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And So It Begins..

State of the Union?

“When you write about media for a living, eventually you will write your way to your own doorstep.”  – David Carr, New York Times


“There’ll always be better writers. But if you’re the expert on a subject and that subject comes up, they’ll call you.” – Michael Madden, The Boston Globe


“Bruce, I’m not sure why you have this guest columnist on your site once a week. I’m not sure why I should care about his opinion. He’s not doing your site any favors.” – Random Commentator

Eight short months ago – before my writing career took me to my current adobe, Sports of Boston – I ran a website focusing on sports and culture.

(Why? Because, I’m original like that.)

One day I’d write about the career resurgence of J.Lo in American Idol and the next I’d write about TMZ Tom Brady (the moniker used for Tom Terrific when bemoaning his proclivity to do questionable things like sponsor Male Uggs).

After a few months writing on said-site, the editor-in-chief of Sports Of Boston, KC Downey, gave me a shot to write for his site. Eventually, I found my niche — Media Musings. The column opened up doors eight months ago, I never could have imagined possible.

I gained a weekly spot on Boston Sports Media Watch [a site I’ve frequented since 2005], made an ass out of myself [Andy Gresh once called me an ‘idiot’ media blogger on the radio], and have learned valuable lessons from people I’ve long admired in the industry (David Scott, Rich Shertenlieb, Chad Finn, Bruce Allen, Michael Holley, & many more).

The internet is like cable television. It is extremely specialized. For instance, there are thousands of Boston Celtic fan sites. Hell, there is a site just based off former center, Kendrick Perkins.  The over/under of how many columns last week written about the Patriots woeful secondary is roughly set at 1,087. I can’t compete with that.

So I asked myself, why is my ‘take’ on a sports issue anymore valuable than Joe Six Pack’s? The answer is, well, it isn’t. I subsequently sequestered myself and thought about what exactly I can bring to the Sports Of Boston community. I came up with the concept of media musings, pitched it to Mr. Downey, and have been ruminating on things like Tony Massarotti’s hatred of the Patriots since.

My main premise and objectives:

1.) Find the holes in shoddy work (as easy as it sounds, actually).

2.) Laud the good content.

3.) Most importantly, accurately detail the same disclaimer I found for myself: What makes someone in the mainstream media an expert? Larger platforms are not enough of a factor to deem someone an ‘expert’. That changed earlier this decade, when a platform could be created with 10 dollars and an internet connection. Because you’re on the radio or ESPN? That may mean you have a megaphone to voice your thoughts, but it certainly doesn’t give any advantages.

In fact, I’ve found the larger platform you have the more exposed you are. Complacency is no longer an option, and you will be exposed.

(Note: This includes major blogs like The Big Lead & Deadspin)

I’ve been writing about the media for almost a year now. My readership has grown exponentially. However, still, no one wants to hear my take on Pat Chung, but they want to know what I think of Michael Felger launching a cat fight with Heidi Watney (Or, maybe, they just want to look at pictures of Heidi).

Part of the nature of media musings leaves me feeling odd in terms of writing. Don’t get me wrong, everyone likes taking down The Machine. It’s cool being “The Watcher”. But, in the same token, I’m not Jim Rome. I don’t plan on putting people on blast for a living.

I learned the local media treats enjoy their critics’ work (Bruce Allen & myself), much like Hollywood executives enjoyed Entourage. Is part of that vanity? Probably. I’ve been thanked for praise dispersed more than attacked for harshness.

As Michael Holley told me on a recent podcast, the Boston market allows for so much content to be consumed. I’m not breaking any new ground here: But Boston is crazy for sports. This fact alone has made my task easier. For instance, on our SoB email chains we are fed with story ideas from various sources. Meanwhile, my story ideas stem from being a consumer. I turn on the radio, read the paper, and watch television.

Does that make me an expert?

I’m not sure.

I was posed the very question at a BU survey class I was asked to attend and speak at. The only story I’ve broken was Kathryn Tappen parting ways with NESN to join the NHL Network. I’ll be covering my third Arbitron ratings cycle this when the fall numbers are released this winter in the ‘radio wars’.

Though, most of what I write is reactionary — Glenn Ordway is asked to take a pay cut by Entercom; consequently, I expect “Felger & Mazz” to out-rate “The Big Show.” Cause and effect, really. This isn’t rocket science. With so many outlets in so many different mediums, content writes itself — I just spin it toward the aforementioned three goals.

I used to joke, “Let me channel my inner _____ (media critic, I.E. Chad Finn, Richard Deitsch, etc.),” before every media musing column. Eventually I stopped opening with that line. I’d like to think this was because I found my own voice.

So without further adieu, and also because I don’t  want to sound like your best friend’s Live Journal post from 2004, let me outline what you can expect to find here..

Point Taken will be the host for my podcast, essentially speaking. However, I will also be blogging other thoughts sporadically. This will mostly include media notes. In fact, I would not be surprised if media musings becomes an aggregate column on thoughts posted here.

I will also be posting small blog entires or what my sports writing professor likes to call the “Sanity Pieces.” This is the stuff I write for entertainment and to sharpen my skates more than anything.

Why do you think I’m having Adam Kaufman from CBS Boston Sports on to talk entertainment? The dude gets it. Sports should be fun. Every now and then I have to step away from telling you why Andy Gresh doesn’t deserve a midday show in this market, and give you my thoughts on Deion Branch’s touchdown celebration.

So come one and come all, this should be fun spot to check out regularly…

About Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is the author of the weekly Sports Media Musings column at Sports Of Boston. Hadfield is known as one of the top sports media critics in Boston. He also contributes to Boston Sports Media Watch. In November 2011, Hadfield helped launch the new SoB Point Taken blog featuring his podcasts & musings on sports, media and culture. Follow Ryan on Twitter.


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