Know When You've Outgrown A Shtick

The following is a response to John Steigerwald’s recent column on the San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten by two Los Angeles Dodgers fans to the point where he remains comatose since the evening of April first.

Maybe it’s time for sports writers to grow up.

As I’m writing this, John Steigerwald, a former sports anchor in Pittsburgh, is being ridiculed and scorned by critics, colleagues and anyone else with any level of human compassion and understanding.

Even the comments section on his column at the Observer-Reporter.com had to be disabled as he deals with a 1.05 rating from readers judging his piece by using a one to five scale with one being the worst and five being the best.

Steigerwald recently wrote about Bryan Stow, placing blame on the comatose man for daring to wear a San Francisco Giants jersey to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home opener on April first, and getting beaten within an inch of his life. The outlandish piece was obviously too much for anyone with any sense to handle. Readers of his column say that Steigerwald’s ideas are similar to blaming a victim of rape for dressing provocatively.

It’s probably safe to say that the writer was absolutely trolling for page views with his column, but somewhere in his incapable and inconsiderate mind, he probably also thought they he doing his duty as a journalist.

He was giving a truthful opinion.

Maybe someone can ask Steigerwald, if he ever recovers from his own stupidity, why he thought it was a good idea to attack a man in a coma for his fashion choices.

Remember when it was just the bloggers writing outlandish nonsense? It was a common sight to see an actual accredited journalist compose an article that didn’t pander to page views and schlocky opinion pieces, while nonsense commentary that has no basis in reason or acceptability was left to websites like Bleacher Report.

Cute.

Are there full grown men out there attempting to bait others through ridiculous opinions?

Are there really journalists out there who believe that writing such over reactive drivel is contributing in any way to anything other than ill will toward them?

Here’s a tip for you if you actually think that you can build or enhance a career off writing inappropriate and poorly thought out rants.

You can’t.

Real writers don’t attempt to court attention through shock value. Sure, occasionally you’ll collect some page views with an outlandish opinion that’s so ridiculous that it’s almost impossible to believe that it’s genuine. But eventually, people will see you for the trolling, disingenuous person that you are.

If you write with page views in mind and without some sense of genuineness, please stop offering your thoughts and opinions. You’re not a very good writer.

Let’s review: If you’re making stupid suggestions for the sake of getting attention, you’re a hack. If you’re writing with a level of genuine conviction and eschewing gimmicks all while remaining interesting, you’re a writer worth reading.

Obviously, not every amateur writer is using words to attack defenseless people for the sake of trying to make a name for him or herself. But maybe somebody should do a psychological study to find out if the idea of fame and attention has contributed to all of the terrible writing and poorly planned columns that are published online.

There’s an outside chance that delusion plays a role but apparently, the publication has ruled that out and continues to employ Steigerwald.

If you’re one of two or three writers who believes that this is a way to grow a following, guess what? Readers will stop visiting your nonsense and you’ll become a sad and broken record (see Chass, Murray).

If you’re set upon by a bunch of reasonable people, offended by what you’re cynically suggesting, you probably shouldn’t expect any help from the lowest common denominator that you’re pandering to because others can sway them just as easily as you have.

Why not just write reasonable pieces like a regular human being? When did it become necessary to be a complete and utter asshole just to get attention?

Comments (9)

  1. Well said. Trolling for views by being controversial is never a good strategy. It isn’t sustainable and makes you look like an ass.

  2. You should save this article for future use. You will be required to make minor edits so this article is directly referencing the Sun or the Star…but you basically have it covered. Good work.

  3. “Why not just write reasonable pieces like a regular human being? When did it become necessary to be a complete and utter asshole just to get attention?”

    When some writers realize that they simply don’t have anything to offer as a regular human being and nothing that is both interesting and reasonable to say. It’s a shame, and Steigerwald is an embarrassment to himself and his employers.

    Great article, Dustin. Both interesting and reasonable.

  4. Well put.

    Integrity in all forms of journalism is sincerely lacking these days, and it’s nice to know that some people still care.

  5. Yes this type of garbage journalism can backfire. But it can also produce big rewards. Case in point: Damien Cox.

  6. Why would anyone put the blame on Stow? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I’m sure most of us have worn a visiting jersey. I did it to old Yankee Stadium, wearing Jays gear, and had a great time. Nobody hassled me there. I can’t believe somebody would say, hey, it’s his fault for wearing opposing colours. This isn’t a gang war.

  7. Great article, agree wholeheartedly with you. The funny thing is, this article would be just as great if you substituted the name ‘John Steigerwald’ with ‘Bleacher Report’. The sad thing is though, there are many out there who will click on these articles, if not to just get angry. This kind of hackery isn’t going to end soon, and I feel that there isn’t much we can do about it.

  8. How many more page views did this article provide Steigerwald? I’ve never heard of this guy and would never have known about this article’s existence had it not been for this post. While I agree with your sentiments, at some point you have to ask yourself if this sort of blatant controversy-courting is even worth addressing, of if you’re merely playing right into their hand.

    Really, the worst thing for any writer is to be ignored.

  9. what a fuckin dickhole

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