Barring the blog
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has instituted a new policy banning full-time bloggers from the team's locker room, drawing an official protest from The Dallas Morning News, which employs the only writer so far banned.
In an e-mail sent to Cuban on Monday, Bob Yates, deputy managing editor/sports of The Morning News, wrote that the policy "is a veiled attempt at retribution" against Morning News reporter Tim MacMahon, who has been blogging about the Mavericks since 2006.
I can't imagine a hip billionaire sports team owner honestly holding some of the opinions Cuban serves up in this article and on his blog, opinions such as "a blogger is a blogger is a blogger" and "by taking on the branding, standard and posting habits of the blogosphere, newspapers have worked their way down to the least common demoninator [sic] of publishing in what appears to be an effort to troll for page views."
Cripes. I'll admit, I don't follow the NBA particularly close and, as a result, don't hear too often from Mr. Cuban, but let's just say he doesn't compare favourably to hockey's owner about the blogosphere, Ted Leonsis, whose open-door policy has been terrific for the Capitals.
Now, you don't have to have said policy to earn my respect — I'm fine with the idea that some teams simply aren't yet comfortable admitting bloggers into the press box. I actually thought it was pretty odd going to a Capitals game last season as a "blogger" and getting the royal treatment, a seat in the owner's box to watch the game, alongside family and friends, simply because of the medium I use to cover hockey.
But to boot out a member of the press who has been covering the team for a half season because you don't agree with the newspaper's business model? Or because every blog is equal?
But there's no one way to categorize blogs as a whole, and as a result, no overarching quality that defines them all. Cuban may think newspapers having blogs is a terrible idea, something that demeans "the brand," but I wonder why then so many organizations are having so much success using the medium to better interact with and attract readers? (Habs Inside/Out comes to mind.)
The fact that "anyone can blog" is a terrific thing, and ultimately, quality wins out. Garbage content doesn't find an audience, and that's true of blogs whether they're run by the mainstream media or, well, Mark Cuban. (Who seems to stop by when I link to his blog. Hi Mark!)
If newspapers or other media organizations produce terrible blogs, then yes, of course, they will fail. But in my mind the work of Craig Custance, Seth Rorabaugh, Rich Hammond and others offers a great deal, along with access that the majority of the blogosphere lacks.
How can the answer here be to take that access away from everyone?
On a related aside, it's come to my attention that the fellows at Orland Kurtenblog have been denied credentials for the Canucks this season, despite their affiliation with the Vancouver Province.
I'll say only this: At some point, the distinction between what's a media blog and what isn't is going to be rather hard to make.