April 19, 2008

Bigger Disgrace to MD Journalism: Christmas Ape or Jayson Blair?

The biggest story in the sports blogosphere this week was unquestionably the firing of Christmas Ape/Mike Tunison from the Washington Post for his postings on Kissing Suzy Kolber. An under-reported aspect of the story (from this Terp's point of view) is the fact that Tunison is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Maryland's journalism school has a long and storied history (famous alumni include Connie Chung and Bonnie Bernstein), but it is best known as the place that gave Jayson Blair a degree (correction: he attended Maryland but never graduated). Blair embarassed the New York times by lying in some of his stories. Tunison embarassed the Washington Post by being a successful blogger. The question is, which one has disgraced the College of Journalism more?

Proof of a Maryland conspiracy to take down national newspapers.

Some would say that the answer should be obvious because Blair was fired for lying while Tunison was fired for telling the truth. But Blair was fired for things that were printed in a newspaper. Tunison's firing was due to the fact that he's a blogger. And we all know what real journalists think of bloggers.

I'll leave it for the commenters to judge between these two, but I think the lesson here is clear. If you're a major national newspaper, don't hire anyone from Maryland, you'll just end up embarrassed.

9 Responses:

KGoon1590 said...

Actually, if you're a major national newspaper, please hire people from Maryland. We have a damn good J-school.

Jayson Blair is the bigger disgrace. He just made up stuff that he said while lounging in his in apartment. UMD students have to bear this shame everytime we go to an interview. However, fun fact: Blair never actually graduated from Maryland - they didn't give him a degree.

As for Christmas Ape, I don't consider him a journalist.

J-Red said...

I vote for Jayson Blair, because he inspired the questionable Baltimore Sun storyline on The Wire.

Dean said...

I know I may be in the minority but... He worked for an elite, establishment paper while blogging for an unabashedly crass, irreverent and quite often vulgar blog. Honestly, what did he expect?

He got canned from WaPo for blogging for KSK... wear it like a badge of honor.

KGoon1590 said...

Actually, I'm also going to have to request that you run a correction for the Jayson Blair thing. You know, how he didn't get a degree. It makes a difference - at least, to me it does.

He really didn't graduate, in fact, he lied about that to the NY Times as well.

Brien said...

kgoon: fixed, thanks for the catch.

dean: I think you're way off base. Most jobs give you a lot of freedom in your personal life outside of work. Crassness and irreverence when you're off the clock generally isn't grounds for firing. Vulgarity could possibly be, but I still think it's a stretch.

Dean said...

Could it be that he violated a term of his contract with respect to writing for an "other than WaPo"? With the hammering that print media's reputation has been taking of late, I wouldn't be surprised if such a clause exists.

If I'm running a main stream paper, I'm not sure I want one of my employees making dick jokes on one of the most widely read sports blogs around. Btw, lest there be any suspicion of an agenda, I love KSK.

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