olsen’s little bunched up panties shall we?

If you dig a little deeper under the surface, (not hard to do as he’s about as subtle as a mack truck and that piece has the depth of a puddle), you will see that the “Us vs Them” isn’t about the drivers or fans or “media” in general creating or maintaining sides for the drivers. No, it’s his own personal insecure soap box rant about the state of Motorsports journalism.

The “US” in this case are, from what I can surmise, those whom he categorizes along side himself as the “real” journalists, pedigreed and filled with integrity, who wouldn’t think of showing bias or heaven forbid cheering the accomplishments of the son of a racing legend earning that coveted first win. The old guard. The “we were here first, and you’re taking up room in our sandbox” crowd.

The “Them” are the rest of us. Somehow we are all hacks because of how we got there, what platform we use to spread our particular noise, or how we react to who takes the checkered flag.

The surge of fan-based internet media grew out of the derth of any mainstream coverage of our sport in the last handful of years. I know. I am one of those untrained and unprofessional word butchers that busts my hump 7 days a week – before, after and sometimes while working at my paying job, to bring other fans the open wheel racing coverage that they so desperately crave but are unable to find via the mainstream channels as our cars don’t have fenders, sponsors that change weekly or drivers with a good ol’ boy deep southern twang.

Hell, the Champ Car World Series is racing for it’s final time next weekend. Teams are announcing their driver line ups, the Grand Prix is sending out information about the event, but you sure as hell wouldn’t know any of that from mainstream media or the series main site (ChampCar.ws) (which if you go there you would assume it’s business as usual as NOTHING has been said or updated since the wheels fell off) If you venture over to the new sanctioning body’s site (IndyCar.com) you’ll read all about Motegi and a plethora of announcements about the 500 a month from now, but nary a word about where those 9 new drivers mysteriously missing from the Motegi entry list are driving that weekend. You know where you can read about it however? On a handful of fan run and operated sites that give full coverage of both series, in detail, ours being one of them. (obligatory 2nd pimping of site)

Untrained? True. I don’t have a piece of paper in a frame on my wall from some university proclaiming me a “journalist”. I also don’t have one on my wall proclaiming me a “singer” and yet my accomplished 20 year career as such would tell you otherwise.
Professional? Nope. True again. In order to be categorized as “professional” you actually have to earn money at it. The hours I put in? My own. The money I fork out for travel and accommodations? Out of my own pocket. The same goes for my colleagues, 3 of whom are flying in from Europe next week to cover the race for our readership there, who now no longer have races, the drivers they championed or any mainstream media coverage of the event, so they are counting on us for all the details.

So what then makes our coverage any less important than Mr. Olsens?
At least the we aren’t rocking on our bosses dime, taking up valuable time and space on our “news” site lambasting or degrading the people we will likely be sitting beside at various events over the course of the year. No, we are actually typing with our knuckles and writing about the racing. How unprofessional of us.

*Edit* It would appear I’m not the only one who found Jeffy’s article… interestingPressdog had an interesting take as well.

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11 responses to “how does one walk…

  1. The irony of Olson writing one of the most unprofessional rants I’ve ever seen about professionalism in racing journalism is simply delicious.

    Given his history of blatant cheerleading, I don’t really know why his panties are in a wad. I sat through those semesters of libel law, journalistic ethics, and so forth, but I’ve seen other guys and gals who have done the same conduct themselves far less professionally than some of the hated “bloggers.”

    Now if Jeff was just being passive-aggressive and writing about a SPECIFIC blogger who happens to publish his own pay-per-read website and whose incredible lack of objectivity has been polluting the open-wheel world for a decade, then that’d be another matter. 😀

  2. …oh, and I’ve not spent much time rubbing elbows with Jeff at the media center buffet, because usually I’M OUTSIDE DOING MY FREAKING JOB instead of complaining about the free sandwiches.

  3. The reports on your website are rather concise and informative, and I am glad that I found it. You and the other reporters do a great job of being objective.

    Believe me, I would sniff out the first sign of subjective reporting, as I was not a supporter of Champ Car. I supported the IRL and I satisfied my road racing fix with F1.

    However, with the new teams joining the IRL, I am very excited. The future for the IRL and Indy style racing seems very, very bright.

    If the IRL couples the Indy 500, the Australian race with the old Toronto race, a road race in Brazil, and a road race in Mexico (with the existing IRL schedule and, yes, even the ovals), I don’t see how the IRL could have anything but success.

    And by success, I mean a sufficient number of teams (12-14) who can fund themselves fully through sponsorship, and adequate crowds at each circuit on race day (80,000+). Beyond that, everything else will take care of itself.

    BTW, I can’t believe how intelligent Rahal sounds and drives. Its not fair to compare Rahal to Andretti. It’s not even close, Rahal has something special. This unification may work out the best for him. Can you say, Honda F1 test driver – move over Alex Wurz, or better yet, Rubens B.!!!

  4. That was really painful. In fact I could not even bring myself to finish reading it.

  5. Yaumb: *whew* I was beginning to wonder if I had a completely different take on his article. LOL… glad for the validation.

    I too rarely spend too much time in the media centre myself. It’s mostly a quick sitdown out of the sun, in whatever corner I can find, to upload some news/tidbits and have a quick cold drink before heading back out to the paddock. (plus the media room is usually so far off the beaten track, it’s a pain in the ass to get to!)
    Besides, the stories don’t happen in the media room. They happen out on the pitlane.

  6. BBH: Thanks for that. Sincerely. That is very valuable feedback, especially as we move forward and try to expand our coverage without bias. We really struggled with what we should do and whether or not our readers would take the journey with us, but so far the feedback from both CC fans and new “openwheel” fans has been positive. Makes the stress, long hours and lack of sleep worth it!

    I agree with your breakdown of the potential future success for IndyCar. It’s going to take some time for sure, but it sure would be nice to look back in a few years and see how far we came from the potential brink of extinction on both sides…

    Yup, Graham certainly has “it”. He is wise beyond his years and has a very bright future ahead of him if he can stay grounded.

  7. jC: I actually had to read it twice so I knew if my indignation over it was valid. It was. LOL! As I commented elsewhere, I don’t see how anyone applauding at the end of a race is enough to put such a bug up someone’s ass.
    Restaurant critics eat the food. Theatre critics applaud the performance. Why shouldn’t sports journalists cheer at the conclusion of an event if it was entertaining and enjoyable? It does not somehow demean your integrity to do so. IMO.

  8. I’m wondering if Jeff would have applauded Danica winning…

    …some might say that that is simply too theoretical to ponder. 😛

  9. Memo to self: never get on Meesh’s bad side.

    Seriously though, there are many points of irony (or hypocrisy, if you feel strongly enough about it) in Olson’s article, but I think the craziest one might that Graham’s victory might have been the only possible outcome that would have people from BOTH sides of the split cheering. I mean the kid didn’t cure cancer, but he did give us all something to get excited about.

    Just saying this one time cheering probably wasn’t such an uncouth thing about which one should get offended.

  10. hehe… I’m not that scary.

    Well… not all the time 😉

    I know, it’s mind boggling that that would get his dander up so much. I’m pretty sure it’s because the kid got his first win. Period. Not an us vs them situation (at least for the majority) like he is making it out to be.

    I guess the media rooms at the IndyCar events are different from the Champ Car events? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard applause, and even laughter, God forbid!!, at our events. The amateurs and the pro’s even sit next to each other and converse! Can you believe it?

    Guess I’ll enjoy next weekend then practice my proper IndyCar media moseleum etiquette for the rest of the season 😉

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