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Sports Blogging 101 With Ted Leonsis

In our second installment of Tweak the Ted we take a look at Leonsis’ blog post chiding Puck Daddy and Capitals Insider for reporting that Semyon Varlamov was going to the KHL and that Leonsis had deleted a blog post, respectively. Note that the source for the former was Varly’s agent and the latter is a thing that actually happened.

134,000 results in 0.13 seconds. Type in “Varlamov signs with KHL”.

Type in “Ted Leonsis buys Facebook,” and you’ll get 166,000 results.

This is how media works today. Instant- fast – unaccountable.

A Tweet is generated and recycled.

It leaps to become a story. The story is then recirculated.

It goes from online sources to great and established media entities; to newspapers, to cable to local television newscasts. The headlines morph from rumor to fact.

It thus must be true. Just look at the headlines and see how rumor morphs to facts.

Let me follow this logic: Online media outlets are “instant” and “fast,” and the information they provide then spreads to “great and established media properties” that then morph “rumor to fact.” Got it.

The media gets manipulated by an overseas agent; and a freelance media rep. That was too easy wasn’t it?

“An overseas agent,” or the player in question’s agent. “A freelance media rep,” or a reporter for the No. 1 NHL blog. Potato, potahto.

Isn’t the player’s agent a primary source for such a story? And, since that was clearly stated on Puck Daddy, doesn’t that mean the misdirection wasn’t so much the media’s fault as it was the agent’s fault, or maybe the player’s for choosing said agent?

But news moves so quickly. The media is off to the next story and rumor. So who cares?

You know what really grinds my gears? THE SPEED OF NEWS. Slow down, you guys.

Who cares if the old pixels are incorrect? The monster was fed and the stories are disposable. The media awaits the next tasty morsel from the blogger. In the old days the generator of bad news would be put into the penalty box. In the new world there is no accountability and we await the next feeding.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

“Ted Leonsis’s deleted blog post”– 30,700 listings in 0.09 seconds.

Maybe that’s because a blog post by Ted Leonsis discussing the Caps’ free agency plans on the day free agency began was deleted without explanation.

In the old days an established media journalist would call or email and ask “What is up?” What just happened with the blog post going down? What does this mean?

Ah, those were the days, when journos inquired about deleted blog posts and waited around rather than sharing what happened and updating their coverage as events unfolded.

But not today. There is an algorithm awaiting feeding. Controversy sells and being first to post matters. Being second to recycle is important to listings into Google crawlers. Deleting a blog post is BIG NEWS. We want our links to be linked back from 30,700 sites. Who cares if it was because of a typo and an editing process?

The editing process should not include wholesale deletion of blog posts for typos or for anything else, really, without explanation. Once “publish” is pressed the post is cached, syndicated, tweeted, etc. Because the Internet is forever, you see. Leonsis should know; he helped create it, I think.

Who cares if what was posted in my blog post turned out to be pretty accurate and transparent. It was more important to be first with the big news of a “deleted blog post”.

Yes, very big news. The editors of thought so much of it they played it front-and-center, right there on the Caps blog within the Caps section of the Sports section of the website. You couldn’t miss it.

Jagr to DC-2011-71,000 listings; Jagr to Pittsburgh 2011-2,470,000 listings; Jagr to Philadelphia 2011-2,510,000 listings. All in less than a second. Permanently glued into the algorithm.

I know, right? Information is the worst. Actually, strike that. Speed is the worst, then information, followed by pixel-gobbling monsters.

Media have a big responsibility. A tough job; but a higher standard to execute against I believe.

“Execute against” is one of those terms you only hear from execs. Pretty sure they teach it in biz school. Related: I’ll never make it in this world.

Being accurate and trusted is important. Providing context is crucial. It is more important than being “first to post”.

Yes, yes and yes. The student is ready to be the master.

Off of my soap box now. Thank you.

You’re welcome. Please keep blogging forever.

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. Krem

    July 6, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Well done.

  2. Anonymous

    July 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Ted has been acting like a fool with these recent blog posts. To think, this is a man who is a self-made millionaire. If he used this logic in business he wouldn’t be able to feed himself.

    Ted needs to take a step back, take a smarter look at the situation and admit that he’s been talkin g nonsense on his own blog as of late.

  3. James

    July 6, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Ted is almost as funny as Dan $nyder. Both are full of gas.

  4. ThisGuy

    July 6, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    To be fair, the “Why Varlamov chose the KHL” headline when, you know, he hadn’t, was pretty bad.

  5. Jamie Mottram

    July 6, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    To quote Varly’s agent at the time: “Varlamov chose the KHL.”

  6. exwhaler

    July 6, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    While I’m not a fan of Leonsis’ blogging (most of which is childish), I should point out that when he says “overseas agent”, he is completely accurate. The story came from Varly’s Russian agent, not his North American agent (Paul Theofanous) who worked out the deal with Colorado and did not participate in the circus from the Puck Daddy story. As Slava Malamud pointed out, “Russian agents should always carry label: ‘More than half of this is hot air.’ A good lesson to anyone who listens to them in the future.” The fact remains that the Puck Daddy story contained no quotes from anybody affiliated with the NHL and was primarily sourced from somebody who’s best interests was to get Varlamov to jump to the KHL.

  7. Jamie Mottram

    July 6, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    That’s a good point, exwhaler. Not that it changes the crux of the post, but still.

  8. Bruce

    July 6, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    I keep trying to tell Ted this. This is exactly why the Caps will never win a Stanley Cup.

    Ted stick to owning the team.

    Bruce Boudreau

  9. Terps77

    July 7, 2011 at 4:26 AM

    The math, Russian+Agent=Distrust, always adds up.

  10. ThisGuy

    July 7, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    This is the translated quote from Varlamov’s agent: “Varlamov has offers from Washington and from Russia. At this moment Varlamov chose the KHL.”

    That does not say “Varlamov has chosen the KHL” to me at all. Even if you take Russian agents’ words at face value, the headline is a stretch. “At this moment” is quite a qualifier. Also, looking at the evidence on the whole, objectively…he was EN ROUTE TO THE U.S. at that time. I just thought it was an irresponsible headline.

  11. Jamie Mottram

    July 7, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    I agree that “Why Varlamov seems to have chosen the KHL” (vs. “Why Varlamov chose the KHL”) would have been a more accurate headline.

    Again, good point, but it doesn’t change the crux of the post.

  12. ThisGuy

    July 7, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    In any event…yes Ted can be a pompous, hypocritical ass.

  13. BigTeddytheBoss

    July 7, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Hey, Brucie, what are you talking about, Stanley Cup? We’ve already arrived, we don’t need a cup. Get your head right and start planning for that President’s Trophy this year.

    P.S. You still in for steak buffet all weekend?

  14. Joey

    July 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Thanks for tweaking Ted. Couldn’t be more accessible to fans, so he deserves props for that. Surprising that he is so thin-skinned (fat joke) with the media.

  15. TJL

    July 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM


    You’re lucky I’m kicking ass this month so your blog isn’t the only story in hockey news,


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