Sunday, October 19, 2008

The blog police

If you missed the hullabaloo at Covered in Oil over the weekend, there are certainly quite a few places to check out the discussion.

I liked what David Staples from the Edmonton Journal had to say, if only because he does a nice job incorporating the Oilers' perspective on things here:
The issue of bloggers being treated as mainstream reporters is not a simple issue for the Oilers, or any mainstream organization, to cope with.

For example, there will soon to too many Oilogosphere blogs for the Oilers to issue press passes to all of them. Even if the organization wants to embrace this new form of media, it's going to be a challenge.
If you disagree, consider this: Dave Berry is an Oilers fan, a journalist and a fairly well-known hockey blogger.

At some point, the designations become pretty unclear. If I was in the Oilers press box on an assignment for the newspaper and happened to post a little 'how do you do' on this site, would that be allowed? Is blogging on Oilers Nation if you're already in the media circle okay?

Where's the line, and what's the policy on this?

I can see why the Oilers wouldn't want a member of Covered in Oil blogging from a team-sanctioned location, even if their brand of wit is effectively harmless. But the proper response here was simply to let him know that type of coverage wasn't appropriate for the press box and leave it at that.

I don't agree that that's the case, but the team is certainly within their right to do that. What I object to is treating bloggers, regardless of what they write, like the scourge of the earth.

Here's Greg Wyshynski:
It's pure bullying, based on a belief that anyone with "blogger" affixed to his or her name is a reckless amateur with no business sharing the same free popcorn with the pros in the mainstream media.
What teams like the Oilers should see in Covered in Oil is the value of intelligent hardcore fans providing offbeat coverage of a team they adore.

What they do see is a threat — and that's a sad situation indeed.

UPDATE Apparently Finland is on the case. As far as I can tell, he calls Kevin Lowe "clammy man."



At 8:48 p.m., October 19, 2008, Blogger Deanzilla said...

Amen. Good post.

At 9:50 p.m., October 19, 2008, Blogger BReynolds said...

Thank you for standing up, as a member of both circles, for those of us on this side of the line.

No one in the hockey blogging world is out to injure the sport, at least as far as I can tell. We are the people who are so passionate about the sport that not only will we spend the money to attend the games, but the merchandise, and pony up for the Center Ice package, but we will then spedn what little time we do have left over to write how we feel about it all.

I won't eat up your entire comment section with my rant, but just wanted to stop by and thank you for weighing in.


At 11:11 p.m., October 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You nailed one of the things that annoyed me the most about it - not just the willful ripping on blogs and ignorance of their importance (I have followed entire games solely through liveblogs if I was unable to watch the game, including for teams I don't normally pay much attention to if the blogger is a good writer), but even more than that was the lack of consideration.

My late grandmother was one of the most polite people I ever met (she could tell someone to go to hell so nicely that they'd actually look forward to the trip), and was a firm believer that it was important to be courteous and classy in dealing with others. Just because you have authority doesn't mean that you have to act like a classless jerk, and that's exactly what the Oilers organization did.

At 12:13 a.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

Absolutely right on, James. Teams can control their access, but they should use some common sense in doing so. It's hard to think in particular that a live blog is harming the Oilers in any way: in fact, it's probably drawing more attention to their franchise and their games, some of which may very well someday manifest itself in ticket or merchandise dollars. That seems like a more positive potential outcome to me than forcing Berry to just sit there and take notes quietly with the rest of the box, 90 per cent of which will likely never make it into his story. That material is well worth a look and there's an audience for it: the Oilers are being short-sighted and missing the point completely. Why force all bloggers to the basements and living rooms of stereotype? If you credential the good ones and have them live-blog from your press box, not only will they be more favourably disposed to you, but you also send the message that your organization is up-to-date with the current world of technology. The vast majority of professional sports organizations seem to be fine with live blogs: just look at the Globe's live-blogging coverage of Toronto FC, the Raptors and the MLB playoffs, for example. It's unfortunate that the Oilers haven't yet caught on.

At 1:17 a.m., October 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the issue here is a little deeper than you address.

I don't follow the blog or the oilers, but it is my understanding that the blogger in question is employed by a "respectable news company," and was issued a media pass for the purpose of covering the game for that company, which he still did.

Now, the unnamed news company is being forced to find a new writer to cover the team in the future, and at fairly short notice. At the very least, this news source is now mildy annoyed with the Oilers organization.

At 1:35 a.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't get the sense that covering Oilers games is part of the regular course of Mr. Berry's work.

At 1:49 a.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger sager said...

... Puck Daddy already addressed that point, daismog. In this day and age, you have credentialed journalists who on top of the outlet they are credential through, are gathering stuff for use on a radio show, a TV panel or a blog that they only get through their credentials. also moonlighting for ESPN, The Sporting News and The Hockey News, and getting material for their blogs. Then some are gathering material for books. Many play-by-play guys, such as Dean Brown in Ottawa, have a blog where they post thoughts that are shaped by having access.

Everyone is serving a couple masters.

At 2:31 a.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger Chris said...

"Too many blogs" is a weak cop-out excuse.

There are too many newspapers that write about the Edmonton Oilers to accommodate all of them in the press box, but somehow the Oilers are able to distinguish between the Edmonton Sun and the Bonnyville Nouvelle without keeping both out of the press box.

At 2:42 a.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger Loxy said...

Who cares about the issues now... I got quoted on a Finnish website!

At 5:26 a.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger Karhuherra said...

Greetings from Turku, Finland. Lots of unusual traffic in my blog this morning.

Since the Google translation is so much funnier, I won't bother telling more precisely what I wrote in the text Mr Mirtle linked to. Just wanted to introduce Finnish readers to this strange case.

Keep up the good work, all of You,

As a reporter-hockeyblogger myself, this kind behavior of course makes me worry. Why is it that club managers everywhere want to turn these great resources into threats? Here in Finland the clubs and the league have their own problems in coping with the new media, but everything seems to be bigger in the NHL - even paranoia.

Finnish sportbloggers and readers are just getting used to liveblogging. I spend my hockey nights in the press box sitting next to Finland's finest - and, eh, only - hockey liveblogger. Now I'm just hoping that anyone here doesn't get any ideas from the clammy man Kevin Lowe.

In the end, I just wish that the people in the Oilers organisation will keep their dirty hands off Loxy and Hot Oil. I may need to quote those lovely ladies again...

At 9:46 a.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...


At 1:18 p.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger grease trap said...

James, that was starting to be a regular gig for Dave - covering the Oilers.

At 3:24 p.m., October 20, 2008, Blogger Scott Kennedy said...

The problem is that the blogger in question was providing a 'live blog' covering the game from the press box.

Rights holders like CBC and 630CHED in this case, pay a lot of money for exclusive broadcast rights for that hockey game. The Oilers did not want to be officially affiliated with something that would go against that. For example, if CHED lost even one online listener to this blog, they would have reason to be upset. Thus, his press pass was revoked.

That being said, they probably could have resolved the problem without rudely giving the guy the boot.

At 5:19 p.m., November 02, 2008, Blogger Mark Bonatucci said...

@ Scott: I'm sure had the Oilers media folks informed the blogger in question that rights infringment was the issue and they needed him to stop immediately - in those words and a civil tone his last live blog post would have indicated that and the issue would have been better managed by all.
@ all: I guess all I can say is I'm glad I'm a Caps fan. The Caps have embraced the blogging community and can and do do a good job of differentiating between blogs like mine and bloggers like me and more serious blogs and blogger who get regular media access. The rest of the league should really look at the Capitals as the "best practice" here and spread their practices throughout the league.

At 7:44 p.m., November 21, 2008, Blogger Chasing Distractions said...

Great post - I submitted it here -

Too bad you won't be using this blog anymore.


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