And now, on to the articles...
|The Geico caveman in his little-seen first role.|
This article continues Dater's Jekyll and Hyde pattern of doing a decent (and sometimes, very good) job with the real-news articles for the Post, while simultaneously providing irritatingly banal, subjective, and often downright cranky offerings with his blog (and presumably, Twitter. I'm not even bothering with Twitter but I understand he's quite snippy there also). His recent blog entries have been biased, uninformed, and downright misleading—examples of everything a journalist should avoid—and then he flips the switch and offers a fairly well-done piece like this one.
While I'm not a particularly big fan of the Post's sports coverage in general, there are other sportswriters there who use the blogs in a professional manner which supports their coverage. More often than not, Dater's uber-personal use of the blog undermines, rather than bolsters, his regular coverage. Step one on the road to recovery for Dater is to ditch the Post blog entirely... or to at least use it as an extension of his professional, journalist personality, and find some separate blog engine where he can open up a personal blog and gripe to his heart's content about all the people and things in the world that piss him off. Blogspot seems to work fairly well for that, I recommend it.
This article is a good piece on Hejda. Dater's interest stories are generally very good, his post-game writeups are often spotty, and his blog entries are usually bordering on worthless... but this well-done article offers proof that with the proper focus, Dater can more than hold his own as a sportswriter.
Having just built a case against Dater's attempt to personally connect with his readers through the Post's All Things Avs blog, let's turn to his most recent endeavor there. After a quick (and, it should be said, rather professional and coverage-supporting) entry on Johnson being named the team's third alternate captain, Dater goes on to explain that he has purchased—apparently with his own money—two tickets to the Avs-Wings game, with the intention of giving them to one of his readers. He turned this into a treasure hunt, ultimately hiding them at a soccer field in Broomfield. It apparently wasn't much of a hunt, as somebody found them almost instantly.
This is not the first time Dater has had his readers tearing all over Denver looking for hidden items; last season he emptied out his bedside table he'd filled with Forsberg trinkets, and spread it out all over the city. While the old man in me who says "get off my lawn" to happy children wants to frown on such an obvious attempt to endear himself to his readers with free crap, I have to say that within the framework Dater's already built here, this opening-night ticket giveaway was a damn nice thing to do. He must have been dreading the possibility that somebody like me would have found his tickets, which makes it an even nicer thing for him do have done.
Dater, I think, really likes—and wants to be liked by—his readers, and clearly there are plenty who like him right back. I suppose I will never be on-board with his desire to socially network with his readers, but I do hope that he will realize that the best way to pay them back for their readership is to offer them the best hockey coverage out there. I don't doubt that Dater puts a lot of time into his blog, but he doesn't always put a lot of work into it. His readers deserve better... but until then, free tickets are a nice substitute.