Badseed's Bottomline #402:

What does it mean to be a journalist?

By Badseed

Hey yo!  So, I kicked off the next 100 Badseedís Bottomlines in a rather interesting matter.  Who would have thought that I would finally get my chance to interview for a job with the WWE?  Who would have thought that I would end up not even wanting the job?  Despite this revelation, I still was upset with how my interview transpired. 

Mr. Smackdown and The Taskmaster told me that I was a dirt-sheet reporter because I wrote a column on the Internet and ďdid not know enough about the product and what went on in the WWE to be commenting on it.Ē  Are you serious? 

The real reason I was given this label is because I criticize the WWE; plain and simple.  If I wrote glowing reviews about every show, they would never bring up my wrestling inexperience and would have probably called me the exception to the norm.  Now, I find this whole thing interesting, because Mike Lupica is a well-respected journalist who tends to criticize certain aspects of sports even though he has never been a major league player during his lifetime. 

Why do I need to be a wrestler in order to be able to criticize the product?  I mean, back in the day, Vince McMahon was not a wrestler when he decided he knew enough about wrestling to create a global empire.  It was only after he achieved true fame that he stepped in the ring with Steve Austin.  So, I donít get the disrespect that I was showing.  I love wrestling and watched it since I was five.  I was watching the NWA, UWF and World Class Championship Wrestling since I was young.  I didnít just know the WWE.  I knew it all.  When TL Hopper deputed in the WWE, I knew he was ďDirty White BoyĒ on the independent scene.  I know these things.  I am a student of the industry.  I pay attention.  I have every right to write about it. 

There is a Sports Professions High School in the Bronx.  They teach students that they can have other jobs in the sports industry outside of athletics.  Students can become sports industry lawyers or work in sports medicine.  They donít have to be athletes to do those jobs; why do I have to have wrestling experience to write about it? 

Say what you want about other dirt sheet reporters, because I do not know them.  I know all about me and I am a journalist.  I have been writing since I was five and my writing teacher said I had an aptitude for the field.  I have been the editor of the school paper wherever I went.  I have a bachelor of arts in creative journalism.  I have been writing for newspapers for seven years and went from being the managing editor to a sports editor, entrusted with creating the companyís first dedicated sports section in its 25-year history, while also co-building the entire website for my community newspaper.  I work with police officers.  I work with politicians.  I work with celebrities.  I work with the everyday man and woman on the street.  I am a journalist.  My stories; the ones I write on a weekly basis do not occur with the benefit of a script ahead of time.  I donít go into my news story with an inkling of what is going to happen before it occurs.  Yes, Roddy Piper got cancer and thatís unscripted, but when the subject of your piece works for the same company you work for, itís hardly digging for a story.  Itís like me turning around to the production department and getting quotes about the murder that happened up the block.  Of course they would give me a quote.  We work together.  We have the same boss.  Thatís an easy one. 

Writing for WWE.com would have been an easy job.  Batista is going to win the world title at Survivor Series.  Well, we have to do a story about that.  I will give him a call right after the show or walk up to him right after the show.  Itís not like other journalists will get in my way.  There are none.  This is not like covering football.  I do that.  I know. 

So, I was watching a Cole Report the other night and saw some guy in Iraq claiming to be a journalist; trying to be like meÖcause I am a journalist.  I believe he said something somber and sincere about how the men and women were fighting in Iraq for the freedoms we so often take for granted.  Thatís what we call editorializing.  Stick to the facts.  Thatís what a real journalist does.  Itís taught in Journalism 101.  Talk to a member of the enemy party and hear what they have to say before you pretend your report is balanced journalism.  True, they do not have the freedoms we take for granted, but donít base your reporting on other news reports.  Dig into a story yourself.  Stop assuming things.  What you did was a commentary, which is cool, because thatís exactly what I do?  But you never fought in a war.  You never covered the battle from the front lines.  What do you know?  Youíre like a military dirt-sheet reporter.

I heard this journalist has experience in Bosnia.  I remember being told that working for an independent league means nothing.  Bosnia is like the independents when you put it up against the devastation and death toll that is Iraq.  Iraq is more comparable to Vietnam.  This is my controversial comment for the moment.  Forgive me, but I am just stooping to an immature level to prove a point.    I worked 9-11.  I know how devastating the events that are going on can be.  And my heart goes out to all troops fighting in a war they shouldnít be fighting.  Thatís just my opinion.  I understand the other side of the coin, too. 

But at least he has that award from the congressman for your in-depth war coverage as of late.  Oh waitÖhe doesnít have an award from a congressmanÖor a senatorÖor an assemblyman.  That would be me.  And why doesnít he get these awards?  Well, because, like it or not, a lot of people look down at what he does for a living.  Many people find wrestling to be a joke.  I donít, but some do and I think that most wrestlers would be insulted by that notion.  They would find it unfair to be judged in this matter.  Well, if you donít like to be judged unfairlyÖstop judging other unfairly. 

I am Jon Minners.  This is the Badseedís Bottomline and in it, I write a commentary on the wrestling scene from the fanís perspective.  I am a fan.  I know all about being a fan.  What do you know about being a fan?  Those who criticize what I do are tools for the trade.  Those freedoms we take for grantedÖthey include free speech and thatís what this wrestling column is about.  Donít like itÖdonít read it.  Itís okÖI have thousands of others who will.  Peace

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