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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Should writers make news by voting for awards and Hall of Fame?

Tyler Kepner of The New York Times criticized his employer this week on the Yankees Hot Stove TV program on the YES Network.  Kepner had been expressing his view on who should and who should not be elected to the Hall of Fame and lamented The Times policy, which prohibits its writers from voting.  Kepner said the idea was that the writers should report the news, not make the news.

This seems to make sense except that Kepner is allowed to make news by becoming a TV personality in addition to his writing his opinion as to who should and who should not be elected to the Hall of Fame.  It's obviously way too late to expect common sense and propriety to change media organizations so that they prohibit their employees from voting on prestigious matters but individual baseball writers could recuse themselves.  So how come they don't?

Some people in important jobs do not vote so that they will not be conflicted.  They include judges and generals.  Baseball writers do not share such concerns.  The modern Most Valuable Player (MVP) award started in 1931 and the Cy Young award in 1956.  The first Hall of Fame election was in 1936.  Baseball writers had already been voting the Chalmers award as early as 1911, so it's been more than 100 years of writers making news, not just reporting news.

What do you think?
Scanned image of the New York Times from November 20, 1863 reporting on the program and speeches at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in which President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address  via Wiki Commons

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