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Mark Janssen Criticizes Another Journalist: Pot, Meet Kettle

In the aftermath of Friday's roller-coaster run through the apparent hiring and subsequent non-hiring of Gary Patterson as K-State's next football coach, Mark Janssen decided to get involved.

This is probably only natural, given that Janssen is the sports editor for the Manhattan Mercury, the local newspaper that should be the primary source for K-State sports coverage.  You'll notice I said "should."  That's because, for time immemorial, the Mercury has been just about the last place to which fans turn for K-State coverage.

For example, I read a lot of sites each day to stay informed about what's going on with K-State and other schools around the country.  I read the Kansas City Star, the Topeka Capital-Journal, and the Wichita Eagle.  Additionally, I read each Big 12 site on SB Nation, because though they are not news sites themselves, they link to news articles and explain what is going on with their team.  Finally, I read The Wiz of Odds, Tim Griffin's Big 12 Blog on, and Dr. Saturday over at Yahoo! Sports.

You may have noticed that the Mercury is not on that list.  That would be a direct result of the fact that the last informative article I read from that publication was the story explaining the student-ticket situation prior to this football season.  Prior to that, I'm not sure I could mention another interesting or insightful story.

Most of you followed what happened last Friday, here and over at GoPowercat.  Tim Fitzgerald, the proprietor of GPC, broke the story that Gary Patterson had been hired as K-State's next coach, based on reports from multiple sources.  About an hour later, the story was retracted after Patterson's agent denied the hiring to Fitzgerald.  All hell really broke loose then when Patterson himself called into a DFW sports radio station and went ballistic over the leak.

In the wake of all this Janssen, no doubt tired of being the second-best source of K-State news in Manhattan, decided he would use the situation to get revenge on Fitzgerald, who from everything I can tell has better sources and is a better reporter than Janssen.  I find it nothing short of absolutely silly that Janssen writes "Internet journalism is pretty much an oxymoron" in an article that was posted on the Internet.

I understand that Janssen went to journalism school, or whatever course of study he undertook, back in an age when typewriters were cutting edge.  But his aversion to computers and the Internet is a Stone Age mentality that probably goes a long way toward explaining why the Mercury is such a poor source for news.

Janssen further makes the ridiculous statement that pieces of information posted on "message boards namelessly and faceless [sic] by anyone from Ms. Scarlet to the candlestick maker have become pretty much assumed as fact-based."  If anything, I consider information posted on message boards purportedly as rumor or fact-based highly suspect.  Here, Janssen fails to make the crucial distinction between what is posted on message boards, and what is posted on the news portion of sites such as GPC.  You will notice on this site, which is not and does not pretent to be a journalism site, that we do not post to message boards as support for anything.  We post to established journalism sources, including newspapers, magazines, and Internet sites that base their news on solid sourcing.

Whether Janssen likes it or not, is such a site.  It has reporters, such as Fitzgerald, D. Scott Fritchen, and Rob Cassidy who gather information and publish it, either in an online medium or in the print edition of Powercat Illustrated.  Janssen's apparent belief that only information printed in ink on paper is credible information is an incredible mindset that almost defies explanation.  Type of medium does not make a story credible; the sources that go into a story are what make it credible.

I'm not going to get into an analysis of what the various parties, including George Bass and Jack Vanier, have said in the newspaper, because this is still a tenuous and sensitive situation.  What I will say, however, is that while I think Fitzgerald made a terrible mistake in running this story before the parties were ready for it to be run, and by doing so may have cost his alma mater its chance to hire the best coach available for its now-vacant job, Mark Janssen has no room to be criticizing anyone's journalistic abilities.


Tye Burger, B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communications, Kansas State University 2006