This week its NASCAR reporter says he lost his freelance job for applauding at the Daytona 500 last weekend in the press box. Tom Bowles displayed his emotions and SI.com displayed its tough ethics code.
SI.com, owned by Time Inc., is implying there was more to this dismissal than one episode, so it is important to bear that in mind in assessing the departure. But Bowles believes he'd still be at SI.com were it not for five seconds of clapping.
No matter that the race itself was exceptionally poignant (the youngest-ever winner in a record-filled race), it marked what Bowles calls his first and last claps for the sports site.
He was unsettled by the news and took to the site where SI.com discovered him five years earlier, Frontstretch.com, to explain himself.
We are all inherently biased, Bowles argues, and the test of impartiality should be what you create as journalism. "I understand the importance of impartiality in reporting," he wrote. "But last time I checked, where you’re supposed to be judged is whether that actually shows up on paper."
He argues the traditional media do not understand how the game has changed.
"Turns out the modern, professional media is ignorant of a changing culture beyond their control, one where 'just the facts, ma’am' is increasingly replaced with the instant gratification of 'just the facts, ma’am… and here’s how I think those facts should get interpreted. What do you think?' It’s a place where the 'official' media claim to follow the rules, then give us their opinion seconds afterwards on verified Twitter accounts while hanging 'off the record' with the athletes they cover during the week," he wrote.
What are your thoughts on this?