12. Online Media Stigma
RCS: Coach Calhoun’s initial brush off of the story was that it was written by a couple of bloggers. Is there going to be a stigma associated with online journalism for a while that allows coaches and other officials to make those kinds of arguments?
Wetzel: Sure, we’ve been fighting it from day one. I started on the Internet in the late 90’s, and you couldn’t get press passes. When I started here, I was the first sports writer, and it was a battle to get credibility, and that battle doesn’t end. It takes time. But I don’t take it as an insult. You can call me a blogger. I’m good with that.
You didn’t hear him refuting the story, did you? Call me anything you want.
RCS: You also said that your opinions are as strong as your reporting and your access. There are lots of columnists out there who don’t go after stories, or stay out of locker rooms, for example. Do you value their opinions less, even though some of them are very well known columnists?
Wetzel: I’m kind of a manage-your-own-career-kind of person. I know what I can do. I’m not one of these guys who can sit there and say the Jets offense needs to do this. I don’t know anything about that. The way I feel comfortable doing this job, it would be ridiculous for me to offer up an opinion like that. Other people see it their way. I just know what I have to do to make the column credible. That’s just the game plan I have. If I’m not doing that then I don’t feel like I’m giving the reader the best I can do, and that’s really all I care about. The readers may not agree with everything I write, but I hope they know I work hard at the column.