Monday, October 20, 2008

Bloggers in the Press Box

Here's one from the headlines that is near and dear to my heart.

Over the last few days, there has been a lot of discussion of bloggers being allowed into the Press Box at sporting events. All of this stems from a post at Covered in Oil, an Edmonton Oilers blog where one of their writers had a little run in with the Oilers Media and PR Departments. The story has now garnered huge coverage and since I'm not one to keep quiet, I figured I'd chime in on this one too.

Taking the situation at it's most basic - should bloggers be allowed in the Press Box - there are two ways to look at this issue.

The first is that many professional sports teams have extensive coverage through the Mainstrea Media already and there is only so much room in the Press Box. Or so I've been told.

Then there is the issue of blogging in general. Some people recognize it as a legitimate form of media and have embraced bloggers as part of the system. Others, however, think we're a bunch of hacks and over-zealous fans who just run on at the mouth about our favourite teams.

The truth is we're both and that is where the problem lies.

Physical capacity of Press Row aside, the way people view blogging is a big part of what is keeping the medium from being accepted across the board as a legitimate and vital part of the media. The other part is that anyone, literally anyone, can start a blog and write whatever they want, for better or for worse.

I've been a part of the blogosphere for nearly two years now and have been lucky enough to be a part of a number of sites. Between Bugs, Epic and The Love of Sports, I've seen some outstanding writing and I've seen some horribly bad writing that sets those using the blogosphere as a tool to furthering their careers back a hundred years.

But here's the rub: None of this is ever going to change.

There isn't going to be some United Nation of Bloggers established where a declaration of etiquette and what can and cannot be written is declared officially. You'll always be allowed to write whatever you like, but there is some personal acceptance that needs to be undertaken by my fellow writers out there.

You want access to the Press Box? Do things the right way.

Write like you're writing for the biggest publication in the business and present yourself accordingly. The guys and girls from The Sun and The Globe and every paper in between can't curse and swear, insult players without reason and are held accountable for what they write.

If we're to ascend to that kind of level in the future, we have to hold ourselves to those standards as well.

Furthermore, remember where you write.

The sad truth is that we're not at a point yet where blogs are accepted on par with MSM and only the big guns are going to get the access we so deeply crave. I've dealt with this first hand, having been turned down for countless interviews over my two year tenure at Bugs.

Regardless of how great I think the site is and how credible I believe my writing to be, if the Media Relations Department of the Texas Rangers feels I'm not a big enough fish for Josh Hamilton to talk to then c'est la vie.

* * * * * * * *

The thing that frustrates me the most from this situation with the guy from Covered in Oil is that he's decided to pack it in until further notice. WTF?

Instead of sticking your tail between your legs and packing it in because the Oilers didn't like the way you were doing things in their Press Box, why not use this as the outstanding publicity it is, grow your readership and prove your value?

This is one of those times when, if it were me, I'd put everything I have into showing the Oilers and all the people who are now paying attention that I have more than enough talent and legitimacy to not only be writing, but be welcomed into the Press Box on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, we're still a ways away from being recognized as real writers universally and some people aren't willing to accept that and stick it out.

Fortunately for you, I'm not one of those people... I ain't going nowhere!

1 comment:

Newt said...

Its unfortunate that he has decided to stop blogging. It seems that he has quite a few readers.
What I get from the post is that he feels he was treated irrationally by the Oilers franchise and even though he had his press pass returned he chooses to use this incident as a means to an end. I think that reason #2 is actually larger than reason #1.