Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bloggers in the press box

Eric McErlain has some more good thoughts today on what is always an ongoing topic regarding the sports blogosphere:
So while some reporters are still concerned about bloggers getting into the press box and asking questions after games, bloggers have already established a foothold and are managing to get hired to do work by mainstream media organizations. And while I might have been through the door first with the NHL, I know I won't be the last. ...

All I know is this: The best journalists out there understand and appreciate how the media landscape has changed, and they're doing their level best to adjust and better leverage information technology to improve their coverage.
I had the chance to meet Eric and take in the situation in the Capitals' press box firsthand earlier this year, something I plan on talking about quite a bit more once the playoffs are out of the way.

In short, I'm in favour of getting the right people into the press box — whether that be journalists, bloggers or whatever — but I also agree that certain standards should be met. And while the 'speed' of the medium works against some basic things like grammar, spelling and sometimes even fact-checking, bloggers should always strive to get things right.

Credibility will come to those who deserve it, and Eric's a perfect example.
  • And make sure you read the thread at SportsJournalists.com that piqued Eric's interest. It gives you a good idea of the 'debate' going on at an awful lot of North American media organizations


At 6:39 p.m., May 22, 2007, Blogger Mike Chen said...

If you check out the comments on that post, notice how quickly the whole thing devolves into a flame war (with a few level-headed people along the way). Part of me feels like I'm reading the HF boards with some of the nouns changed.

At 7:14 p.m., May 22, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

The only thing bloggers lack is (usually) an editor and (often) experience. Experience comes when it comes, but an editor is someone above the fray who can check facts, question assumptions, steer a story, access key individuals, peruse copy for mangled spelling, grammar and syntax, and provide moral support. If the average fan could see what newspaper copy looked like BEFORE it was printed, it would be difficult - as Bob is my Uncle, impossible - to tell the difference between the "pros" and the bloggers. Those alleged professional beat writers whining on the message board ought to be more worried about how the Interwebbies are eating away at their anachronistic, paper-based fish-wrap. No offence.

At 7:36 p.m., May 22, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

None taken. I'm more interested in finding a way for the industry to prosper than preserving what it was before I got there.

At 10:26 p.m., May 22, 2007, Anonymous MikeP said...

The general use of English by the best bloggers doesn't seem to be a whole lot worse than that which gets regularly posted by pros to canoe.ca. It's still the first place I check for hockey news, simply for its breadth (and history), but there's at least one or two articles a week that are full of typoes, misspellings, incorrect words, and even sentences just abruptly stopping. I don't know whose fault it is, but things are getting worse there while they improve in the "blogosophere."

At 11:49 p.m., May 22, 2007, Anonymous Seth Rorabaugh said...

During the Penguins' brief playoff run, I did live blogging from the Penguins two home playoff games.

While sitting in the auxiliary "press box" (I.E. the last row of section C-2 at Mellon Arena) I would type my observations, link to something, and literally hand my laptop to my editor Jerry Micco.

(Note: The less than stellar press box facilities we were in had nothing to do with the fact that I was doing a blog. Mellon Arena is just a really inadequate facility.)

He would edit my rough copy (try typing a clear, comprehensive thought with someone literally one row in front of you screaming "F--K You Emery!"), hand it back to me and I would send it into the office so someone there could post it.

While we were flying by the seat of our collective pants, I think it turned out well and it supplemented our traditional coverage.

Game 3: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07105/778306-383.stm

Game 4: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07107/778709-383.stm.

Granted, a blog based from a newspaper or any other traditional form of media is expected to have high standards in regards to grammar, spelling, fact-checking, etc. But if an independent blog, like Deadspin, for example, can exhibit those characteristics, why not accredit them to cover events?

Now if we're talking about SundinSucks.com or DieLeafsDie.com. trying to get credentials, no dice.


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