Mike Wise of the Washington Post is a very good writer and has built a strong and solid following on the radio side at WJFK radio in Washington. He is a deep thinker who always looks for long form angles in his pieces and rarely follows the path that is easiest to tell a story. Recently he had an extensive piece on Olympian Rafer Johnson that showed the great value that senior athletes can have for a young and sometimes uninformed get it done now world. Mike has also overcome a freak accident to return to good health, get married, and later this week will be a father. He has some great long term relationships with media, and always speaks his mind and voices his opinion.
Like many other journalists, he has also slowly but surely embraced the new world of social media, and has helped the Post grow its following online in a time when newspapers are scrambling to balance the needs of the immediate and the historical.
So on Tuesday it came as a disappointment to hear that Wise had been suspended for a month (although he was going on family leave for a while as well) for testing the waters with a misleading tweet about a reduction in Ben Roethlisberger suspension. The tweet was picked up by a host of followers who ran with the news, seemingly from a credible source, a columnist from the Washington Post. However as we now know, the post was a test by Wise to show the lack of credibility in reporting news that is unsubstantiate. and is in the form of a few word.by anyon.without the ability to check its accuracy.
Maybe it was done out of frustration, maybe out of arrogance, maybe just to prove a point that it could be done. What it really did was damage the reputation of a solid writer amongst some of his peers while fanning the flames of the fire that continues to smolder between traditional media and those who use the digital world as their voice, be it on opinionated blogs or legit news sources..Like UCon.s Jim Calhoun, who ranted against bloggers in a press conference last year, or countless other established organizations who refuse to acknowledge, understand or embrace what is good about the emerging media, the move to.expos. the lack of credibility damaged the person who spoke out more than those he was trying to make an example of.
The forms of social media and those who use it effectively are growing every day, and the dollars being invested in those forms of media are also increasing. Sites like The Big Lead and Pro Football Talk report on and break legitimate news, and blog sites like AOL Fanhouse and Yahoo Sports provide a voice for both young and established journalists who are growing their craft. Yes there are issues, as there are with every form of media. Anyone with a knowledge of how to manipulate key words and a keyboard can vent and post false information about any topic, and can reap the benefits of it for his or her own audience for a short period of time. However those people are not looking for careers as writers or journalists, they are looking for self attention and over time, like many of the loudmouths who permeated talk radio in its infancy or fired off unsubstantiated stories in the days of yellow journalism, will be weeded out as the medium settles itself.
There is also no sound financial formula that shows this kind of medium can be entirely self sustaining for the long haul, and the need for credible, traditional news and information sources continue. to exist and will hopefully still flourish in a solid and adaptable form.
Is this the career changer for a solid writer like Wis. No. Does it probably give a voice to those who he was trying to weed out, and make victims out of people who are usually creating victims of their own through unsubstantiated wor. You bet. What is it we tell people, two wrongs do.t make a righ.? Here is another example.
Now luckily we live in a society today where we will forgive and forget, and Wise was on his show Tuesday continuing to conduct business as usual. It was probably an even wider forum for his story that the Washington Post itself. Now i.s hard to say if there is a lesson learned here. Old wound opened agai. For sure. Myths personified agai. Probably. A chance for the uninformed to rise agai. Yes. An opportunity to explore the blurred lines of communicatio. No doubt. Not sure if all of that was what Mike Wise had in mind when he got up this week, as he faced being a father with the beginning of the fall.
Where this will go is unsure right now. Bloggers and online journalists wo.t go away. We need good writers to tell the stories and report the news effectively. Hopefully there is a happy medium and maybe when he comes back from his hiatus Mike Wise, a very good writer, can help find it again.