Friday, October 12, 2007

More on the Leafs' access ban

Chris Zelkovich, the sports media columnist for the Toronto Star, has a nice piece today on the real reason the Maple Leafs have issued a ban on hand-held cameras in the locker room:
It's about turf. The Leafs have a website and they want their property to be exclusively theirs.

"We need to find a way to protect our own interests as far as Web content and at the same time balance that out and not restrict the media's right to cover the games," Lashway says.
I'm glad to see some coverage of this issue, because while it may cause fans eyes to "to glaze over," it's incredibly important in terms of allowing the press to report and have access to all of the tools available to them.

It's only a matter of time before all print reporters are doing the sort of work Eric McErlain and others are with video interviews, and bans like this only serve to keep us in the Stone Age.

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10 Comments:

At 4:27 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Davek said...

I feel the Leafs ban is reasonable. If I was a player at that level, I would be concerned about dressing room footage getting on the internet. With larger cameras, it's easier to control who is filming and when.

 
At 4:29 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't think members of the professional media have any interest in putting, let's call it, indiscreet material up online.

It's not an acceptable reason for denying print reporters the ability to produce digital photography or video interviews.

 
At 5:13 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Pinder said...

is it the Leaf's website, or a cookie-cutter NHL operated one

 
At 9:13 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

What's the deal with reporters being in a dressing room, anyway? Does anybody else get interviewed at work in their ginch? Or geting out of the shower?
If there were some blinding insights, then maybe.
But show me an interview with an athlete that shed light on anything and I'll show you a million full of stupid cliches.
Reporters don't interview The Rolling Stones every time they come off stage:
"Mick, you guys started slowly tonight but really picked it up after Jumping Jack Flash. Was the fight between Charlie and Keef a wakeup call?"
"Uh, wot?"

 
At 9:17 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

If you're reporting on an event, it makes sense to talk to the participants, no?

Although I'll agree that the insight isn't always the most riveting.

 
At 11:04 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Brushback said...

I think it's perfectly legitimate to ask a player about events that happened during a game. Post-game comments aren't meant to be an in-depth interview; sometimes they just help to fill out the story and give the reader a clearer understanding of what went on; or, refresh the reporter's recollection of the game's events before he writes his story, in case he missed something.

Going back to the Rolling Stones analogy (???), it's kinda like re-listening to the CD again before you write the review.

 
At 12:43 AM, October 13, 2007, Anonymous Michael Schuerlein said...

James,

This partially concerns me, as I bring my good camera with me for the Blog Box stuff. While we don't get access to locker room interviews just yet - I am 99% sure I would snap a picture of the interview as it happens (and that would be it for obvious reasons).

Coincidentally, I just went live with my gallery tonight. Having a full time job makes blogging tough sometimes eh?

Michael Schuerlein
www.islesblogger.com

 
At 8:35 AM, October 13, 2007, Blogger Davek said...

Good discussion. However, I still feel players need some personal privacy. James' point about the media being professional is legit, but players are in a precarious situation showering and changing with cameras around.

 
At 4:58 PM, October 13, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Just to be a contrarian. Aren't sporting events self-evident? Don't we keep score so that at the end we get a result. And then we move on? Why do we have to analyze a game or try to divine motivations? As a compromise, can't we wait until the players are showered and sitting down in the media room? Do we have a pro sports locker room fetish? I don't know where or when reporters first gained access to a working person's shower, but there's something creepy about it. And frankly hard to believe it's taken until now for a team to deal with it.
What team tried to ban female reporters from the dressing room years (decades?) ago. It was a big story back in the day. And not because the notion of having stranagers interview a player while assiduously avoiding looking at the guy's unit was so ridiculous. But because the team was looked upon as being gender biased.

 
At 1:17 AM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Gerald said...

James, I am afraid this is really a non-issue to anyone other than a reporter.

While I would agree that players offer NO insight into what happened during the event (hockey players being singularly inarticulate in this respect), I would not heap the blame solely on them (and by the way, it is a huge understatement to say it "isn't always the most riveting; it is ALWAYS not even the slightest BIT interesting, much less riveting). I have yet to hear a riveting question asked by the media in that milieu, never mind hearing a riveting answer. I think you know very well that the practice of getting quotes by the players, no matter how inane, is really just the lazy way to filling out one's story in order to reach the requisite number of words for the editor.

And no, it does not necessarily "make sense to talk to the participants". IT "makes sense" to talk to someone who can add to the reader's understanding of the event. Based on virtually every recorded interview that has ever been committed to paper or recorder in sports history, that understanding is not added to in the least by the athletes.

The athlete interview in the locker room is an anachronism that came about before television brought highlights (or the entire game) to the viewing public. IT has long ooutlived its usefulness in this 24/7 media age.

 

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