Bloggers in the Press Box

Posted by Richard Pollock in Columns,Editorials,Game Report on September 25, 2008 — 4 Comments

I realize that everybody in the blogosphere has given their take on this topic, so I am not going to go on a long diatribe as to why allowing bloggers in the press box is a good thing or a bad thing.  Rather I am going to try and get straight to the point.

As a whole, I can see the arguments against allowing bloggers in the press box.  People say that bloggers don’t have to answer to anyone and therefore have no accountability.  Sure that can be true in certain instances, but teams and the league as whole that judiciously select particular blogs to have press access should not have such a problem.  If the public relations director believes the site to be reputable then why such a backlash?  In my opinion the benefits far outweigh the detriments. 

Think about it, the game is getting publicized on another platform.  How can that be a bad thing? Whether it gathers critical publicity or not, it gathers fans together on sites or message boards and allows for passionate discourse about their favorite team.  Hockey is ahead of other sports in terms of internet content, so why slow it down? 

I’m not here saying allow every blogger in the press box; that’s not it at all.  In fact, many bloggers don’t need to be at the game to write their opinions of the games they have witnessed.  If there is no room in the press box, I would not expect a team to make room for bloggers.  However, when teams have open seating in the press box, then what’s the harm?  If the teams understand and are familiar with the type of blogger they are letting through their doors, there really shouldn’t be any concern. 

Bloggers aren’t here to replace the mainstream media.  Those men and women continue to do a terrific job keeping fans as up-to-date as possible on their favorite teams.  In fact, I’d say the coverage of teams today is as good as it has ever been.  Many times, it is the articles written by team beat-writers that evoke such interesting and informative dialogue on blogs. 

Why curb that enthusiasm?

  • Bob Roberts

    Why indeed? You’ve interviewed more than a few “traditional” hockey writers and they all consider it a positive (and fast) source of information and opinion.

    What you need to do is form an “Association Of Professional Sports Bloggers” (APSB). Or you can limit it to hockey, or Canadian, or whatever you want.

    But size matters when you want to be heard and recognized by “The Establishment”.

    Invite prominent established and respected bloggers (like you and GHL Joe, for example) to be founding members with you.

    Choose those you can trust to keep it quiet until you are ready to go public.

    You’ll need legal advice on the proper way to form an association.

    Copyright everthing.

    Hold virtual or actual sessions to determine professional standards of ethics, behaviour and accountabilty. Study other professional bodies’ methods and procedures.

    Follow with the election of officers.

    Establish committees to determine procedures for applying for membership in your association.

    Keep your standards high.

    Put in place a procedure to deal with rival associations.

    When word of your initiative spreads (and that will be very fast), others will form their WHAs to your NHL. Be ready to “negotiate” and then absorb them.

    If you proceed smoothly and professionally and quickly, and try to secure some “names” as members (Eric Duhatschek, maybe?).

    The next step is to apply for accreditation.

    Use a top notch marketing team to prepare your presentation. Have the team there, but make it yourself.

    It’ll cost a more than a few bucks and a LOT of time and effort, but if you want to make your calling a profession it’ll be worth it. You know, go big or…

    Good luck if you decide to go for it, regardless of what level you shoot for.

  • Bob,

    I would like to not only thank you for being our most loyal reader but for providing valuable insights on a wide range of hockey-related topics. One of the main reasons we started this blog was to share as much hockey information as possible and to bring our unique passion for the game. We can’t tell you how much we value the comments and questions you provide because the fans are essentially what the game is defined by. I like your “Bloggers Union” idea very much. But just one thing: Richy won’t have to go very far for legal advice (he has a law degree from the University of North Dakota).

  • Mikos

    I agree that all of Bob’s points are very good!! The only thing I wonder is does the blogging world benefit from the lack of structure that more formalized institutions such as Print Journalists possess?

  • Bob Roberts

    Amazing how many lawyers you run across in the world of hockey, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the kind words, some of which I tell myself are bang on. Just some though, really I’m just a hockey nut. Ask my wife. No, you haven’t got that much free time.

    Though I’m retired now, perhaps my comments on Richard’s (I can’t call it a rant because even if before I knew he was a lawyer I doubted he ever rants — but that’s about as close as he gets, I guess…) will give away my former occupation?

    Be honest, though, the real reason you started this blog was because so far it’s the best way to talk hockey non-stop with your friends and sort of come across as serious when you tell others (like, oh, maybe what’s now known as “life partners” — you know, people who sadly just won’t ever understand that hockey IS everything) that really just hard work. It’s the ultimate treehouse in the backyard, isn’t it? And you can pass it off as “doing chores”!

    I know it’s a lot of hard work to keep everything up and running and stay ahead of the technical side at the same time.

    Hey, I’m “working on the computer” right now myself. Later I’ll have to have a bevvy and kick back to watch the Pens and Leafs just to recover from all this effort. NHL Centre Ice is almost as good as hockey blogs, isn’t it?

    Thanks for being a truly classy, complete and diverse site. A flagship franchise for a hockey bloggers’ association if ever there was one.