Saturday, December 1, 2007

Analyzing The Hockey Blogosphere

So Hockey Night In Canada had a segment on hockey bloggers and, somehow, they left me out. I know, I know, its shocking! But seriously, in a five minute piece and three minute two-way (interview), they pretty much brushed over the entire segment of hockey bloggers who are, in fact, diehard fans. They concentrate on detailing the Caps bloggers and other writers who are either serious journalists or play them at night. If you want to concentrate on that portion of the blogosphere, fine, but don't ignore and even belittle the fan writers - which they did, and even did so sounding like old farts describing this whole new world on that there inter-web.

Is it any wonder that the talking heads appreciate the news-based blogs like Mirtle's and Kukla's? No, not at all as those blogs - which are affiliated with the Globe&Mail and - are an easy, professional way they can get the biggest stories in the shortest time, which is great, but what about all of the good writers who are out-and-out fans? I think that they gave them (us) a very bad name, saying how they have no bosses and, thus, no ethics. They briefly mentioned the Isles blog box but essentially berated it because it allows bloggers who wear team jerseys. Those bloggers aren't there as journalists trying to sell newspapers! They are hardcore fans who have a passion for their team and want to share that passion. Most do not pass themselves off as Edward R. Murrow, they speak from the heart. What's wrong with that?

I'll answer: Not a damn thing!

Grantland Rice, one of the most respected and well known sports writers of all time (the Notre Dame 'Four Horseman' guy), had to have been a fanatical sports fan to write such lucid, passionate pieces. Professional writers today are so wrapped up in keeping their underpaying jobs and alleged ethics that most game stories are droll and boring (is it any wonder the newspaper is a dying medium?). Most columns are outrageous just for the sake of being outrageous and because the columnists are trying to outdo each other to get big money gigs yelling at other people on television. As for the aforementioned 'ethics', I have never, ever seen a sports writer turn down a free meal or even swag from a team. Ever. How is that ethical?

CBC asks Brian Pothier (was he the only player they could find??) about bloggers and he says they ask some inappropriate questions. So? They ask something that may get an answer that isn't the same boring cliche about losing that he spouted yesterday or the day before or the day before. If you don't like the question, don't answer it. Maybe if the bloggers wore the replica jersey that they paid for with their hard earned money, then he would be more willing to answer the questions, as he knew they helped pay his salary. Who knows?

As a fan blogger I don't make any illusions of impartiality. I am a diehard fan and I want my team to do well. I admittedly take it a bit far but at least I am honest (and colourful). Watching that feature, I thought it sounded like some bloggers (as long as they are well trained members of the media) are ok, but fan bloggers like myself are evil, illiterate fools who only write baseless lies and any 'respectable' journalist/player/whatever would do well to ignore.

What do you think?


The Dark Ranger said...

Well that piece pissed me off, Scotty - a sorry attempt to legitimize the neutral "reporting the facts" level of journalism that motivated me to write my own blog in the first place.

I have found that these (our) blogs are more frequent, more informative and 'on the edge' and cover topics that any salaried media writer wouldn't never cover out of fear. Agreed.

And regardless, if my site is all about "MY TEAM SUCKS" - then that is as legitimate as Lynn Whatever Her Last Name is that writes maybe once a week in The New York Times covering the Rangers.

Thanks for this. It's getting more Dark.


The Puck Stops Here said...

While you complain that the blogs they focussed on are tied to the mainstream media (Mirtle, Kukla), that is certainly not true of allö of them.

My blog was one that Ron MacLean mentioned. My best journalism credentials are probably that I did pretty well in grade 12 English.

I just started up my blog because the lockout was on and their was a lack of good coverage. Most of the mainstream media just repeated the NHL's talking points. I ranted about it enough to my girlfriend that she suggested I should write a blog about it (cause that was where lots of the good information was at the time - especially Tom Benjamin). So eventually I listened to her. There is nothing too corporate about my blog (for full disclosure, I now have an agreement with foxsports where they can pick up stories I wirte and run them on their website), but I don't believe I write stories with foxsports in mind. I write stories because i wanna write em. If foxsports likes em too good for them.

I think the reason to not point out fan blogs is that they lack the general interest for all fans. If I am not a fan of your team, its not the place I want to start looking at the blogosphere.

They talked about some good blogs on HNIC (and strangely enough mine too). I think its a good story. I think your complaint is offbase. There is nop neutral reporting of facts in places like Tom Benjamin's blog and he was showcased very well in the story.

McLea said...

If CBC really wanted to make bloggers look bad, I guarantee mentioning this blog would have done the trick.

What an insanely misguided response to a quality segment.

but fan bloggers like myself are evil, illiterate fools who only write baseless lies and any 'respectable' journalist/player/whatever would do well to ignore.

Evil and illiterate? Are you for real? Evil? Get a grip.

Scotty Hockey said...

tpsh - love your blog; I read it often. But as you disclosed, you are attached to MSM. And they did mention fan blogs by talking about the Islanders blog box in a negative manner because some of the writers wear Isles jerseys at the games. And that is just ridiculous. Showing their support for their team makes them somehow lesser than the beat writers who take freebies?

And come on mclea - how can I not be evil when I write such fun stuff as Dany Heatley is jawing at Colton Orr with a few minutes left in the first. What could he be saying? "Watch out or I will give you a ride in my Porche?"

The Puck Stops Here said...

If you want to call me "corporate", then I think the term has lost an awful lot of meaning. I may not be the man in his parent's basement writing on the internet in his pajamas, I am more like the man in his spare bedroom writing on the internet while listening to Led Zeppelin and in some cases not fully dressed.

The fact is in the hockey blogosphere today that there is opportunity. If you do it and you do it well, opportunity will find you. You dont have to look for it. Any good longstanding blog will have found some opportunity. Dismissing a story on hockey blogs because it focussed on the best out there (hence the ones that have found some opportunities) is ridiculous. They are the best out there and thats why they should be showcased.

It sounds like a case of sour grapes. You were not chosen for the story so it must be bad.

Scotty Hockey said...

TPSH - Seriously man, read what I write before writing. I said you were attached to MSM. Didn't say you were corporate, although most MSM is (trust me, I know having worked for in it for years).

I didn't dismiss their piece, I was just disappointed that it took such a narrow view of what is out there. You say that it focused on the 'best', but amazingly it ignored Hockeybuzz. What makes your site better than Ek's? At least he doesn't regurgitate the same stuff that you find on other blogs.

And trust me, its not sour grapes that I wasn't included. I have had a ton of opportunity to be on television before (ESPN, ABC, the Associated Press) but I choose to do my work behind the camera. As I said, I was upset with the article because it cast an unfair negative light on fan blogs.

The Puck Stops Here said...

You say that it focused on the 'best', but amazingly it ignored Hockeybuzz. What makes your site better than Ek's?

What makes most of the blogosphere better than Eklund's site? They didn't make up their rumor they are discussing over theirm orniong coffee. They are actually writing about something that is based in reality.

Anonymous said...

No matter who you are, blogger or MSM, you should NOT wear a team's sweater while "reporting" from the press box or locker room. If a company has enough respect for your work to invite/allow you access to places typically reserved to MSM, then you should have the courtesy to look and act professionally.

Anonymous said...

Oh, by the way...It was a Ferrari

Scotty Hockey said...

TOF - I stand corrected, a Ferrari 360 Modena. I must have got him mixed up with Pelle. Thanks.