Blazers beat writer Jason Quick of the Oregonian went on 95.5 The Game yesterday and mentioned that he had regrets about some of his comments regarding Rudy Fernandez and his ongoing trade drama. He said that he was facing pressure from his editor to write an editorial, a commentary on the situation whereas his job is normally to report on the facts. While I am sure we can all appreciate what it is like to be leaned on by your boss, what Quick did was inexcusable and unethical for a sports writer. More after the break.
It is not the job of Jason Quick to provide commentary, as Dave so eloquently pointed out in his recent article. Rather, Quick is to report on the facts so that his readers can draw their own opinions. Apparently Quick was asked to provide an opinion piece by his editor, and in a short amount of time. This is nothing new for professional writers: they face deadlines and demanding editors every day. For that reason alone, I do not pity Jason Quick.
I work in a job that requires me to be physically and mentally efficient at all times. I have stresses in my job just like Quick and all of you. It's part of working. Period. But my line of work doesn't require me to provide facts to the general public. I am not responsible for the opinions, beliefs, or thoughts of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people - Quick is. Quick has to understand not only the basic nature of his job - to report on Trail Blazers facts - but also exactly how his job affects the Trail Blazers fanbase and the organization itself. In one article, Quick can change the perceptions of many people in this market. That's a lot of responsibility for one man to have and should not be taken lightly.
Considering all of that, I'm not entirely sure that Quick should have accepted that assignment like he did. Knowing his job is to be a beat writer, not a columnist, he should have refused the assignment based on ethical grounds. Maybe that gets him in trouble with his boss, I don't know. But he shouldn't worry about that. He needs to concern himself with his own validity and the trust of his readers; if he loses either of those, what purpose does he really serve?
Maybe he made a bad decision. We all do that from time to time and I'm cognizant of that. But when you are entrusted with the kind of responsibility and access that Quick has, you have to be better with your decision-making. You have to be damned-near perfect. And perfect Quick is not.
I hope this serves as a wakeup call to the Oregonian, Quick, and his editor. With the newspaper industry facing increasing competition, the Oregonian cannot afford to allow these kinds of mistakes. The quality of online sports writing is getting better and better and I firmly believe that blogs like Blazersedge are of a higher caliber than some periodicals. If Quick doesn't improve his own quality, and soon, he might need to look elsewhere for work.