An Interview with John Canzano

An Interview with John Canzano

An Interview with John Canzano

“Five years ago I didn’t know about Freedom of Information requests. I couldn’t live without it now. You can get a lot of good stuff – budgets and coaches’ contracts – the contract details are invaluable.”

“I align myself with Joe Fan who has kids and wants to be entertained and doesn’t want to be worried about whether the power forward is drag racing with a gun in his car. That happened with Zack Randolph on Broadway over the summer.”

“I once locked myself in a meat locker that was minus-5 degrees to simulate what it’s like for Bret Favre on a frigid day in Green Bay. It wasn’t a good idea. I lasted 22 minutes and I was bundled up…My computer battery drained in less than 20 minutes.”

John Canzano: Interviewed on November 2, 2006

Position: Columnist, The Oregonian

Born: 1970, Medford, Ore. (grew up in Bay Area)

Education: Cal State – Chico, 1995, English

Career: Gilroy Dispatch, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Fresno Bee, San Jose Mercury News, Oregonian 2002 –

Personal: single

Favorite restaurant (home): South Park, Portland

Favorite restaurant (road): Original Joe’s, San Jose, “no better burger in the Bay Area”

Favorite hotel: Marriott “anywhere”

John Canzano excerpted from The Oregonian, September 19, 2006:

The seventh threatening telephone call at Gordon Riese’s home came a few minutes after eight o’clock on Monday morning. It was from an Oklahoma fan who told Riese, the Pacific-10 Conference replay official from Saturday’s Ducks-Sooners game, he was going to fly to Portland, find the family home, and kill Riese and his wife.

“I called the police,” said Riese, 64, “then, I unplugged the phone.”

The deputy who arrived to take the report assured Riese that murderers don’t typically alert their victims before flying in from out of state to commit the crime. Then, the deputy added, “Maybe you should leave town for a couple of days, if it makes you feel better.”

Football is a game, you’re thinking.

Q. You were the only reporter Gordon Riese talked to. Why?

A. I went in the right way.

Q. How?

A. I found his daughter. I figured if anybody would be agonizing for him it would be his kid. I called her and told her how I would handle the column. She facilitated it. He would have said “no thanks” to me but she told him that this thing was going against him and he needed to get his side out there.

I also think people know I’m my own person because of the heat I take for the Blazers stuff I write. They know I’m not going to buckle.

Q. How did you find his daughter?

A. Public records. Voter registration.

Without sharing too much… we have access here at the newspaper to DMV, criminal records, property tax records, licenses, liens, court records, USPS change of address, etc. I use all of these. I was able to determine that his daughter had a different last name but had shared an address. I then found her using voter registration.

If I had struck out, I would have found another way, or located her home address through property records, and just dropped by to talk.

Q. Those are news reporters’ tools.

A. It helps to have editors who have worked in other areas. Five years ago I didn’t know about Freedom of Information requests. I couldn’t live without it now. You can get a lot of good stuff – budgets and coaches’ contracts – the contract details are invaluable. You can see how it’s structured – if there’s an extension date and it hasn’t been extended you know he’s in trouble.

Q. Do you have police sources?

A. Yes. That’s standard. You’re finding more sports departments bringing in editors with expertise in cops and courts. Two years ago the Oregonian’s crime team leader transitioned into the Deputy Sports Editor position – finally we had somebody who knew his way around the courts.

Two stops prior to coming here I was covering Fresno State, which had Jerry Tarkanian and all their incidents. I got experience with public records and developed police sources. Sources talk to me simply for the fact they know I’m not beholden to any team or organization. If something is wrong they can talk to me and know that I know what to do with the information. A lot of times the police can’t prosecute – they might not have enough evidence – but they can get a message out if somebody will listen to what they’re saying.

Q. Can a Blazer get a drink in town without you knowing about it?

A. Yes. But a lot of times they get a drink and I know about it and it’s not relevant and doesn’t end up in the paper. We had an incident with Darius Miles recently…you get a call and Darius is at a bar – ‘Henry’s’ – having a mixed drink. You get repeated calls – which is alarming because he showed up to practice once last season smelling like alcohol – and you pay attention. You make the call to the team and they think he’s getting treatment at the practice facility. Combine that with the fact that the team was getting dressed for its final exhibition game, and he’s one of the highest-paid players, and it’s newsworthy. Darius was at a strip club one night and people called. I said, “There’s nothing illegal about it.” He played that night. As long as performance isn’t affected and the police don’t care I don’t have much interest in it.

Q. I’m going to read from a column you wrote recently (October 28):

The next day, just before tip-off, a taxi pulled up to the steps of the Rose Garden. A twentysomething blonde slipped out of the taxi and headed toward Will Call, where she collected a complimentary ticket and came through the turnstiles.

She told me she had been flown from Seattle to Portland by one of the Lakers players and had spent the night in his hotel room. She then explained, “The hotel doors of the other players were swinging open and closed all night there were so many different women coming in and out.”

It’s a scene that goes down all the time in the twisted culture of the NBA.

Do the Blazers consider themselves part of a “twisted culture”?

A. Players don’t. I think they view what’s going on as normal – the permissive attitude is caused by the salaries they’re making and by being coddled their entire youth – an extended youth. They feel entitled. I’m talking in general because there are some good guys in every lockerroom. But there are a lot of yahoos.

Management is so focused on the bottom line – the league is more concerned with image – that management is focused on day-to-day operations and marketing the team and selling tickets. They don’t look at the culture – that’s the league’s issue.

Q. Do the players resent being referred to as a “twisted culture”?

A. They don’t see themselves in it. When you talk to players they think it’s guys on other teams – they don’t see their roles in it. We had four Jazz in a restaurant at closing time, good guys, but they didn’t want to leave and they basically said, “How much money will it take to keep the restaurant open? What’s it going to take? We’ve got money.” Nothing is above reproach. That attitude permeates into other aspects.

We’ve had a rash of 911 calls involving NBA players in this community – two in six weeks although prosecutors say they don’t have enough to make a case. Prior to that there were other incidents with Blazers and visiting teams.

I view myself as a representative of the community and there are females in this community and if players are going into restaurants hassling them I have to say something.

The league has a problem in that there are no female executives in power. It would be healthy if the players could see a female in a position of power. The Blazers have one female vice-president out of seven – she’s in charge of marketing and outside sales. That’s a problem throughout the league.

Q. You’ve written about that – is anybody listening?

A. I’ve gotten responses from various executive and coaches who pulled me aside and said “You hit it on the head – these guys don’t have a healthy attitude toward women.”

Q. Would it help if more women covered the league?

A. Yep. It would help. That is an issue – most people covering the teams are male. But if you’re a journalist – male or female – you have the obligation to see things and voice things and not go along with the herd. I’ve got to walk in my own shoes.

Q. Would you rather cover a good team of reprobates, or a bad team of altar boys?

A. I can’t have a good team of altar boys? I would rather cover a good team, for the simple fact that there’s more interest in a good team. It’s a lot of fun to be writing about things that people care about. I’ve covered good teams with questionable characters – I was at Fresno State during the Samurai Sword incident – and you wonder about your obligation to protect the community from the team.

Q. So you view yourself as a watchdog?

A. You have to be. You’re part of the community. You’re certainly not part of the team. Frankly, members of the organization would prefer I wasn’t around because I write about things they prefer to keep quiet. I align myself with Joe Fan who has kids and wants to be entertained and doesn’t want to be worried about whether the power forward is drag racing with a gun in his car. That happened with Zack Randolph on Broadway over the summer.

We had a player – Derek Anderson – who drove through a McDonalds. Normally that’s not newsworthy, but it happened during a game that he called in sick. He was buying a milkshake and somebody called us during the game. It became relevant and important because he was supposed to be at the arena. He’s making $8 million a year to play basketball and people are buying tickets with the expectation of seeing the team at full strength.

Q. Aren’t things magnified in Portland more than in the big cities?

A. Nobody denies that. But no more than football in South Bend, or basketball in Bloomington – which I covered. You have the opportunity in a fishbowl to amplify positives or negatives. If you’re doing the right things it’s a valuable asset. If you’re screwing up it can be a huge negative.

Q. Why is the Oregonian hiring a free lancer to write about the paper’s relationship with the Blazers?

A. Ask the executive editor and sports editor about that. I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea – I don’t think we have any explaining to do to the public or the team. We do a good job of covering the team. Management is trying to give readers and independent objective outside look at the relationship and how contentious it is and how difficult it is to be in a fishbowl for them and how difficult it is to cover them.

When I covered Fresno State PBS did a documentary on how difficult it was to cover Tarkanian in a small town – they followed me around with a camera. I don’t necessarily see the value. I don’t think readers care that much if they’re making life difficult for us. They want to read about the team and what’s going on with the team. Readers are smart enough to make up their own minds. I know we’re having an independent writer and editor do this story, but it feels self-conscious to me. What explaining do we have to do? We hold ourselves to a high standard.

Who knows? It might be riveting. I was interviewed for it – people are asking me about it. I’m not that interested in what it says because I live it. It would be the same to me as a reporter following anybody in their jobs and examining the natural friction. If a grocery clerk has problems with the delivery people are you interested in that? I’m not, as long as I get my groceries. Readers are that way with news.

Q. How would you describe your writing style?

A. I would say I’m opinionated. Hopefully I make people think – I have a fairly good range as far as being critical and maybe writing a good story now and then. I don’t have one style – my approach is determined by the subject.

I’m outside a sports bar now. A former NHL player (Jim “Redeye” Hay) who was a goon sits in here every day and watches hockey and drinks beer. I’m going to sit in his seat and watch him walk in and watch how he reacts. I’m going to have fun with it. I’ll introduce myself after he comes up and knocks me off the stool. I got this from a tip. He comes in every day at 5 o’clock. He won a Stanley Cup in the 60s.

Q. How do you come up with ideas?

A. People tell me I have original ideas. At the World Series of Poker I was going to write about Greg Raymer, but I found the guy sitting to his left – his main opponent at the table – a computer programmer. So I wrote what’s it like to set next to Greg Raymer. You have to adjust your lens. There are so many stories out there – you have to take a step back.

I once locked myself in a meat locker that was minus-5 degrees to simulate what it’s like for Bret Favre on a frigid day in Green Bay. It wasn’t a good idea. I lasted 22 minutes and I was bundled up. I called some Army researchers who told me some people can handle the cold and some can’t. My computer battery drained in less than 20 minutes.

I called Jeff Garcia from the meat locker – the 49ers were playing Green Bay. I said, “I’m in a meat locker.” He said, “Where?” When I told him he laughed. He appreciated it because he had played at Calgary.

Q. Writers you admire?

A. I read a lot – there are so many good writers out there, who write things I wish I had thought of. Sally Jenkins (Washington Post. Bill Plaschke ( LA Times). I read 10 or 15 things every morning – from around the country. It’s important to see what people are doing.

Q. How much time do you spend on it?

A. I spend an hour or two in the morning blogging and keeping myself informed. I also go to a lot of Blazers practices – which is not normal for a columnist. People are so engaged in this team it helps to be there.

Q. What’s the difference between your column and your blog?

A. The blog is an extension of the column. When they came to me to do the blog I wasn’t comfortable. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and this was sthe first time I’ve been asked to share information outside of the column. The blog gives you a chance to air things you couldn’t fit in the the column, whether it’s an elaboration or a nugget. Blogs aren’t going away – everybody is doing it – but if they went away it would be fine with me.

I rarely read blogs. Somebody will send me something sometimes. I get 300 e-mails a day and I answer all those. I was an English major in college so I read a lot of non-sports stuff.

Q. How does someone become a columnist?

A. Kids always are asking me that. I don’t have a good answer. I tell them to do good work and try to keep moving and to watch what people are writing.

(SMG thanks John Canzano for his cooperation)

You wrote about Gordon Riese (the official who messed up the call in the Oregon State-Oklahoma game) “This is probably a good time to remind ourselves that sports isn’t war. It’s not life or death. College football is supposed to be a pleasant, passionate weekend diversion, void of death threats for sure. There’s just something that doesn’t feel right about villifying Riese, especially after further review.”

You’re cautioning fans against being overwrought. Do columnists get overwrought?

Football is just a game, until you’re on the clock

John Canzanohas been asports columnist at The Oregonian since Dec. 2002.

Canzano has worked at five other daily newspapers including The San Jose Mercury News, where he coveredthe National Football League and Major League Baseball.

Canzano also worked at The Fresno Bee as a sports columnist. As a beat reporter he’s also covered a variety of programs including Purdue football and basketball, Notre Dame football and Indiana basketball under coach Bob Knight.

Canzano has won numerous writing awards, including Associated Press Sports Editors awards in column (2002) and enterprise writing (2001). He’s been a frequent winner in the Football Writer’s Association Awards. And in 2004, Canzano was recognized by The Press Club of Atlantic City with a first place among all sports writing entries in the National Headliner Award

Excerpted from the Oregonian, October 28, 2006:

The next day, just before tip-off, a taxi pulled up to the steps of the Rose Garden. A twentysomething blonde slipped out of the taxi and headed toward Will Call, where she collected a complimentary ticket and came through the turnstiles.

She told me she had been flown from Seattle to Portland by one of the Lakers players and had spent the night in his hotel room. She then explained, “The hotel doors of the other players were swinging open and closed all night there were so many different women coming in and out.”

It’s a scene that goes down all the time in the twisted culture of the NBA.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Oregonian

Canzano: Official wasn’t shown all replays shown on TV

John Canzano excerpted from The Oregonian, September 19, 2006:

“The seventh threatening telephone call at Gordon Riese’s home came a few minutes after eight o’clock on Monday morning. It was from an Oklahoma fan who told Riese, the Pacific-10 Conference replay official from Saturday’s Ducks-Sooners game, he was going to fly to Portland, find the family home, and kill Riese and his wife.

“I called the police,” said Riese, 64, “then, I unplugged the phone.”

The deputy who arrived to take the report assured Riese that murderers don’t typically alert their victims before flying in from out of state to commit the crime. Then, the deputy added, “Maybe you should leave town for a couple of days, if it makes you feel better.”

Football is a game, you’re thinking.

Right up to the point where an Oregon player touches an onside-kick attempt a step too early, turning the scramble for the ball into a melee where players are rushing the field celebrating, and the ball is squirting through everyone’s legs like they were wickets in a human croquet match. Then, the officials on the field blow the call. Then, the review process, instituted to rectify situations just like this, upholds the bad call, causing many of us, including some self-important university president at Oklahoma, to wonder, “Was Mr. Magoo in the replay booth?”

Well, no.

It was Gordon Riese in the booth. He has a name, he has a life. And after visiting with him on Monday, and learning more from some others about what happened in that review booth, I’m convinced that every honk who criticized Riese in the last 72 hours owes the man a swift apology.

Said Riese: “I’m having a difficult time letting the blown call go. I always prided myself on getting it right. I didn’t get the job done. I didn’t get it right.”

More on the blown call later.

First, you need to know that Riese met his wife, Susan, while they were students at Wilson High School. They had a math course together, and after an extended illness put her behind in school, the teacher assigned Gordon to be her tutor.

They’ve been married 42 years, had two children, and two grandchildren — Jeff, 5, and Alex, 4. And you should know that Gordon’s real job was teaching math at Benson and Gresham high schools for 34 years.

Until his retirement from on-field officiating two years ago, Riese was well respected. He worked Rose Bowls and Fiesta Bowls. When you officiate for three decades, you come to understand that you’re going to make some mistakes. He just doesn’t like making them, which is why he was one of the good ones.

In 1982, during the Cal-Stanford “Big Game,” Riese was working as the line judge. He was running alongside the play during the wild finish, and should have been in position to see the fifth lateral, which appears to be forward. Ask Riese about it and he’ll tell you that he was out of position. He’d mistakenly headed to the goal line, where he was swarmed by the Stanford band, and couldn’t see the lateral.

Two years ago, after he’d retired, the conference talked him into the replay booth because it wanted someone familiar with the rules up there.

“It’s a different pressure being in the booth versus being on the field,” Riese said. “It’s a whole different ballgame. Haven’t learned to deal with that kind of stress.”

Riese, who is paid $400 a game to work the replay booth, said he knew almost immediately that the call was blown. He called it “instinct.” He’d looked hard at 10 plays during the game, stopped to analyze five of them, and overturned three of those five on-field calls, getting them right. But it was that terrible onside kick that he replayed in his mind, and agonized over as he drove his brown Toyota van the two hours back to Portland after the game.

Said Riese: “I was so unsettled, I probably shouldn’t have driven.”

When Riese arrived home, he discovered his wife had videotaped the game, but he couldn’t bring himself to watch it. He already knew what would be on the tape. So Riese just sat on the sofa in a daze until the newspaper hit his driveway, and the sun came up. You should know, the man everyone is pinning this loss on didn’t sleep after the game.

“We’re so worried about his health,” Karen Jackson, Riese’s daughter, said Monday as her father and the rest of the crew was handed a one-game suspension by the conference. “Dad has high blood pressure and right now we can’t get his diastolic under 100.”

Nevermind that the on-field officials blew the call. Nevermind that Oklahoma’s defense allowed Oregon to score two easy touchdowns in 26 seconds. Nevermind that there were other blown calls on the field, including a couple of bizarre play-clock issues, and a thousand on-field plays, and calls by both coaches, that could have altered the outcome of this game a hundred different ways.

Nope.

It’s Riese’s spleen the country wants.

So let’s give it to them. But first you should know that Riese didn’t see the ABC television feed that viewers watched at home, which you, your spouse and your children know showed an Oregon player touching the ball before it traveled the required 10 yards. And you should know that Riese will not talk about specifics on the call, but said: “My supervisor knows what happened up there and that’s all that matters.”

A source in the replay booth on Saturday said that Riese found himself crunched for time, pressured by television and the on-field referee for a rapid decision, and there was such a delay in getting the video feed to Riese that he never even got to properly review the play.

The Pac-10’s coordinator of football officiating confirmed that Riese didn’t get all of the replays that ABC was providing.

With all the cameras working the game that one half of the country was watching, Riese saw only a single frame of video, the source said. The angle was bad. But it appeared to show an Oklahoma player touching the ball with his helmet before it hit the Oregon player. (From other angles, clearly, it hits the Ducks player first.) With no other video immediately available, and television waiting, Riese did what he’s told to do when he’s out of time and has no conclusive evidence.

He upheld the call on the field.

The university president wants this to go down as a no-contest. Some Oklahoma fans want retribution. Some conference officials just want this to quietly go away because it smacks of a serious problem with the replay process. And what we’re really probably entitled to any regular American fifth grader would tell you is a playground do-over.

Adults don’t do those things, though.

Kill the umpire, right? Zebra hunt?

This is probably a good time to remind ourselves that sports isn’t war. It’s not life or death. College football is supposed to be a pleasant, passionate weekend diversion, void of death threats for sure. There’s just something that doesn’t feel right about villifying Riese, especially after further review.

John Canzano: 503-294-5065; JohnCanzano@aol.com; to read his Web log, go to www.oregonlive.com/canzano Catch him on the radio on “The Bald-Faced Truth,” KFXX (1080), weekdays at 5:25 p.m.

©2006The Oregonian

raig Lancaster Describes his Oregonian Story

This morning I spent some time on the phone with Craig Lancaster, the independent journalist the Oregonian has hired to examine the fractious relationship between the Oregonian sports department and the front office of the Trail Blazers. (And, by the way, Lancaster confirms that is the precise topic. Others told me it’s a story about the way the Blazer front office relates to the press generally.)

First of all, if you’re looking for the appearance of straightforwardness, calling back almost immediately, talking at length on the record, and answering every question directly is a solid start. Lancaster did that.

“It’s definitely not an ombudsman-type piece,” he explains. “It’s not even an investigation. Because there’s really nothing to investigate. It’s just a whole lot of he said, she said. It’s really more of an examination of what has gone on. Things had gotten bad enough that the Oregonian thought they ought to explain. But they can’t do that directly, because they have a dog in this fight. So they asked me to do it. And they have given me no direction. I think they have made an effort to be independent. Of course, you can never be totally independent, but I have told everybody that I have asked to talk about this story that I intend to be independent. All I can really ask is that they take my word for it. I understand that they will be hiring an independent editor to edit the story. It will go to the sports desk merely to get a headline and be flowed onto the sports page. Mark Hester, the sports editor, won’t see it before it runs.”

“As for my relationship with John Canzano, we did overlap at the Mercury News for a few months. I was assistant sports editor, which meant preparing the weekend editions. I was not his editor. I did not work with him closely, other than copyediting a few stories on deadline. Certainly, I’ve got my own basic feelings about him. But he’s pretty well known. It would be hard to find someone who was blind to everything he has done–and if you could find that person, I’m not sure they’d have the perspective to take on this story. It’s not like we’re old friends, though. We have swapped e-mails a handful of times… In my life, I have had as many dinners with John Canzano as I have had with [Blazer Vice President of Communications] Art Sasse: one.”

First of all, I salute the Oregonian for trying to tackle this at all. (While asking other media outlets, where are you? Do we really have to leave this to the Oregonian to cover themselves? Wouldn’t this be an article better suited for a Portland weekly, or perhaps a magazine like Sports Business Journal? That would surely make it easier.)

I kicked off talking about this story yesterday
by casting doubt on the ability of Lancaster to really be independent here. He is, after all, paid by the Oregonian to work on a story that has the potential to make the Oregonian look bad. Those situations recur in the media, with mixed results, but they are always tough. And he does have a relationship with one of the main players in this little opera.

But those things are what they are. They aren’t going away, and we’re all always smart to read everything with a critical eye. Which I very much look forward to doing in this case. This is a juicy story that strikes at the heart of what’s broken in the relationship between this team and these fans. I’m incredibly eager to read Lancaster’s article, and if I had to bet, I’d bet I will like it.

I feel like this article is headed for, inevitably, the Blazers complaining that they can’t get fair treatment from their local media. There is probably some merit there. Frankly, can’t think of another team that is covered with a similar disdain. On the other hand, many teams’ idea of fair treatment is glorified PR. Some NBA teams have a track records of being meddlesome and whiny about good honest journalists. There are plenty of stories of beat writers and columnists being reassigned or otherwise had their lives made difficult for being too anti-team. There are plenty of beat writers who cave to that pressure, and pass on the most if not all opportunities to make teams look bad.

Meanwhile, John Canzano and the Oregonian can make a strong case that the Blazer front office has been bizarre, and extraordinarily difficult to work with. The team certainly has deserved to have its feet held to the fire for a number of things. There is merit there too.

And those issues probably exist, to some degree, with almost every team.

(Here I go again, shooting from the cuff. Will I ever learn?) What’s different here, it seems to me? The key players in this drama are beyond complaining about the behavior. Now it’s personal. The Blazers, I suspect, don’t want John Canzano to start playing nice. I would just bet they want him shipped out of town. And Canzano, likewise, doesn’t want Steve Patterson and the like to start acting nice. He wants him fired. He has written as much. That hardly sums up all of the many complicated relationships involved, but I can say this: Every indication I can get is that it’s about the individuals now.

It feels to me like Lancaster’s job is to document a messy divorce, and it’s hard to imagine that could make anyone look all that good.

Written By: jans On October 26, 2006 03:22 PM

I think this is a bold move by the Oregonian. They are certainly taking the risk of looking bad…….while at the same time looking good for taking the risk.

John Canzano is a writer who got a name for himself creating a lot of fuss. He doesnt seem like a very happy guy. thats just my guess. He also doesnt reflect on the entire editorial staff of the oregonian. AS you know, writers come and go to a myriad of jobs. If you do a good job writing thought provoking work you’ll keep your job. If you just write provking work youll probably piss enough people off to get you ousted.

That, is what I think is happening to Canzano.

Written By: melcam On October 26, 2006 03:44 PM

Canzano has been mysteriously absent in the last week or so – no columns and only one blog entry, where he says he was on some assignment with no phone or Internet access. I wonder if this new Oregonian “investigation” and his sudden absence are somehow related? Where could he be on “assignment” without Internet access? Climbing with Nepalese Sherpas on Mt. Everest? (Oregonian: psst, hey John, we hired a guy to fix some things around here with the Blazers, so we’d like you to “go away for awhile” so you don’t write anything about it and screw it up. Here is your plane ticket to Nepal. Don’t come back until your done reporting on the Sherpa races.)

Written By: engineer_scotty On October 26, 2006 03:51 PM

Let’s not forget Jason Quick.

While Quick, as the beat writer, has far less room to editorialize than does Canzano the columnist (and has yet to call for any heads in One Center Court, that I can recall), the Blazers’ distrust of the Oregonian probably extends to him. And likewise, he has reasons to be annoyed with Blazer management besides a general distaste with the way the team is run.

For starters, there was Curtaingate last year. Some viewed it as simply good reporting; the Blazers viewed it as a breach of implied trust–but then took the rather unusual tack of publicly trashing Quick (though not by name) for the incident. Then there have been a few cases of what looks like sloppy reporting by Quick, such as his report that Mark Iavaroni had been hired to coach the team. And his game reports frequently read like Canzano’s columns, although that may be par for the sports journalism course.

Don’t know if it is personal between Quick and the Blazers (Patterson in particular), but there are indications that it easily could be.

You might ask Mr. Lancaster if JQ will also be a subject of his investigation.

Written By: TKrueg On October 26, 2006 06:17 PM

One simple truth is overlooked here: The fact that the Oregonian hired an indie reporter shows tangible evidence that certain folks at the ‘O’ are beyond objectivity, that a grudge does exist. The focus shouldn’t be strictly on Canzano because Quick is the person with the biggest axe to grind.

I’ve studied journalism, communication and media studies… I, like others, know what to look for. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown the paper across the room after reading some of Quick’s blatent hit jobs or lazy reporting. At this point, he (and perhaps Canzano) are damaged goods to the point that they can’t get the access they need to do their jobs correctly or sufficiently.

Even if this weren’t the case, Quick writes like he’s only collecting a paycheck, or like covering Portland’s only pro team is a chore. Joke all you want about the Blazers, there’s plenty of good things to report, plenty of insider information to pass along. Quick is incapable of breaking down a player’s game beyond what a lay person could, so he resorts to filling his word count requirement with recycled, negative fluff.

Right or wrong, we as readers and fans deserve a housecleaning at the O sports desk.

Written By: Andrew On October 26, 2006 06:44 PM

I’ve been complaining about Canzano for the last year and a half. When I recognized what kind of sway he had on the fans in Portland, I really became concerned about the politics of his editorials.

But with Jason Quick, I recognize that he has more direct contact with the players and a majority of his commentary is about the game, more or less, than the non-basketball related issues.

I think last years bashing of Quick during the Curtaingate instance was more of a blowing up at the constant negative reporting by the Oregonian, mainly Canzano. I can feel, with the recent openness, by the team, to the public, that maybe JQ has been forgiven. The need for the Blazers secrecy was, in part, due to constant second-guessing of very Blazer move, not with curiousity, but with resentment, in Canzano’s editorials.

It was no longer about fair and balanced, but appeared to be about sway of public opinion. Can’t say that Canzano had an agenda, but it was like he was stuck in a rut and his own commentary fed his disdain for the team.

Hopefully, Melcam was right and that they did send Canzano off to the Hymalayas. Maybe he will come back and appreciate the team for what it is, a group of young, athletic players trying to learn the ropes, in a very competative industry.

Once he accepts that, maybe he’ll be on board with the little things that can add up to very big thing that Portland needs right now, Hope….

Written By: Lee D On October 27, 2006 04:22 AM

I agree with Engineer Scotty and T Krueg that Jason Quick’s hack jobs are daily grating. It speaks volumns that I cannot sit through a Thursday chat anymore. I will read Mike’s work which is usually fair and perhaps he should be elevated to primary beat writer and hire a new assistant.

I will also say that the Oregonian has suffered greatly from this feud in the eyes of folks I talk with. It calls into question the veracity and objectivity of all their reporting.

Written By: both teams played heard On October 27, 2006 05:46 AM

This is going to be a great read, and hopefully, Canzano and Quick, along with any other Oregonian reporter whose name lands in this story, will get an opportunity to respond in print.

Written By: HyperBully
On October 27, 2006 03:22 PM

engineer_scotty,

Just so you know, Canzano was Quick’s source for the Iavaroni story. The bald-faced truth is that Johnny Boy hung Jason out to dry like a set of long underwear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *