Saturday, April 30, 2011

Journalism as blog, blog as journalism

Along with the slow death of newspapering as we know it, we get confirmation that in the eyes of the world (or the Daily Beast) there is no more useless piece of academic paper than our BAs in journalism.

When I was in j-school, we knew we wouldn’t get rich out there – we knew, at least, that we’d probably make more than teachers. Just about all of us got a job in the field, if we wanted one.

Reporting and writing, if you could get hired, was fun – is still fun – and newsrooms were the best working environment in the known universe, and maybe still are, if you can find one with any people in it. Buttondowns and jocks, cynics and misanthropes, drinkers and gamblers and mumbling insomniacs found common cause there, and the only family they knew, lots of times.

The newsrooms I know best are tombs now, for various reasons, and the industry, if you poked it with a stick, would stir, but faintly.

Now, the Beast suggests, the current crop of journalism grads is learning how to say, “Want fries with that?” Which I’m pretty sure is code for, “At least I can blog.”

As for me, I left daily journalism more than 20 years ago. I went to the dark side, and I married a teacher. I freelance for a newspaper. And I blog. About golf.

I wrote elsewhere, a couple years back, that if I’m gonna have my head in the sand about world politics (poisonous) and global climate (catastrophic), it might as well be in a greenside bunker.

A lot of good journalists lost their jobs, which presumably means they have time to play golf, if they can afford it. And, they can blog. About golf, if they have a mind to.

There are some good golf blogs out there. Try http://weiunderpar, by Stephanie Wei. Or Or Golfdom Daily (

I have no idea if any of the proprietors of those sites has a journalism diploma.

And it doesn’t really matter, does it? There’s no more worthless piece of paper.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It might be Tiger, it might be time

I made the casual comment, after Friday at The Masters, “Tiger’s playing well.”

My close friend, who cares little for golf and is as sweet and demure as any wife-like object can be, said, “Is he still bangin’ a buncha chicks?”

Well, dear, I don’t know. They say he has a girlfriend now. They say she’s 22, by which I think they mean her age rather than she’s one of 22.

At which point it was time to move on to how Tiger actually played, and for anybody who thinks a major is enhanced when Tiger Woods is in the hunt, that’s all that matters. The person of close acquaintance in my life had no interest in anything that happened on the course at Augusta National, so I kept to myself that Tiger dropped in a tough putt on 18 Friday for his ninth birdie to get him to 66 for the day, two shots back of McIlroy overall heading into Saturday.

The best thing for big-time golf would be for Tiger to win, to have a duel to the finish like he had with Rocco Mediate at the ’08 U.S. Open. It would give credence to the “Tiger is back” talk and also support the notion that the young guns coming up laugh at the idea of being intimidated by Woods.

If it’s tougher for Tiger to win in these new times, what could be better for golf? That he does win, that you have to pay attention to him (and through the worst of it, who had bigger galleries?) but that others – like McIlroy? --  are good enough and tough enough to match him shot-for-shot.

As for the best of the young studs, well, Martin Kaymer missed the Masters cut. So did fellow major winners from last year Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen. So did Anthony Kim, D.A. Points, Hunter Mahan, Rory Sabbatini and Jhonattan Vegas, all big talents who’ve shown they can win.

In the end, it might turn out no one’s tougher than Tiger. Still. Let’s see.