Sunday, December 02, 2007

HNIC Spotlights Bloggers

Last week we had an interesting discussion going about bloggers and journalists and all that good stuff, with a lot of good points made. It's a tricky subject but one I think bears revisiting from time to time, especially since all of us have such varied experiences as bloggers.

Clearly Hockey Night in Canada producers read HLOG, because they descended upon Verizon Center this past week to take a look at this whole crazy blogging thing, airing the results in their pregame show earlier this evening. Take a look:

I think they did a fair job of exploring both sides of the issue, showing the pros and cons to giving fans so much access while avoiding the representation of bloggers as complete nutjobs with laptops. And I'm choosing to ignore Brian Pothier's comments about how we dress...

As someone who has benefited and will probably continue to benefit from the Caps' progressive policy towards bloggers I'm not convinced as to whether or not I belong in the press box. But I certainly appreciate the opportunity and try to make the most of it when given. I view it as a privilege, not a right, and I think there has to be that distinction made to some extent...if only so the "real" reporters don't step on your feet and elbow you in the stomach in the media scrums.

For me, it's tricky. On the one hand I like to be able to bring interesting quotes and perspectives to my readers. I like getting to see the players up close and personal, hear their opinions beyond just the sound bites you get on the news or in the paper, watch how they interact with one another. On the other hand, I enjoy being a fan and watching the game with only that perspective, cheering when appropriate and showing emotion when they lose. That's impossible to do in the press box and it's one of the main reasons I haven't applied for a press pass more often.

I will say that in my brief experience, the people who want to have this kind of access from the blogging world are more likely to treat it with respect. I've never seen bloggers acting any differently than the established media types, and again I question, seriously this time, the basis for Pothier's comments. If anything, from what I've seen they're more engaged, more interested in what the player or coach has to say and often more likely to ask the question no one else will ask.

That's not saying that bloggers are smarter or better than the mainstream media. We simply work without restrictions. Reporters work on a deadline and have limited space in which to print the facts, while we can explore any number of topics at any given time and that frees up the line of questioning a bit.

And to that end, there should be guidelines and rules - there's a reason the Caps don't give out credentials to every blogger, and those of us who have been credentialed know where the line is (for the most part) and are invited to ask questions of the media relations staff if we're unsure. It's a learning process on both sides and the road is likely to be bumpy at first, but the Caps have done a great job in laying the groundwork for what could be the future of hockey coverage.

I think once it gets a little more formalized and once the novelty has worn off for bloggers and the team itself, we'll start to see just how much is gained or lost by allowing this kind of access. It'll really be interesting to see how the NHL can work with the internet and the people who provide it's multifaceted content in the future. The fact that on HLOG alone we have the most wonderful spectrum of bloggers and hockey fanatics, each with their own style and voice tells me that the potential is endless.

(Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point out my 15 seconds of fame; I'm the one in the red sweater swigging a Diet Coke behind Nate Ewell...autograph requests should be referred to my agent.)


HG said...

Well done, CC. Insightful and wonderfully written as always.

Can I have your autograph? :P

Ms. M's Miscellany said...

I'll be in Washington over Christmas. Can I get a media pass too? This really points out the difference in accessibilty between small and large markets.

Cat said...

Man, it's so cool that there are teams who invite bloggers to apply for media passes. I wish the Stars would do something like that, but honestly, I only know of two Stars blogs besides my own.

I agree with every single one of your points, especially the whole fan first, blogger second thing. I would be torn on the media pass as well, just because it would be inappropriate to cheer when your team scores, and just do the various things that you can do when you're there as a fan. I definitely fall into the fan first, blogger second category, and I like it that way.

...Also, I don't know if I could handle asking players questions. I might faint.

DCSportsChick said...

Brian Pothier is dead to me now.

Seriously though, how is he able to tell who's a blogger and who isn't? You definitely can't judge based on wardrobe. (The bloggers are generally dressed and act more professionally than the mainstream media in a lot of cases, IMHO.)

Interchangeable Parts said...

Great work, CC!

It'll really be interesting to see how the NHL can work with the internet and the people who provide it's multifaceted content in the future.

It will also be interesting to see if the MSM will ever pick up on the fact that there is more to hockey blogging than the bloggers writing with sports journalism aspirations.


Anonymous said...

I agree with DC SportsChick. The two times I've boxed for the Bears, I was the MOST overdressed person in there- last game I was wearing a sweater and a polo shirt (and if you knew me, you'd know how out of character that is) while the guy next to me was in jeans and a grubby T-shirt and basically watched the game as a fan from the box.

And got more respect from the other male media than I did. Ugh.

Tracy said...

Because you have breasts. That means you don't matter in the world of sports.

I mean, really ladies... none of us really know what we're talking about. We fake being fans but we really just like to paint our nails and hang on to our guys' arms and look cute. Be seen and not heard ladies, it's the American/Canadian way!!

Gag me.

Oh and kudos on the write up CC, you're fantastic.

Cat said...

Because you have breasts. That means you don't matter in the world of sports.

It's really sad that most people still think that way. The looks I get at games when I talk hockey with girlfriends are totally astounding. I mean, seriously? Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I don't know sports, obviously.

Nadine said...

Wait, Philly lets bloggers into the press box? Hold on...I shouldn't be surprised that Comcast-Spectacor doesn't promote this.

Of course, it's not as if I'd be jumping on a chance to be there. I am a fan, so I couldn't stand not being able to cheer/boo, make my usual sarcastic comments, or break out my Flyers gear.

As for being treated as though there's something weird about me being a hockey fan, I can find that in the regular seats. I don't need to be stripped of my fandom to be subjected to it.

And as for Brian Pothier, way to fulfill all those nasty stereotypes of stupid hockey players.