Table Talk: Poker Media Part Deux and Radio Silence

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So, I took a beating over that last column, didn’t I?

The fallout from it was brutal. Therefore, my opinions regarding the poker forums, sexism in poker, and particularly controversial topics will be on hold for a while. What could have been respectful disagreements turned into abuse and harassment. Though that behavior was only exhibited by a few, it was harsh enough to send me into radio silence for the time being regarding those kinds of subjects.

I do want to address a few topics at this time, though.

Since last week’s column, Jay “WhoJedi” Newnum released a short statement about the accusations of theft at Foxwoods. His website with the statement has since been removed. He used that space to apologize to the union president who initially publicized the crime and addressed limited details in a poker forum:

I would like to address the negative reaction against certain third parties, particularly Billy Shea, the union president who originally posted the story.

I want to state clearly that any negative reaction against him or attacks against his character has not been condoned by me.

There was no mention of an apology to the dealers that were the true victims of the alleged crimes, though he did say that he agreed to not discuss the ordeal with anyone. The agreement with whom it was made was unclear.

There was also a lack of anything in Newnum’s statement regarding the poker media, the ramifications affecting their jobs in the arena of live tournament reporting or the scrutiny on the poker media for their coverage of the story or lack thereof.

Anyone who makes a living reporting on live poker tournaments will likely be subject to more scrutiny than ever before. While most will not have any objection to background checks or similar requirements that may be put into place, nor will they have a problem with their actions being more closely monitored on the tournament floor, but the scope of their information-gathering ability may be limited. They will be less likely to have access to some areas of the tournament floor where action occurs, and they are more likely to be very highly scrutinized.

Those in the business of reporting news for some of the major poker news-centric websites may have to step up their game in terms of covering news stories and tracking down facts in order to report in a more detailed and timely manner.

On a personal note, I am going to be covering more news stories for two of the sites for whom I work, and this incident has provided some lessons on how to conduct my reporting as I begin those new assignments.

As for the larger picture, I do hope that the poker public will begin to realize that there are many sectors to the media in this industry, and everyone does not have the opportunity or medium through which to report news stories. Some websites focus on Internet gaming only, while others are constricted by affiliates and sponsorships. Some writers must earn pay in order to make a living, and others spend a considerable amount of time writing for the love of the game.

This is a diverse and unusual industry.

Everyone has something to learn from the last week’s events that began with the revelation of WhoJedi’s criminal behavior at Foxwoods. Many in the media have a responsibility to learn from the events that transpired, and I believe that some of us have truly viewed this as a learning experience. The public also can also learn a great deal if they listen and instigate discussions rather than merely criticize.