Hello reddit.

I am an editor at Grantland, the author of the novel "The Dead Do Not Improve," and most recently the guy who reported the recent New York Times piece on reddit, Twitter journalism and Sunil Tripathi. I imagine most questions will be about the reddit piece, but if you want to ask about Grantland or whatever else, please feel free.

PROOF: https://twitter.com/jaycaspiankang/status/360791149100793856

EDIT: alright guys. I gotta go walk my dog. Thanks for the questions and the time. If you want to ask any follow up questions, please do so through twitter: @jaycaspiankang.

Comments: 81 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

ij_reilly31 karma

Why do you think Alex Angel — and, I imagine, others at Reddit — ended up being so defensive about the role /r/FindBostonBombers played in spreading the Sunil Tripathi rumor?

To me, Angel's quote — "I just don’t understand why the blame was put on us and not on the outlets that did shoddy reporting. Reddit is just a bunch of normal people who are basically chattering. Major news sources put out the bad information without any verification, but we got all the blame. No one but Reddit was really held responsible." — is a bizarre sort of revisionism. Many who made mistakes were criticized, including all of the journalists you mention in your piece. It seems like Reddit faced a specific sort of blame because of the way it was touted as a revolutionary sort of citizen-based journalism.

You wrote a great piece, Jay. Thanks.

VotedforKodos127 karma

I think the people at reddit are invested in making it as neutral of a platform as possible. I don't know if they've completely accomplished that task or if that was always their mission, but from my time there and my interviews, I think they want to believe that reddit is like twitter. The one thing I kept hearing, in reference to ViolentAcrez (http://gawker.com/5950981/unmasking-reddits-violentacrez-the-biggest-troll-on-the-web) was that twitter and facebook both have similar forums but do not have the same blowback. There are a lot of great responses to this claim, including ViolentAcrez's elevated status at reddit, but I do think on the whole, the employees at reddit want to see the entire operations as "content agnostic" Not sure if that answers the question, so if it doesn't, let me know so I can clarify further?

ij_reilly8 karma

Thanks. One more question, if you don't mind. Do you think the Tripathi ordeal suggests that Reddit can't be neutral? The upvote/downvote system seems to imply an endorsement, however vague it may be, on an institutional level.

VotedforKodos118 karma

I know a lot of people are split on this -- some would argue that reddit has a unique investment in catering to the loud, vocal minority on the site (powerusers) and that they will promote things that those powerusers tend to like. I do think powerusers do have an undue influence on such a massive site, but I suppose that's true on Twitter as well. I suppose I mostly have an issue with defining reddit as one massive hive mind that follows a sometimes distasteful taskmaster. Again, I think a lot of reddit users woudl argue that redditors, in general, should be a little more responsible, but the free speech yellers tend to be the ones that yell.

ottawavaulter23 karma

How come there isnt a more "asian" point of view from the media? Arent we treated as "okay to make fun of" still?

VotedforKodos126 karma

Yes, I believe this is true and it's one of the most frustrating parts about working for mass media companies. When they casually make fun of Asians and we're supposed to just wait for an apology and when it doesn't come, we're told to stop complaining so much. It's unbelievably frustrating and hypocritical, in my mind.

zcrizer12 karma

On the Reddit piece, I'm interested in what your original idea of the story was. As a reporter, thought the conclusion of the piece was accurate and a great reflection on media, but I can see how many people still see that phenomenon as a Reddit issue.

Did you intend to look at the mass media effect and weigh it against Reddit or did that surface from looking into Reddit?

VotedforKodos114 karma

I think it came out of my own attachment to Twitter over the past few years and how I've observed other people using the platform. Also, I was as glued to all social media on the night of Watertown just like everyone else and there was a certain swell to how news was relayed that struck me as something new. Maybe not new in practice, but certainly new in volume and importance.

VotedforKodos112 karma

alright guys. I gotta go walk my dog. Thanks for the questions and the time. If you want to ask any follow up questions, please do so through twitter: @jaycaspiankang.

Thesundaybest10 karma

Do you think we'll eventually see someone physically attacked based on false accusations rendered on social media?

VotedforKodos19 karma

This happens a lot already, doesn't it? But on a more local scale. I do think there will come a time when a "person of interest" type gets doxxed and people show up at their home. I'm surprised it didn't happen in this instance, frankly.

Baltche9 karma

You've obviously talked and written at length about your interest in crime, noir, etc.; do you see yourself returning to that genre in novels to come?

VotedforKodos113 karma

I hope so, although I think my next book will probably be a work of non-fiction about mass shooters.

Baltche6 karma

I look forward to reading it. Do you think it will revolve exclusively around American mass shootings or can you see yourself going broader to examine worldwide mass shooting incidents and the sim/diffs with how each culture perceives them?

VotedforKodos110 karma

That's a good question -- right now, I think I'm mostly focusing on American shootings, although I'm sure all that can change. The reaction to the Brevik mass killing was certainly a lot different over in Norway...

shafty059 karma

i am interested in how you ended up at grantland. also, why don't you cover more basketball topics? you produce some great ball-related material.

VotedforKodos111 karma

I wrote a piece about Divas for the Awl.


It got passed around some and I think it was deemed that the tone was the right fit for Grantland. Honestly, I don't know the specifics, but I ended up getting an email from Bill.

I got a bit blocked on basketball this year. It was an incredible season and I found myself at a loss. Not entirely sure why, but that's the honest answer.

s1rason19 karma

Love your work and I think it gets better every time. Way to represent Asians in the under represented field of journalism. I know you've touched on it with the Robert Cho and the Ichiro pieces, but do you plan on writing something about you growing up Korean in the future, or is that a subject you would prefer to not visit? There aren't too many Asian voices in mainstream media, and most that are do not really embrace that aspect of their culture, unless they're on sinovision or azn network.

VotedforKodos112 karma

thanks. I did write a novel about those topics, but I suppose that's not what you're asking about...

I understand why asians in the mainstream media can get a bit hesitant when it comes to "talking about race," mostly because there has never been a place for it and the last thing you want is to be pigeonholed as the guy who writes about Asian stuff whenever a magazine or newspaper or website needs "Asian stuff." When Linsanity hit, I felt a bit hesitant about being the Asian dude at ESPN who wrote about Lin and race from an Asian perspective because I thought it was a) a little weird that I was the only real option and b) because I didn't want to get stuck in that hole.

But at some point, I guess you just have to write things that effect you and as a minority in this country, there's not one thing that effects you more than your race. And so, while I understand why some people don't want to embrace "the race thing" and want to go about their careers without it being an issue, I think it's also fundamentally dishonest to do so. At some point, you have to have some faith that readers will not act like bigots and that those outlets will provide you with other opportunities.

82908 karma

What do you think about the Bargnani trade?

VotedforKodos116 karma

In a world where James Dolan doesn't care about the luxury tax, it's fine. Don't know why they gave up draft picks, though, considering Toronto probably would have given up him for the rights to James White's dunk highlights on Youtube.

Ruddiver7 karma

I think the future of news coverage lies in the internet and the bostonbomber thread here on reddit to me is at the forefront, and the Aurora movie shooting was the same way. the way things can be gathered so quickly riveted me, and obviously, a big obviously, is that mistakes will be made. In my opinion, those type of threads were 90% awesome and 10% not. what, if anything, can be done to smooth out the process of internet fact gathering?

VotedforKodos19 karma

In the piece I talked about a user name mdipaolo who wrote guidelines after the night of Watertown. That post got upvoted to the top of the thread and there was a ton of positive feedback. I think as long as moderators on reddit and users are mindful of these things, the medium as a news aggregation system can improve.

cdewey7 karma

Hey Jay. I'm a reporter who covers social media; legitimately adored your piece. I think your observations about the "video game" mentality in online journalism are fascinating and spot-on -- and I'm curious if you see any antidotes to that mentality/its inevitable harms. Or is this just kind of the new normal?

VotedforKodos19 karma

I think journalists and writers overvalue twitter, in many cases because they're told by the powers that be that it's important marketing tool to get pieces out. From what I've seen working as an editor at Grantland and from my own writing, the amount of chatter a piece creates on Twitter doesn't really correlate with overall traffic. It's just if you hit the nerve of the echo chamber of people who tweet, then you'll get a bunch of activity. But most readers don't really actively engage with twitter in that way.

I do think for writers/journalists though it is the new normal to have conversations with other media people. (I certainly am as guilty of this as anyone else) and I believe that this mentality, where you can firmly track your imprint via retweets and followers, leads to some of the excesses of "twitter journalism." People just get addicted to it.

coolassninjas6 karma

What's it like working in the Grantland office, and more specifically, what kind of boss is Bill Simmons? Seems like a great place to work for writers.

VotedforKodos19 karma

I was there at the beginning when it was four of us slaving away all day long. Still think very fondly back to those days because there was a daily adrenaline rush from starting something new. I'm more in a writer role now, so I don't go to the office as much, but it seems like it's become a much calmer, professional and functional place. Which makes sense, given the site's growth.

Baltche6 karma

Do you think you can somehow psychoanalyze the evolution of the very serious and no-nonsense NBA blogosphere as compared to the more good-natured and well established MLB blogosphere? It seems like the NBA blogosphere is like the little brother who wasn't as athletic as big bro baseball and is now too heady for its own good. Then again, maybe just force Sharp to write that one. Your next novel is probably more important.

VotedforKodos18 karma

It's been a recent development, hasn't it? I have this talk like 50 times a month, I think, and can't figure it out. What I will say is that I think basketball analytics are at a really exciting point right now, the same way baseball was about 15-20 years ago, and that there is a real race to be right, which requires a no-nonsense approach. I do wish there was some more -- struggling for right word -- whimsy? about basketball coverage (although that's speaking as someone who spent years reading Free Darko) but I think a lot of those guys are onto something really intersting and don't want to be bothered by people who are less serious about who is moving the right way on pindowns and who is stuck in no-man's land in possessions in the third quarter. It's an economy that rewards being right and being more tech-y than the last guy (every blogger now does "the Pruitti," right?).

Baseball analytics are always progressing, but at a slower pace, mostly because so much has already been unearthed. Everyone already understands xFIP, etc. I think that's why you have more space for less serious pieces? Although it does strike me as a strange characterization, given the savaging anyone who didnt write about baseball from a hard stats angle would get about five years ago.

Baltche4 karma

I just want to run a pickup game at the local JCC, invite the entire NBA blogosphere, and see how many of them try and take corner 3s.

VotedforKodos18 karma

It will be two guys in each corner and the point guard will be guarded by the LeBron of the other team.

joeahchay6 karma

Do you believe that authorities ever look at sites like Reddit as a helpful tool, or do you believe they always treat these things as a hindrance? The Boston Bomber issue was obviously a headache on many levels, but crowdsourcing information on a platform like this may actually prove to be beneficial on many levels, and I would be concerned if they neglected this kind of information sharing for one reason or another.

VotedforKodos17 karma

They certainly monitor the Internet and they did ask for the public's help, which is the call that animated some of the people who were posting on "findthebostonbombers." I do think, though, that overall, it's better to just send in whatever photos you might have collected rather than trying to sleuth it all yourself. Unless you have some incredible insight that's worth sharing.

ottawavaulter5 karma

Your article with Don King was amazing? Can you give us some outtakes? Also what is your take on $May and Canelo? Overblown hype or legitimate contest?

VotedforKodos14 karma

I think my favorite part was watching Don go through an iPad touch filled with photos from his past with an old boxing reporter. The life that Don has lived is truly incredible and watching him wax nostalgic over everything was one of the better reporting experiences of my career so far.

I think May will win pretty easily, although I imagine there's some pressure on him to make Canelo look good, as a rematch will bring in an unthinkable amount of money. But who knows? Canelo's power is real and people tend to forget that Shane Mosely had May on shaky legs early on in their fight. So maybe Canelo lands something -- I don't really think Canelo can finish well enough though, even if that were to happen.

booloo225 karma

Do you think Twitter lessens readership of artices because of how short and quick info can be displayed on there despite being able to increase popularity?

VotedforKodos18 karma

I do think the actual amount that twitter drives trafic to articles is really overblown. People rarely click through to articles unless there's some critical mass of people they follow who recommend the same thing. And by then, some exhaustion sets in. And yes, I do think Twitter probably does take something away from traditional blogs, but most of those bloggers have mostly migrated onto twitter anyway.

JoseFlanders3 karma

First of all, I loved "The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain Is Always the High" and really loved "That Other School Shooting". So thanks for writing those.

My questions:
1. How do you determine which pieces are suitable for NYT and which are suitable for Grantland?
2. Any idea on when your next book will come out?
3. Besides your colleagues at Grantland, who are your favorite writers/journalists/reporters today?

VotedforKodos15 karma

thanks man.

  1. I don't really have a system. I guess it's just whatever outlet will have me for something I want to write. Also, if it's sports, I write it for Grantland?
  2. No idea. Hopefully some time before I turn 40, although if my last book was any indication, I will be well on the other side of 40 before I finish it.
  3. A list off the top of my head... Alma Guillermoprieto, David Grann, Rachel Kushner, Rivka Galchen, Tom Bissell, Kiese Laymon, Adrien Chen, Andrew Baggerly, Sarah Stillman, Nicholson Baker... There are a lot more. Lemme think about it some more.

BigWheelRidesAgain3 karma

Has the rise of Andrew Sharp rendered you irrelevant at Grantland?

VotedforKodos17 karma

I was irrelevant long before Sharp. He just doxxed you via gChat, btw.

gah_2 karma


VotedforKodos17 karma

  1. Wesley Morris is incredible. It's humbling to share space with that guy.
  2. Probably the first piece I wrote about Ichiro Suzuki.
  3. I can't really speak for everyone there, but personally, I think we've helped broaden the scope of sports writing to encompass all sorts of different topics. The freedom we're given to pursue topics that might not be obviously popular lets us write about things we're passionate about, which I think results in better, albeit riskier pieces. Sorry if I sound like a shill here.
  4. I would like to see more reported pieces that bridge the gap a little more between pure sports analysis and larger social issues. I know that's a priority for the editorial board, so I think we're moving in that direction.

epic312 karma

Whats your favorite food?

VotedforKodos110 karma

Hainan Chicken rice.

ottawavaulter0 karma

How come race wasnt a bigger topic in your NYT article?

VotedforKodos18 karma

Not sure what you mean. In terms of the Tripathi family and the horribly misguided assumption some must have made that an unfamiliar sounding last name must therefore be part of "radical Islam?"