What is Boston Dirt Dogs?

Blogs have become quite influential over the past year. Blogs have helped to debunk stories such as the George W. Bush National Guard story and also bring down CNN Executive Eason Jordan. These types of blogs are independent and give another source of information to their readers.

But when a blog is owned by a media company, should it be held to the same journalism standards that behold its news website and newspapers?

This is the question that now belies the Boston Dirt Dogs website. I have put a link to the site here on Fang’s Bites, but I also consider it to be satire. However, the site’s webmaster, Steve Silva also considers himself a mini-journalist, attempting to break stories. Some of these stories have been found to be false and others denied.

Boston Dirt Dogs was purchased by the New York Times Company last year and made part of the Boston.com website. Subsequently, Silva was hired by Boston.com to be a website producer and according to a news release issued by the company, would be held to the same journalism standards as Boston.com (can be read here, link courtesy of Boston Sports Media Watch). But in the meantime, Silva continues to provide stories that he maintains are true, but later denied.

The latest series in faulty journalism by Silva is one that claims former Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra did not want the World Series ring offered by the team for his role in last year’s championship season. While Nomar was traded at the deadline, he was voted a playoff share by his teammates.

Boston Dirt Dogs claims that he received a tip from a woman named “Jessica” stating she talked to Nomar and he didn’t want the ring and “… they (the Red Sox) can keep it.”

Boston Sports Media Watch has been looking into this story and found it to be false. Bruce Allen who maintains the BSMW site has been in contact with Boston.com’s Editor Theresa M. Hanafin and she has downplayed his concerns. Bruce first went into this yesterday. Then more fallout today.

So when you see something from Boston Dirt Dogs, just remember the source and try not to take it so seriously. The main question is will Boston.com eventually take issue with Silva’s stories if they continue to be found false. Will Hanafin’s “It’s a blog, for God’s sake” attitude continue or will the New York Times Company eventually hold Silva to the same standards of its properties i.e., the Times, the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette? The New York Times Company has had to deal with the Jayson Blair issue and more recently, plagiarism regarding Ken Powers of the Telegram & Gazette.

It will be interesting to see how the Times Company continues to handle this website and what, if any, repercussions will come from this latest story.

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