I’ve always taken exception to the sweeping use of the term “the media.”
Referencing the media is a purposefully broad statement that encompasses everything from The New York Times, The Independent Florida Alligator, ESPN, Fox News, whatever outlet, no matter the credentials, you want it to apply to, it can.
Specifics are important in journalism, and saying “the media” is kind of like saying, “Everybody is doing ____ ,” because you really can’t name which outlet, or person, you’re talking about.
Anyway, I know, this is a sports column, so I’ll do my best to stick to sports here.
Last Tuesday, I went to ESPN’s The Undefeated town hall on campus at UF. It was an event intended to focus on race, sports and culture, and, if you know me at all, everything about it was right up my alley.
Both professional and student journalists as well as athletes were on the panel. As the conversation turned to the potential of athletes or public figures’ mistakes being dug up and exposed on social media, Grant Holloway took aim at the media.
He said he and someone else on campus could both do something (for the purpose of this hypothetical, I assume he meant something bad), and he would be “plastered on the front page of the news.”
Well, just by writing this I’m proving him right — at least partially. If someone else went on a panel and said, “Whatever they can get their hands on they’ll love to put it out there and publish it just to get paid,” referring to the media, I, admittedly, would not write a column about it.
But the clout and celebrity that comes with being the collegiate world record holder in the 110m hurdles comes with responsibility, too.
Presumably, the source of Holloway’s current beef with the media was an article published a few weeks ago saying that coach Dan Mullen’s wife, Megan, was sexually harassing football players by greeting them at the Gator Walk before games with a kiss.
Holloway called it B.S., and I agree with him. So did many of my colleagues.
This is where we get back to my tirade against the use of the term media.
Anyone with an internet connection and the mental capacity to fire off 280 characters can have their opinion heard online. That’s what this person did, and Holloway, myself and many others took notice.
But you can’t draw the false equivalency between someone writing a clickbait article on a random website and other journalists.
Holloway theorized that this writer, who I’m purposefully not naming, did it for the money.
“I think he had to put out one more paper to meet the ends just to get paid,” Holloway said.
Well, it was an online article, and journalism doesn’t exactly bring in the big bucks anyways. Take it from a student journalist all too aware of the grim financial reality of my chosen field.
I’m just using this specific example as an excuse to bring something up that’s bothered me for quite some time. I didn’t see it coming, but as a member of “the media” I had to jump at the opportunity to write about it, of course.
I don’t mean to take aim at Holloway here, but I wanted to call out this specific misuse of the term “media.”
Follow Kyle Wood on Twitter @Kkylewood. Contact him at [email protected]