10 October 2007
First let me say that I really respect McErlain and he is a pioneer, not just in hockey but in the the blogosphere, for getting bloggers recognized as legitimate media. His efforts with the Capitals and DC United has helped open doors and taken blogging from the "sitting in underwear in your parents basement" to being recognized as an acceptable form of gaining information. He is so influential, and good at what he does, that he is probably more responsible for the Islanders even considering the blog box.
McErlain seems to be following in the footsteps of Albert Einstein. Einstein was stubbornly hesitant to accept Quantum Mechanics, even though his efforts and work helped create it. Likewise McErlain is hesitant to accept the new Islanders Blog Box, even though his effort and work helped create it. The headline from his latest piece in the fanhouse reads: "The Blog Box fails the New Media Test," yet really what he should have said was "The blog box fails the old media test."
Excuse me if I stifle a groan here. Over the course of the entire 2006-07 season I spent in the press box with the Washington Capitals (35 games overall), I was never identified as a blogger. I was simply treated like any other member of the working press and was granted the same access and privileges -- including access to the visiting locker room if I wanted. Of course, that also meant I had the same responsibilities, which meant staying out of the way of the beat writers who had deadlines to meet, moving if I was blocking a camera angle, as well as making sure I didn't step on team logo on the center of the locker room carpet.
Excuse me if I stifle a groan here but while Mr. McErlain is content, and even strives for, the recognition of being a "legitimate" reporter that is not the goal of all, and even most, bloggers. Part of blogging's allure and charm is that bloggers are real fans able to say what they want free of the shackles of mainstream media. He said it best himself, this is NEW media and new media needs new rules. We're not paid professionals who are responsible for reporting an objective account of what's going on, many of us are fans and the reason people read our blog is to get our passionate, hopefully well-thought out and well-written thoughts on our team. But we're writing from a fan's perspective.
But if you had taken a trip to the "Blog Box" on Long Island on Saturday night, you would have seen something quite different: A group of fans segregated from the rest of the press who were only allowed guided access to Islanders players and no access to the visiting locker room at all. Most galling of all, many of the box bloggers trooped down to the Islanders locker room wearing Islanders jerseys.
Exactly the way it should be, I don't find anything galling about this at all. By all accounts none of the bloggers in the blog box WANT to be a member of the press (god bless them). They realize that this is the presses jobs, and it's their hobby. They waited until the professionals were done and then asked intelligent questions that enhanced their blogs.
[bloggers writing is a] good thing, and I don’t mind them at all.
I’ve got my own blog now, and I plan on it being the best one possible when it comes to Avs coverage, etc. I don’t take offense to bloggers “competing” against me, but now the flip side is starting to happen: newspaper beat writers like myself are starting their own blogs. I’ll tell people what Joe Sakic was like in the locker room that day, or tell stories about players from the past, inside stories (nothing that would get me in trouble though, lol).
If people find mine more interesting and I get the most “clicks”, then yay for me. If somebody else gets more and people like them more, then I’ll be the first to tip my cap to them.
But I’m a tough competitor, and we newspaper guys are fighting for our rice bowls now, a lot harder than we used to anyway.
It’s a brave new world, and I won’t be a Luddite.
This is from Adrian Dater, written in the comments in response to the last time I wrote about this topic. I don't want Dater's job, and I don't want to compete with him. In fact I want to compliment him. He has an excellent blog, even if he doesn't update it nearly enough. I don't want his level of access because I think it will ruin me as a fan, but I am writing from a fan's perspective. If I lose that perspective my blog becomes the same thing you'd see in a reporters blog or a newspaper. I have built a nice little niche for myself here as a fan blogger and I don't want to lose that.
Limited access will only enhance that, which is why I am in favor of it, but full access will ruin that perspective. The press is the Macey's Thanksgiving day parade, and fan blogging is Mardi Gras. Yeah their both parades, but entirely different. If McErlain and others want to march to the beat of the Macey's parade that's fine and they should get access. That doesn't mean all parades have to march to the same beat.
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