Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cowboy Sports Writer

This is in regards to the Article on Paintball by Soh Kai Wee in the Straits Times on last Monday the 23rd.

Soh Kai Wee paints a rather childish image of the game. Many articles written by non players like him - just pump the cliches of references to war, the army and playing soldier boys etc. Kai Wee's reference to cowboys and Indians was new and rather naive.

Now - I have had my fair share of the press writing to me about articles on paintball. And sadly most dont get what speedball is all about- they just jump on the 'playing soldier boys and fight in the war'angle. Most of the articles totally miss the point of speedball as a sport.

I have rewritten an article on paintball for Crossroads or xcross roads magazine because the girl ripped off the TAG website and used it for her opening. She went off the deep end with references to the army, ambush and "the crack of paintballs flying overhead". All her facts were skewered towards the soldier boys / war angle.

Back to the ST article- So Kai Wee also mentions 2 other paintball venues in Singapore which one can play as a sport. Obviously he didn't do any research because if he did so - he would find out that speedball is not played at TAG Orchid nor at Crossfire. There are no teams and competition at these two places neither do they have air bunkers.

In the side bar he mentions that paintball is "an adversarial game, like a modern-day version of cowboys and Indians" - this is the first time ever I come across someone associating it with Cowboys and Indians. I haven't seen speedball played on horseback nor have it ever seen any wigwams on the field.

And his lack of research again shows up in the last point "The duration of a game depends on the number of players and can last from five minutes to over an hour."
If he was talking about speedball- an hour is a bit rich.

"Players are eliminated if they, or any part of their equipment, are hit by paintballs." - hit and have paint on them. I'm sure somebody told him that you're only out if you get paint on you. Otherwise a hit with no ball break is just a 'bounce' - anyone and every baller knows that.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that he know "nuts" about speedball- but he could have done a bit more research and not write the piece like a school essay and make speedball look like a kids game of cowboys and indians.

In true Singapore (only good things happen here- no bad things) press form- he threw in a (positive) quote of the President of the Paintball Association and some Director from the Sports Council.

I think its ironic that his approach to the article is 'cowboy and indian'.


Ion said...

Are you thinking about going back to square one where nobody wants to cover paintball on the news? Give the fella a break! I think you also never do your research, he is an intern. Any news is good news to me, maybe not to you. But certainly very important to let people know about the sport in Singapore. Hmmmm...there is always a learning curve, so let people know bit by bit...he might have gotten some facts wrong but commenting on his report doesn't help in getting more journalist to report on paintball. Come your part! Not slam it! Your comments are naive and does not protray the big picture. To put in are throwing away an empire where people take a thousand years to build.

Myaadraal said...

Be happy with what little press we got. Its just starting in singapore. You cant expect everyone to be like you.. give them time .. itll take time. Slamming them will only hurt the game..

Amok said...

This is why it's important that enough information is made avialable to the media when they
come to cover events. Please understand journalists have to cover many events and since paintball is not a mainstream sport there would hardly be a specialist assigned to the beat.

The poor guy was probably assigned to cover the SPNS 2 at the last minute and probably did not have the time to do research. If you know how it works in a newsdesk, you'd realise he had to rush back to file the story and then do whatever else was assigned to him for the day.

The fact that the SPNS 2 was given so much space and included a picture was an good enough achievement. We should be thaking the guy cos it would have been very easy for him to go back and say "no story" and just file a filler.

At a time when paintball needs as much help it can get in Singapore, hitting out at the media online is tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot.

Even though we will sometimes sell our souls for a scopp, the media generally watch out for their own.

Mark said...

I kind of agree with him, in the sense that no press is better than bad press.

The cowboy and indians cracked me up though.

tomohito said...

I think that we need some objectivity in this.
Both side have their points - but we need to establish a base in this.

Set the idea straight:
What SPNS should have done is to prepare a press release of sorts to put the whole game in perspective - what you're playing and how does it differ? The history of paintball and the kind that Red Dynasty is trying to push (speedball). How it's different from your typical idea of 'shoot-em-ups'.

It's no secret that the local press send rookies to cover non-important events and you can tell he or she was writing from a layman's limited point of view.

I think seburo should send a corrected informative letter to the ST to set the idea straight - show them what kind of training that you guys have to go through - how important team work and communication is in this sport - how looking out for your own side's mirrors etc - set the information straight - and I think the local press will at least get the idea that this is capable of evolving into a 'pro' sport.

Now that you've gotten them to at least cover it - now get them to come attend a training session with the Red Sevens and see what it's really like - ask them to join in to see that it's not just cowboys and indians. It's a pro game - with pro rules - not 'cops & robbers'.

just my two cents.

Urquan said...

I was not surprised to see this post at all. I have no doubts about the comments on the quality of writing. I would like to think this is not just applicable to this article but to local papers as a whole. I was surprised though that the blogger would still have such high expectations of our local news.

Then again like everyone else here, I agree that any coverage is better than none.

houdini said...

The fact that Media Corp and ST covered the event should be seen as a prelude to even more coverage if the rights steps are taken to promote the sport. Comments like this show you are pasionate about the sport but I don't think it helps the cause. I can only hope that ST don't read this blog as it won't help further promotion of Speedball. It's time for everyone involved in the sport to unite so that steps can be taken to market Speedball as a serious sport in Singapore.

Those that play Speedball need to be true ambassadors of the sport in every way. If we are ever going to try and lobby to fix the marker situation we all need to help promote a positive picture to the community, the media and the Sports Ministers. Blogs like this a great forum for information on the Singapore and International speedball scene but if all we do is slam the media and other players what are we saying about ourselves as sportsmen and sportswomen?

SEBURO said...

I will agree that some press is better than no press.
However my contention is that bad press is worse than "some press".

Let me define the two areas- firstly the "news". The news and coverage of the SPNS is GREAT. I applaud that wholeheartedly.

However the article and the facts written in the article are inaccurate. I think he painted the sport in the wrong light.

Whether the writer is an intern or not is irrelevant- he did not do a good job. When you write something for a newspaper like the Straits Times -you are expected to put in as much as all the other regular writers. Mathew Pereira is not going to say "please excuse my writer for is poorly researched piece because he is an intern".

I still stand by my post that bad writing will give an inaccurate and negative impression of the sport. I know this because after the article came out I have had to explain to many people that paintball and speedball is not a "cowboys and indians" game.

It made me sad and disappointed to realise the damage this article has done to the image of speedball-, which is why after a week of responding and repairing the damage from this article I decided to criticise his lack of research.

I think commenting on his report will help him to be a better journalist - I hope he reads it and learns from it- as a professional journalist you put yourself out there- so you have to do a good job and back your words up.

I am doing my part in making sure that the sport is seen in the correct light and I hope the writer becomes a better journalist.

As much as I like to think that my blog is somewhat influential - I hardly think that one negative post on a blog somewhere online is going to stop the Straits Times from ever covering Paintball in there future.

You give me too much credit- but I thank you for it anyway.

And I thank everyone too for their comments.

PP said...

What lah with all these? I think one should not take the ST article too seriously because especially from low PB awareness in S'pore we should expect this kind of bad press/misrepresentation. Perhaps we should get Soh Kai Wee to play more speedball - not the cowboys and indians recball game. Then He can write better in SPNS3.

But one also should not slamming his/own team mate whom they build the sports together just because of the blog post. It's not going to make the world end. To put it as throwing away an empire where ppl take a thousand years to build can sounds quite exaggerate right?

Perhaps we all should think what's good arguing on this will do to the team. What's more important? To play together and grow the team so that one day RedSevens can play in Millenium Cup or to grow the sports in S'pore. What do you have in mind? Whatever it is, please balance it.