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The Media Observed

One of the side-effects of spending so long at Summer League was getting the chance to see the media work up close and personal.  Since there's been a lot of back-and-forth over the years about the public portrayal of the team I thought some observations would be worthwhile.

Basically from what I could observe fans can be pretty comfortable taking what the media guys say at face value.  Everything I saw and heard behind the scenes was also pretty much what ended up in the newspapers and blogs.  I didn't observe any hidden agendas and I didn't read anything that really seemed to come from left field.  Not everything that was talked about backstage came out in the press but that is appropriate.  People are always hungry for more information.  I wish they were more enthusiastic about getting better information.  I've heard people rip Jason Quick because he doesn't come out with any new trade rumors.  Then when he does come out with some people rip him when they don't come true.  There's a tricky balance in there between conveying information that's asked for and conveying information that's true and important.  Everyone strikes that balance a little differently but it seems like our main media guys are well within the realm of reason in the way they do things.

I've also heard the claims that Jason Quick doesn't know what he's talking about because he's not connected, or that Mike Barrett is following a company line in what he says.  I think you can rest easy on those accounts right now.  I can tell you firsthand that Quick is better connected than any person outside the organization itself.  His relationship with the team seems cordial and honest and I saw team officials talking to him (formally and informally) on a frequent basis.  I don't always agree with everything he says and of course some things turn out to be false leads, but basically if you're hearing it from him you're hearing it as accurately and completely as you're going to get unless you get hired by the team.  I can also tell you that everything I heard from Mike Barrett was about the same as what you'd read in his blog and also fits in with what I observed around the team and the games.  Naturally there are some things he's not going to say because he is a part of the organization.  He admitted as much in his interview with Blazersedge last year.  But the words that come from his mouth are the same as those that come from his keyboard.  I really believe he's shooting as straight as he can in his blog even if, again, I might see things differently myself sometimes.

One last point:  for those who think the media prefers the team to do poorly so they can write more salacious stories I would guess that's far from the truth as well.  First of all the Portland media people I observed were excited and engaged this year.  Somehow I doubt that was the case two years ago at Summer League.  Second, when you're a hot, young team with great expectations like the Blazers are now your media people draw interest from other media people and even other team officials.  All of a sudden you have an audience and everybody is stopping to talk to you.  I, myself, was officially interviewed three different times at Summer League and I don't even have a real title.  It's always more fun when the team you cover is doing well and I would guess that in their heart of hearts media people prefer it that way.

Things have calmed down a lot since Pritchard took over but there's still a tendency to call out the media for bias, ignorance, or fabrication when they say something different than what you think.  I was watching and I was listening and I can tell you honestly that I didn't detect any ignorance or fabrication and there's probably less bias than we suspect.  Next time you hear somebody make a comment about the shortcomings of our media corps you can probably take that comment with a large grain of salt.  I have no particular reason to mis-report what I saw and heard--in fact this thread would get more hits and comments if I called somebody out--but there was nothing extraordinary to report.  We've got a fine, engaged media corps who pretty much knows what they're talking about.  End of story.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)