Before I went to college and before I did my internship and before I got my degree to prove that I am, in fact, an actual journalist, I was published in my local newspaper. It was just a “letter to the editor” but it was about the Buffalo Bills (how fitting) and how my hometown paper never gave them the front page story when they won or printed big color photos of the Patriots or Jets when they LOST but never of the Bills. (In essence, it was a very well composed rant.)
Now (5ish years later) I rattled off another (even BETTER) rant letter concerning the abysmal Bills coverage and it is again being printed. They sure like to eat up my writing for free…if they could PAY me to properly cover the Bills that’d be even better. Below is the letter that will appear in Sunday’s sports section (which you know everybody will be reading). I allowed my email address to be included in the paper, so stay tuned for the angry Jets fanmail I’ll be sure to get. Enjoy Bills fans, this is for you!
For as long as I’ve been able to read and understand the game of football, I have been consistently dissatisfied with this newspaper’s coverage of the Buffalo Bills. The lack of basic respect that this team receives is deplorable and it’s not an exaggeration to say that I begin many a Monday morning feeling physically disgusted.
This past week, however, my level of disgust skyrocketed and I believe I detected a distinct feeling of nausea. This occurred after reading the two articles about the Bills vs Jets game. I understand they were taken from newspapers in New Jersey and NYC–that does not, however, excuse the content printed. Perhaps the sports editors should take more care in examining exactly what words they will be printing–original content or pulled content, once it appears within the pages of the Times Union it becomes your responsibility.
I’m referring to a phrase found in “Sanchez, Jets fall flat.” The author writes, “bumbling Buffalo Bills.” In an article that is essentially a game recap, derogatory and unnecessarily belittling phrases are completely inappropriate. They imply a subjective opinion in what should be an objective account. In fact, that violates the basic core values of journalism and reporting. Perhaps the article should have also included an equally disparaging remark about the Jets. After all, they made plenty of sloppy mistakes–and let’s not forget, they lost!
More perturbing than the shoddy coverage laden with biased phrases like “a game that was supposed to be little more than a tune-up” and an overall concentration on how the Jets lost a 10-point lead (as opposed to how the Bills OVERCAME a 10-point deficit) was the fact that the sports section printed two articles about the game and neither of them focused on the Bills winning. Not one of them praised the Bills for ending their losing streak. Not one of them gave the Bills credit for finally pulling off the first divisional win in almost two seasons.
Instead, they were essentially a cryfest for Jets fans everywhere and it’s unacceptable. I don’t care if Albany IS “Jets country.” The Times Union is a community newspaper and therefore it should fairly satisfy all facets of its readership. I need not harp on the fact that the Bills are the only New York team and Albany is the capital of New York, not New Jersey. There are plenty of Bills fans just as disgruntled as myself that are forced to seek Bills news elsewhere.
Balance it out and print coverage from Orchard Park too. Or here’s a thought: write your own original content. Perhaps then you’ll take better care to deliver unbiased football articles that fans from both teams can enjoy.