Writing Exercises: A Baseball Blog and Whistleblower Article

I was doing some research on writing exercises this morning. Once I figured out the topic of the exercises, I ended up doing exactly what the exercise asked me not to do. Write.

The exercises are meant to increase your research ability and critical thinking skills rather than improve your writing. Ideally, you do the research, write a few excerpts, and then move on. Instead, I ended up writing more than just a small excerpt and editing myself to make an article.

Both exercises led to a newspaper type article in length and editing. The first article was meant to search for a blog themed around a topic which I love. The second was putting me in a hypothetical situation where a whistleblower came to me about some kind of corruption in a fake city. I followed AP Style with both articles and delved fully into that mindset rather than following the instructions. This is the unfortunate result.

Through my research for blogs on the topic of baseball, I came across one by somebody that has been in the business of baseball for over 20 years. This blog is mainly based around baseball but also covers other topics such as golf and Harry Houdini. The author of the blog is Joe Posnanski. Posnanski has titled his blog as JoeBlogs.

JoeBlogs is one of the more credible blogs I have seen. This credibility is not centered around the facts and information presented within the blog. Instead, the credibility comes from the writer’s history and expertise. This does not, however, take away from the accuracy and credibility of the blog’s content. In fact, the credibility of the writer only enhances the content further.

Posnanski is currently the executive columnist for MLB.com. He also contributes to the MLB Network. His experience includes an Emmy for sports coverage, four bestselling books and was named National Sportswriter of the Year by The Associated Press. Posnanski’s knowledge of sports, especially baseball, is vast.

JoeBlogs is an independent blog but is affiliated with MLB.com. The section of the blog that covers a small biography of the author includes this information. Even though the blog is a personal entity, Posnanski does have a subscription service. He offers several price tiers with access to more blog posts and statistical information. He updates the blog several times a week with new posts. However, during peak times for different sports, he only updates a few times during any given month. I read several of his free blog posts to get a better idea about the blog.

Posnanski uses his ongoing knowledge of baseball and sports to propel his blog posts forward. Unfortunately, very little objectivity exists in his writing. His unbiased writing is found in his MLB.com posts. His personal blog is used for opinions about the sport in general. The blog is newsworthy because of Posnanski’s expertise in the field. He interviews analysts and retired players. Getting a glimpse of Posnanski’s views and experience is an in-depth look at baseball from a rare perspective. He covers subjects that are often overlooked in national coverage by providing his personal views along with credible sources and information.

I would highly recommend this blog for those interested in seeing a different perspective on baseball. Before reading, the audience must understand that his personal blog is based on opinion and not fact. Very little content exists without paying the subscription service. That might turn some readers away, however I will be subscribing so that I can further my love for the game of baseball.

The City of Kelsey is at the center of political disputation after a whistleblower has come forward with information regarding bacteria from the water treatment plant leaking into the river. This leak is the cause of the high volume of fish deaths in the last year and possible contamination of the drinking water. The leak is also a piece of known information to several government officials for the city, including the mayor.

According to the whistleblower, a worker for the City of Kelsey, the leak has been kept a secret from the public for several reasons. It is an election year, and this leak could possibly deter voters from reelection. Budget issues also plague the situation due to the high cost of fixing the problem. One of the workers aware of the issue helped create the plan that formed and maintained the water treatment for the city.

In a memo sent from the mayor to the Kelsey City council, it has been noted that, “The city’s Public Health department has determined that bacteria found in the Kelsey River at the site of the fish kill last week are entering the river from a broken digester at the city’s waste treatment plant.”

Further on in the memo, the mayor states that the repairs will, “cost . . . $2.5 million, an expense for which we have no money budgeted. Otherwise, we will have to make painful midyear budget cuts in other city departments, perhaps even laying off employees, to pay for it.” This insinuates a fiscal responsibility rather than a cover-up.

Unfortunately, the mayor sent online messages to other members of the council on office computers that provided a more sinister motive.

Some of the online messages included a plea for confidentiality because of the election. The mayor goes on to explain that she is searching for temporary solutions to help stall the issue until after the election.

The fish are dying, the drinking water could be contaminated and the water treatment plant currently has faulty equipment. Why has the city not reached out to its citizens with this information? Regardless of the reason, something needs to be done about the bacterial leak before the situation can become more dire and possibly deadly.

Report Addendum

One of the major issues in this report revolves around the idea of minimizing harm. Publishing this report could cause harm to the government officials and their livelihood. While it is our job to serve as a watchdog and bring situations like this to light, it also will greatly affect the subjects of the whistleblower’s report. It is also hard to show compassion for the subjects of this report given the possible corruption within the government.

The source is credible to an extent. While the source has provided a copy of the actual memo sent from the mayor, we have no confirmation that the source is a worker for the city. The instant messages between the mayor and members of the council are obvious evidence, but we have no way of knowing exactly how this information was obtained.

The biggest ethical decision made while preparing the report was centered around being honest, accurate and minimizing harm. We don’t want to provide subjective contextual opinion about the mayor or city council without giving them a chance to speak for themselves. We are here to simply provide the facts that were given to us by the whistleblower. We are meant to ask questions and make the public aware.

Given that the information was obtained freely by an anonymous source, the only legal issue that could follow this kind of report would be libel or slander. If the information proves false or fabricated, the mayor could possibly file lawsuits for libel or slander against her. This mean that we had to analyze the material to confirm its authenticity. Our only authentic confirmation is that the memo is on letterhead for the mayor’s office. The online messages could be fabricated, but the names match the information referred in the memo.

All of this information adds up to something that needs to be made known to the public.

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