26 August 2010

Unpopular

This is probably going to be the most controversial opinion I ever put on here, but no one who would find it controversial actually reads RWD. Since there is nothing going on in the NHL this off-season (at least nothing interesting), bloggers are getting the vapors over the inequity between traditional sportswriters and themselves. Because bloggers are SERIOUS JOURNALISTES!!111!!, yo.

But, once more unto the breach, dear friends: 99.9999999% of bloggers do not warrant press credentials.

This is not an issue I've ever broached here before because though I may joke about it sometimes, I do not and never have considered myself a serious journalist or even a journalist at all. I don't even want press credentials. I would be escorted out of the press box after 30 seconds. 15 seconds if we're playing St. Cloud. 5 seconds if I see Kurt Davis.

I am happy to pay for my season tickets. I love sitting in the crowd, dressing in crazy costumes, screaming my larynx out, waving derisive signs, circulating the rink to say hello to my friends.

Granted, I write about hot guys, I make up stories, I do inappropriate things with Photoshop. I'm not your typical blogger. (Well, I'm not your anything.) I don't think there's a whole lot of value I could add to RWD by giving me a press pass. Although imagine the thoroughness of my All-WCHA Hottie team research. I could do crayon rubbings of everyone's abs. It is my understanding that a press pass would allow me to touch a player anywhere above the equator.

Attending a press conference might be fun, I guess, but I'd probably breach some sacred sportswriter etiquette, and I'd also probably sit next to Bruce Ciskie and irritate him by elbowing him to get his attention and then whisper snarky comments while he is trying to listen to Sandy mumble out how he thought it was a good game. I don't write about anything that might be mentioned in a press conference.

But even those who do don't really deserve all-access passes to do their journalistic thing.

First of all, many bloggers do a lot of things that violate copyright laws. I mean, I do; I'm always stealing people's images without giving credit or asking permission. But hey, guess what, bloggers? You can not re-post an entire article, written by someone else, and then toss in a sentence or two of "analysis" and count that as original. You can't do that whether you cite the source or whether you link the source. Professional sportswriters like Kevin Pates or Brad Schlossman can do that because they work for newspapers who subscribe to the Associated Press. You probably do not.

Many bloggers also have terrible grammar. I find that most offensive of all.

Most bloggers are redundant. This is not very nice to say, but it is true, especially at the professional level. Donald from The UAA Fan Blog is not redundant. Moe from Bronco Hockey is not redundant. An acquaintance of mine just retired from blogging the Fargo Force because he felt he was redundant. I am semi-redundant. I have to stop saying redun er, the "r" word. Newspapers have beat writers, teams have official blogs, sports networks have blogs, and then there are the unaffiliated masses. Bloggers who want press passes need to transcend blogging.

(I don't think of myself as a blogger. I think of myself as an armchair sportswriter. Which is worse. What is the opposite of transcend?)

This petulant whining about equal treatment for bloggers stems from the arrogant assumption that bloggers are writing about something that is interesting, thoughtful, and well-written. Most blogs are bad. Even the good ones are not good all the time. Hey, most sportswriters are bad, too, or at least boring. But do we need to subsidize any more boredom? No. Lots of bloggers feel like they are looked down upon by traditional media, as if they have been sold into bondage or something. As if bloggers are taking the high road on that one. But hey, people, be your own copy editor and honestly assess your work. Or I can do it for you. Ask Biddco about my editing skillz. And my brutal honesty.

So what is a blogger going to do once they get their grubby hands on a press pass? Get a credential and then blog when they feel like it/have time/the kids are in bed/work doesn't get in the way? Bloggers are asking for the privileges of beat writers without the pitfalls. Anyone who reads Russo's Rants knows he is a big whiner about the life of a beat writer. Are bloggers prepared to be left behind by the team when the goalie gives them the stomach flu and they are puking in a hotel room? Blogging is a hobby. I repeat: bloggers who want to get press passes need to transcend blogging.

What exactly is a press pass going to do for a blogger? I get to hear every Wild press conference. Where? On the radio, whoa-oh-oh-oh on the radio. What is a blogger going to ask that 1. isn't already asked or 2. isn't going to get them the bum's rush? I'm sorry, I know everyone likes to think they are super creative or super bold, but whatever. Snark doesn't work in the locker room. I mean, some of these guys barely speak English. And that includes some of the Americans and non-Francophone Canadians. And for those folks who are creative, isn't that creativity a product of your lack of access?

Press credentials would take away a lot of what separates blogs from traditional media. In fact, they could be used against us. It would be a way for NHL execs to take back some of the PR control they lost when blogs became widespread. Don't like what a blogger says? Yank their credentials. Blacklist them. Facing players in the locker room might make some folks less willing to be critical or be funny. Accountability could shutter quite a few blogs. Even blogs that aren't particularly controversial, but just never thought they'd have to face the people they critique. And how many bloggers would have the guts to risk their precious, hard-won press passes asking the tough questions they wish they could ask, or call out sportswriters for avoiding?

I don't know. What is the point, anyway? It's somewhat indicative of overall American society; wanting what someone else has. Wanting validation. Wanting to feel like a contributor. Wanting the inside information on the team. Wanting free tickets to the game. A sense of entitlement for all the sacrifices made for the love of blogging. Really, what is next? A ride on the team's chartered plane? Socialists!

I write a blog. I read blogs. I write good posts and bad posts. I read good blogs and bad blogs. I'm guilty of almost everything I'm complaining that others do, except I don't care if I'm considered equal to a beat writer and I'm a grammar freak. I also have a small readership and no designs on making it bigger or making this my career, so there are going to be a lot more people who tell me to STFU. But hey! Maybe this will get me more hits! Angry mobs carrying pitchforks always make for lots of hits! Then I will make monies and get a press pass and own the world!

12 comments:

Dirty said...

I want a press pass for the free cookies.

Runninwiththedogs said...

Donald, where did your comment go?

Donald Dunlop said...

Donna,
It was weird. Initially I got some sort of blogger error about length (one I haven't seen before) but it posted it anyway. Then it wasn't there.

Thanks for stealing 20 minutes of my life Google Blogger!! Next time I get long winded in a comments section I'll be sure to copy my text before trying to save it.

A brief summary of my comment ... good job. I like my press pass pretty much only because it's a free ticket. I don't sit in the press box and wouldn't want to because like you I know I'm a fan. Blah blah blah and some other stuff.

Oh yeah, the issue of poor attribution bugs the shit out of me too.

Donald Dunlop said...

And oh yeah .... "real" newspaper dudes think bloggers are fags (except for Kevin Pates and Joe Paisley).

Runninwiththedogs said...

Actually I read the comment as it posted to my email. So I saw the whole thing, then came here to respond and it was not there.

You realize that obtaining a press pass because you want free tickets is what most organizations fear all bloggers want...

Donald Dunlop said...

I'm sure it is ... but why should I be anything but honest about the one primary benefit I care about that I get from having been granted a "credential" ...

Feel free to repost my whole comment if you still have it.

It also occurs to me though that the pass does come with responsibilities. In my particular case those responsibilities are something I already adhered to because I love my program.

And no team (NHL or NCAA) wants to issue a media pass to someone that there is even a remote chance they'd have to pull ... and end up with some bitchy petulant blogger writing shit about them?

Donald Dunlop said...

Dirty,
It's a Mini-Pizza and a bottle of water at the UAA Press table. I do not partake. I get the lineup sheet and head to my seat.

Tom Reale said...

If you're running a fan blog, there's no need for a press pass - none whatsoever. Most press boxes I've been in restrict cheering, so if you can't cheer, how can you be a fan and write a fan blog?

Without a Peer has been granted some degree of access upon request, but there's no need to go all out and act like a serious firsthand source of news unless you're getting paid for it.

Oh, and BTW... Donna, Donald, congratulations, you're now officially charter members of the links section at WaP. Good times, or something.

Runninwiththedogs said...

All blogs are fan blogs.

I've accessed the UMD press box before. I just walked in. I could probably access tUMD's locker room, too. There's only like 1 cop and a table standing in my way.

What's funny is how much professional sportswriters complain about their jobs and how much bloggers fantasize about those same jobs.

Nathan Eide said...

But ... for those of us who don't want to give merely the fans perspective, but attempt to create original content rather than analyzing what was stated in someone else's article, credentials go a long way to gaining the respect of the franchise and the ability to reach out, get exclusive interviews with players and staff as well as talk about the body language in the room after a game, what some of the more seasoned reporters talk about in the press box, etc.

Runninwiththedogs said...

Be a sportswriter then. You're certainly talented enough to do the writing and web-savvy enough to do something more than just blogging.

Runninwiththedogs said...

Really, people who want credentials have got to differentiate themselves from bloggers. Essentially you must create an entirely new category. No matter how great the writing, a blog is a blog. You've got to create something that looks and feels different.