Self-defense against an unnecessary rant

Randy Miller of the Courier-Post went on a lengthy Twitter rant against us on Friday afternoon. If you'd like background on exactly why, click here. Below, we've defended ourselves against his many inappropriate claims.

(Miller has since deleted many of these tweets, and thus the hyperlinks below will not work. If you do not believe the veracity of them, however, just ask any of his nearly 4,000 followers who were on Twitter on Friday afternoon. They'll testify that all of this was actually said.)

Yes, I emailed his editor. I would have emailed Miller directly, but it's clear that he's not exactly our biggest fan. Safe to say we wouldn't get a fair response from him on this. Besides, his editor is in charge. We had an incident in the past where a local paper failed to cite Broad Street Hockey for a story, and we learned that the editor, not the writer, was the one who made that call. ("We don't cite blogs" was the basic tone of the response.) That incident was handled without the need to take it public, but it goes to show that the editor often times is the one making the decision here.

Given that, plus the cold reception Miller has often shown us, we felt it was appropriate to ask the editor for comment.

Miller talks as though "ripping other writers" is all we do at Broad Street Hockey. We do original analysis everyday, educated commentary, some of the most original statistical analysis of this game located anywhere, and we're home to the largest Flyers community on the web. Oh, we even break news from time to time too. If that makes us losers, I think we're all fine with the label.

We don't use quotes all that often, actually, but we never "steal" quotes. At times we gather quotes on our own, and if we use quotes from a Flyers beat writer, we always source that writer. Always.

(Back in December, we wrote a quick post on news that Claude Giroux would not be joining the team on a trip to the Nation's Capital. In our haste, we forgot to add proper attribution. Sarah Baicker of CSN Philly rightfully called us out on Twitter for it, and five seconds later, we realized our mistake, apologized and attributed the news properly to Paul Holmgren and the Flyers, who had announced the news on Twitter.)

I'd challenge Miller to find a single instance where we've failed to source somebody properly. It'll be a futile effort.

As for the "more readers!" quip, the Courier-Post has a daily circulation of about 70,000. As a Gannett-owned paper, Miller's work is also syndicated in several other papers. On occasion, his work will be in USA TODAY. A greater potential audience each day? Yes, Miller has it. (Although I guess you could also argue that the entire SB Nation network, with our 100 million unique pageviews per month, is our potential audience.)

How many of those newspaper readers are picking up that paper solely for Miller's work, though? At BSH, our ~700,000 unique pageviews per month are certainly less than the number of people who could potentially see Miller's work, but all of those readers are highly engaged. They're coming here for one reason: They want to read and talk about the Philadelphia Flyers, not high school sports or the Phillies or local politics in Camden County.

We could employ a "beat writer" in the traditional sense if we wanted. We can get the access. Hell, we have the access.

It's an oversaturated job, though. There are about six or seven writers who cover this team on a day-to-day basis. They all work for different publications across the Delaware Valley, and we believe that's a holdover from a by-gone era when the only way to get the news was to pick up your local paper in Delaware County or Bucks County or Camden County or where ever.

Today, that's simply not the case, and that means that there are a bunch of beat writers doing the exact same job on a day-in, day-out basis. How many mornings do we wake up, take a look at BSH's Morning Fly By and see essentially the exact same stories, fueled by the exact same quotes?

Why would we want to be Beat Writer No. 8? What's the value in that?

If there was a lack of news on this beat, we would fill that void. There is not, so we provide what we believe is added value. We provide analysis of this game and this team from the fan perspective, and considering our readership has grown more than we ever could have expected since we started doing this in early 2009, we think people enjoy what we do.

Not only is this an unprofessional, immature, unnecessary attack, it's 100 percent untrue. As we said: We're not in the business of making news around here. Sometimes it happens, but not often. There are plenty of people out there doing a fine job of that already.

I'm not quite sure what he means by "rips players all the time," but when we criticize players, we're extremely fair about it. I'd say we walk a fine line between giving players their due, sticking up for players who don't get the respect they deserve and yes, criticizing players when they deserve it.

Besides, I'm not sure how Miller would know any of this. He said directly to my face in the Verizon Center press box in Washington, D.C. back in March that he doesn't read our site.

I played hockey (pretty poorly) from about age 5 to ... well, I still play pick-up as often as I can. I'm not sure how much my having played the game actually matters when it comes to understanding it and being a fan of hockey and the Flyers since I was a toddler, though.

Calling somebody a punk is fun, but wait ... Chapter meeting!

The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association did indeed hold a meeting where they discussed Broad Street Hockey in the early part of the 2011-12 season. After that meeting, I met with the chapter prior to a late October game. I agreed that the meeting would be kept off the record, and so it will.

As for the chart he references, Eric T. did indeed run a few charts tracking Sam Carchidi's predictions. He defended the use of those charts in this post, and that's something we stand by.

Miller has a fair point here. We don't have all of the info without the seven beat writers who do that work. We concede that, and that's why we care so much about the quality of that work. But again: It's not "stealing information" when you're properly attributing it to its source.

(Unless of course Miller believes it's "stealing information" to use quotes that were taken from a one-on-one interview, even with proper attribution. In that case, I suppose it's "stealing information" to publish Ilya Bryzgalov quotes via a Russian reporter who got quite the scoop in an interview Tuesday evening.)

Also, a trend that's growing more and more: When it comes to a lot of news -- injuries, roster moves, etc. -- the Flyers have started circumventing the writers on the beat, announcing it directly themselves. This is starting to become a trend across sports. That December story where the Flyers announced that Claude Giroux would not travel with the team to Washington? We got that news directly from the team. We didn't need to rely on a beat reporter for it.

That's not to say that objective reporting is not necessary when it comes to sports teams or the Flyers. It's 100 percent necessary, and we're thankful for the writers that do great work on that front every day.

Again, we've never once "stolen" a quote. Proper citation is always given when we use quotes gathered by another source. We rarely even use quotes in our writing because we find them generally uninteresting -- especially those spoken after a game.

Speaking of unprofessional, here's a tweet that was deleted by Miller on Friday afternoon. He apparently regretted saying it as soon as he posted it, because there was a record of it on Twitter for what seemed like the blink of an eye. Nothing goes away forever on the Internet, however.

Again, this is the man who called us unprofessional:

Screen_shot_2012-05-11_at_6

I'd challenge somebody to go through the history of stories on BSH. Count how many of them focus on the media and how many of them focus on hockey. Then, tell us what we care more about.

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Journalists have to police themselves when it comes to plagiarism and other ethical issues, and we should be able to do so without being attacked like this. We'll defend ourselves against attacks when they happen though, and that's the point of the 1,700-plus words you just read. And I'm shocked you read them. Thanks for taking the time.

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