Benjamin J. Marrison, Editor Columbus Dispatch
Ray Stein, Sports Editor, Columbus Dispatch
Dave Van Stone, President and General Manager, WBNS AM/FM
Earlier today the Columbus Blue Jackets beat writer for the Dispatch, Aaron Portzline crossed the lines of professionalism and journalistic ethics. Many will argue that blogging and social media outlets should not be held to the same standard as those “legitimate” reporters are held to, however when a professional writer for a newspaper is working for that publication and publishing anything under those auspices he must be held to the same standards as the printed publication.
At 4:23 this afternoon, Mr. Portzline posted this to his twitter account: “San Jose jus[sic] scored again. It’s now 7-0.” Of course, last night’s final score was a six to nothing lose for the Blue Jackets. Humor can be used to lighten the tone when writing about a normally light-hearted subject that has not gone as expected. However, Mr. Portzline’s joke was not in his article about the game or any follow-up notes to be published to the Dispatch’s website or blog. The joke was made as a one-off on twitter.
The joke was, to begin with, not funny. If Mr. Portzline thinks he is an original humorist, he needs to think again. But worse, the joke crossed the line from laughing with you to laughing at you. Whatever Mr. Portzline thinks privately, the Dispatch or its associated writers are not the place for the type of joke.
I have grown increasingly disillusioned with the coverage provided by Mr. Portzline and his colleague Michael Arace. They have long seemed to have an axe to grind with the current front office and are today’s tweet seems to have been an unguarded moment when the pure dislike of the team shown through.
Earlier this season I wrote to the Blue Jackets and let them know I could take losing, but I could not take losing without class after an employee publicly lost his cool. To their credit I received a response from the Blue Jackets. A response that convinced me the Blue Jackets are committed to remaining a professional organization that the people of Columbus could be proud of.
Today I saw an employee of the Dispatch act in a classless manner, and I will exercise my right not associate with that behavior. I believe that one of the 97.1 radio hosts also made some controversial remarks on twitter and Facebook today. Scott Torgerson stated that he was glad that Derrick Brassard got beat up in last night’s game, he has since taken that post off of Facebook. Not a good day for the media family, I hope all of you can get you act together before next year’s NHL All Star Game. You can do better, I hope you will.
I am not a subscriber to the print version of the Dispatch. However, I have been an online reader of your Blue Jackets coverage until today. I do not believe the Blue Jackets problems have anything to with Dispatch writers or WBNS on-air hosts, but I do believe these people shape how Columbus and the Blue Jackets are perceived and they do us all a disservice when their actions and words display a lack of class and professionalism.
Thank you for your time