Friday, November 16, 2007

 

More on blogs

Christy Finn has a good post up on bloggers and media over at Girl With a Puck. It's a little different from my post earlier this week; it deals with access for non-MSM bloggers, for example, something I spent zero time discussing. It also talks about the blogger/journalist distinction, whereas I focused on the MSM/non-MSM distinction. I'm interested in the categories, myself. For example, at what point does a non-MSM fan blogger become an MSM journalist blogger? Is it when they get access? How does it all mix and match? Or are the distinctions just dumb? And so on and so on.

The most interesting quote in the story, of course, comes from Ducks GM Brian Burke:

"With a journalist, I know they’ve had some training. I know there will be a fact checker and an editor to keep them accountable. I will know what to expect from [journalists] because if they take a bribe or report false information, they’ll get fired. With bloggers, there’s no safeguard and no guarantees. That will change when one of them gets hit with a libel lawsuit, because one blogger is going to be careless with the fact and they’re going to get nailed. A lot of people will cite the first amendment and call blogging “freedom of speech,” but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a responsibility to be factually correct."


It's good to see that lawyer Burke is aware of things called "laws," because he didn't seem to be headed that way with his "no safeguard and no guarantees" comment. Personally, I liked the "bribe" comment most. I'm a blogger. I blog. That means I'm apparently open to persuasion. What could a team possibly offer me that would make me write more favourably about them? Free tickets? A press pass? Nice seats at the top of the arena? Some free popcorn and coffee? Access to the players? Hanging with good looking millionaires by a pool in Los Angeles? The ability to sit in the dressing room and watch half-nude celebrity studs play ping pong? Hmm. Yes, I suppose that might make me feel grateful, even special, and I then might be inclined to be less critical of a player, coach or general manager. I could see that. Thank God that doesn't happen with journalists, then. Think of the type of compromised stories we'd be getting.

The fact is, Burke isn't concerned with ethics. Anyone who's listened to him talk for more than ten minutes understands that. He'd insult a plant for being too green. He's concerned with control. Most of the teams have a controlled relationship with their media partners, and that's how they want it to stay. The only reason we are seeing teams in the U.S. move to embrace the non-MSM blogs is because they have no choice. They have no other media partners. That's not to slight the work being done by the guys and gals running those blogs. They are doing some fantastic stuff. But if they were in any of the six Canadian cities with an NHL franchise, they wouldn't be getting access to the teams. There's little incentive for the Canadian teams to provide that access when every newspaper in town wants to cover them extensively, even to the point of attempting their own, mostly tame, mostly leashed, and mostly derivative blogs. Simple, yes, but true.

Comments:

Oh Burkie Burkie Burkie you bag la douche. The bloggers of the world don't pay attention to your spin doctoring.
 


The fact is, Burke isn't concerned with ethics...He's concerned with control.

This is pretty much exactly the same thought I had when I read Burke's quote.
 


Most of the teams have a controlled relationship with their media partners

Burke's era in Vancouver is littered with powerplays between him and the local press. His first instinct was to try and get unfriendly voices fired. Of course this didn't go over particularly well within the press corps and the war/ daily press coverage was subsequently bloody and feud filled.
 


At least Burke is talking and thinking about this; I'd wager that most team execs don't even have an opinion on bloggers — they're simply not part of the equation.

Of course there's apprehension here. Look at the kind of garbage being produced on "celebrity" blogs and gossip sites. If one photo of Jiri Tlusty is front page news, what's to stop another garbage site of getting a whole set of nudes?

The fact is, there are far more blogs that don't have any standards and that aren't accountable as those that do. I don't think setting standards for bloggers to reach, and having some sort of accountability to accuracy, is a bad thing.

Burke's actually ahead of the crowd on this; he's even entertaining the idea of allowing bloggers into the box with some sort of contract. That's Step 1.

Nice seats at the top of the arena?

You get a better view on TV.
 


I don't think setting standards for bloggers to reach, and having some sort of accountability to accuracy, is a bad thing.

I am accountable to standards. They are called laws.

If one photo of Jiri Tlusty is front page news, what's to stop another garbage site of getting a whole set of nudes?

I don't know, maybe players not getting drunk and taking pictures of themselves nude? And I'm confused. Why is the Toronto Sun being used as an example of why blogs should have to be accountable? All you've done here is help my argument.

At least Burke is talking and thinking about this; I'd wager that most team execs don't even have an opinion on bloggers — they're simply not part of the equation.

I'm pretty sure that's what I said. I won't give him credit for it, though. He's only considering it because no one in California covers his sport.

Burke's actually ahead of the crowd on this; he's even entertaining the idea of allowing bloggers into the box with some sort of contract.

I'd say he's about twenty years behind the rest of the world, actually. But if some sucker wants to sign a contract to get access to a team, more power to them. Or less, in this instance.
 


I think Mirtle is on to something, however I also agree with Andy. Mirtle is correct in the fact that some blogs are not held to a high standard of accountability. Take Ekhlund for example, the guy gets paid for spouting "factual lies". And I know many on this site will discredit him, and so they should, but their is still people out there reading and taking note of what he says. What is in place right now to stop him? Nothing it seems, yet it is in my opinion that something should be done to stop people like this from throwing poo against a wall and hoping it sticks.

And on the nude photos, Andy, you say that Jiri should not take drunk photos of himself. To me that is a garbage excuse. My girlfriend has sent me risque photos before. I am certain that I am not the only who has benefited from some form of "electronic photo exchange". This is just an example of people exposing other's without considering what it might do. Also, the blog that posted them was not thinking "I don't know Jiri, he may be a good guy, I should not do this", they were thinking "Holy Sh*t, look at the goose egg that landed on my lap to give my blog exposure". This view permeates throughout many blogs, to me something should be done about it.

However Andy, you are very much correct on how these blogs provide viewpoints and analysis that MSM wouldn't even think of doing. Why read Terry Jones or other's when all you have to do is read the Oilblogosphere to get a game breakdown that is ten times funnier (BOA and others make me laugh all the time), based heavier in facts/stats analysis (thank you IOF and Lowetide), and not afraid to call out underperforming players (something MSM hardly ever do, in fact they more often or not give the guy a easy break, ala Lupul). Blogs are great, and more and more people are knowing to how effectively use them, and people are turning to them in droves for obvious reasons.

Note: I want the Oilogosphere to know that I don't think they contribute to the whole "throwing poo against the wall and hope it sticks" mentality. Instead, I find all blogs are amazing in their own way. Keep up the great work everyone.
 


Re the Tlusty episode, and as an aside: last month an old friend sent me a link to photos of a girl I dated in high school. Looks to have been posted by her husband. They were wildly inappropriate for family viewing. She's held up well, still has an 80s vibe to her makeup though.

My points, and I have two:

1. Expect every digital photo that is ever taken of you to potentially land on the internet one day.

2. The modern age is wonderful.
 


Here's why media coverage in Edmonton stinks...and make no mistake, it is absolutely brutal.

It's not the free perks at all, it's the relationships reporters have developed with people at all levels of the team. The reporters here have been covering the team for too long, they are befriended by managment, players and public relations people and they become too close to the people they are reporting on. They begin to like the players and management and actually feel bad about writing negative stories.

They are not afraid of losing access or perks, they are afraid of losing friends or dealing with the awkward moments when they meet the team following a negative story.

The type of coverage would be much more negative if Lowe or McTavish or the team brass were assholes and treated reporters like crap. That's not the case, however, so the media allows itself to be manipulated.

Media coverage is much more cirtical in Toronto and Montreal because there are many more reporters covering the team. Under those conditions, there is greater competition and more pressure from editors to be critical of their teams.

Unfortunately, the media in Edmotnon has lost sight of its audience. They are now writing for the team, not the people who read their articles.

If the Oilers continue to be one of the worst teams in the league, the media will continue to feel more pressure to write negative stories. And at some point there will be a flood of bad coverage, until MacT or Lowe is fired or quits.
 


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