Skip to content
Traditional journalists don’t understand new media

Warning: the following reading will take you at least 10 minutes. There’s still time to quit and abdicate, because once you’ve started, there’s no stopping it.

Sleeping allows us to recharge our batteries and have energy for the next day. But in my case – and I suspect it may be the same for you too – sleeping is a great way to synthesize what’s happened in my/our last 16 hours and put it away in specific drawers of my/our brain.

I set myself an important rule about ten years ago: always wait at least 24 hours before making an important decision. This allows me to make well-considered decisions and prevents me from being silly.

That’s how I approached the following text when I had the idea of writing it yesterday around 11:00 am.

On Monday, I had a shit-fest with JC Ouellet, Patricia Vincent and Pierre Couture in Quebec City, but it turned out to be an excellent radio segment. The thrust of the segment was that we can no longer debate and talk with people who don’t think like us in Quebec. Unfortunately, most people find themselves in silos where everyone thinks like they do.

And the people in the other silo are bloody imbeciles… cr*ss de caves!

Two days later, the excellent Max Lalonde(Gérants d’estrade) invited me to talk about non-traditional media on BPM Sports. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be a debate “for or against media like DansLesCoulisses “… with/against Richard Labbé.

I say debate, but we went one after the other. It seems that Max is preparing a 2nd round where we’ll be both at the same time…

Sincerely, I hope that BPM Sports will continue to leave room for debate… other than the Pezzetta or Ylonen type on channel four? It makes for good radio.

Before going any further, I invite you – if you have the time – to listen to Richard’s…

Then, mine (which followed).

I’m not going to give you a word-for-word summary of Richard’s comments. I wouldn’t want to misquote him. Go and listen to him.

But I will take the liberty of commenting on them.

Clinging to the traditional model
Basically, Richard, in a flight of “me, I, we, my profession, my importance, my privileges” made a point of extolling the importance of true investigative sports journalism… by spitting on non-traditional media.

He seemed out of his depth, lumping everyone together and thinking that people like me get up in the morning, never talk to any sources and make up rumors as they see fit.

Reread the paragraph above. I’m not making anything up. It’s really what he said.

Honestly, with that alone, he’s totally discredited himself. To think that all sports blogs do the same thing and have no ethics – from the smallest read by 4 people to the one whose stats are better than the TVA Sports site – is to show that you don’t know your subject, Richard. And after that, you’re going to tell us that we should listen to real journalists because they’re more reliable? Come on… I hope journalists do more research and know more about the subtleties – not so subtle, hehe – of the things they talk about on air or write about on their keyboards.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of ethics: shouldn’t a journalist keep a good distance from the people he or she covers as part of their job mandate, according to the journalistic code of ethics? Is this principle always applied?

Sports journalism vs. other forms of journalism
Secondly, to think that the sports journalist is as important and as necessary to the society in which we live as the investigative or political journalist is to believe in Santa Claus riding in on a unicorn to deliver his presents in the middle of December July. Investigative journalists are feared by politicians, businessmen, criminals… in short, by the subjects they cover.

Do you really think the Canadiens fear Renaud Lavoie and company that much? They’re fans, partners (legal agreements with the club or not), collaborators, spokespersons, entertainers… but their work is rarely journalistic. They’re good, they’re entertaining, they bring news… but they don’t do big journalism, we’ll agree on that.

Sport is show business. Journalists intermingle with former players, with people who also work for the organizations they cover, and with popular public figures. Give me a break on journalistic purity in the world of sports…

There aren’t many real sports journalists in Quebec who never withhold news for fear of offending athletes or organizations. Martin Leclerc does it very well… but after that, there aren’t many who can boast of doing the same job as Rick Westhead in English Canada, for example.

Especially not those who constantly advertise illegal online betting sites…

The journalism degree
Third, I think we have to stop saying that traditional sports journalists are pure because they have a journalism degree. Many of them don’t have a degree in journalism or comm(listen to my appearance on BPM Sports to find out about some of them), and yet they all do a good job.

But I repeat: they don’t have a bachelor’s degree in journalism.


At DLC, we have five people trained in journalism or comm. We’ve never bragged about that, because that’s not what’s important. Except that sometimes you have to set the record straight.

When these people think we have zero sources, it makes me laugh. How many scoops has Richard released in the last six or seven years? Domi vs Galchenyuk, Matko Miljevic in Laval, Drouin vs Sergachev, Paul Houde’s departure, Gonzo’s adventure at Poche Bleue, Tony Marinaro’s Francophone jump, Norman Flynn’s end at BPM Sports, Andrei Markov’s fractured ribs in Russia, David Desharnais aggravating his knee injury in training… it’s right here on DLC, signed by the man you’re reading right now.

Either people like Richard don’t have inside info – even if they’re in the locker room, to use their own words – or they decide not to publish the inside info they’re able to get because of their proximity to the organizations. In either case, does the reader really benefit?

And that’s not counting the 1001 stories unearthed on the Web that the traditional media picked up within hours of reading them on…

We were here before and we’ll be here after
Stop thinking that without you, we wouldn’t exist… that we need your content. It’s fake news, as the other guy would say.

We were here 15 years ago, when you didn’t even know what “control + alt + delete” meant or caused…

And we’ll still be here 10 years from now. If we’re not, you can be sure of one thing: I won’t blame others. I’ll blame myself for not having made the right decisions and not having been able to adapt as a good manager/businessman.

If I could survive a “rant” like I was given in prime time somewhere in 2018, I’ll be okay.

Ah yes. .. also stop saying that all non-traditional sites exaggerate all their headlines dishonestly to force the reader to open the article to get the real info. To say that is to prove once again that you don’t know non-traditional media and the nuances between them… a subject that you take the liberty of addressing and criticizing on the airwaves of traditional media.

Journalism is in a bad way right now, and the world of sports is no exception. Except that if you think it’s because of me, you’re barking up the wrong tree. And you’re giving me far too much credit.

I’m doing my own thing, trying to meet people’s needs as best I can – with my team. Have you questioned yourselves in recent years? Instead of bawling that the world doesn’t consume you anymore, have you asked yourself why they don’t?

And if so, have you come up with any answers other than “Netflix, Disney+, Google, Facebook (Meta), the CRTC, Donald Trump, Pierre Poilievre, Elon Musk or X”?

The importance of independence
Many sports media are partners with sports teams or organizations these days.

Many journalists work for partners of the athletes they cover… when they’re not directly (and expensively) paid by the team or league itself! #AppleTV #MLS

Meanwhile, smaller people – passionate, independent and sometimes, yes, far from the press gallery – respond better to what the public wants because they’re independent and don’t answer to anyone.

In fact, maybe that’s the problem they have with me: I’m going to watch Olivier Renard’s press briefing from my basement today, and I’m going to do the same thing tonight with Martin St-Louis’. So I’ll have access to the same content as they do, without having to make the trip through the snow…

And I’ll be in bed 1h30 before them! And I won’t have to think: “Will this bit offend this or that person if I write it?

Instead of whining to keep your privileges, take off your blinkers and get to 2023. Don’t be like the cab drivers in front of the Uber bosses a few years ago. The inevitable has happened and the public has spoken. The market has been deregulated and the cab drivers’ demands haven’t found much echo.

We saw the traditional media attempt to modify their approach (belatedly) by trying to do what the guys in their basements were doing on the Web.

The day you stop seeing us as the enemy and realize that together, we’d just be stronger, you might stop managing a decline.

Believe me, it’s a lot more fun to manage growth…

Finally, here’s the link to my segment from yesterday:


I’m sure you’ve been following the Patrick Roy saga in Kanata over the past few hours…

It made me laugh to see pure journalists saying – some 20 hours after Norman Flynn’s exit – that we shouldn’t talk about it…

That all those who did had erred because it wasn’t true…

That the non-traditional sites that wrote about it were [insert any adjective you like].

Guys… we’re in sports here. We don’t perform open-heart surgery and we don’t (unfortunately) cure cancer.

Rumors (whose source is credible and which don’t touch people’s personal lives) are part of the game. To pretend otherwise and want it not to be the case is, once again, to show that you don’t understand the “customer “… and even worse, that you’re judging them!

When a guy from RDS comes out with a rumor like this, and the RDS website – as well as columnists from TVA, Radio-Canada, Cogeco and others – dare to talk about it – guess what: we’re going to talk about it too! And before the others…

And if it happens again tomorrow, we’ll still be talking about it.

And if it happens again tomorrow, we’ll talk about it again, with all the necessary precautions in place: conjugate in the conditional tense, say that Norman Flynn isn’t always right with his rumours, and so on.

More Content