Thursday afternoon Puck Daddy on Yahoo posted two blogs (from Greg Wyshynski) on a leaked proposal for credentialing bloggers and on banning bloggers from visiting locker rooms.
What Wysh reported doesn’t sound like good news to the mavericks of sports media.
What the league has tentatively proposed is a clear limitation on the non traditional media community. If the person requesting the credentials doesn’t meet criteria plainly representative of the traditional media (TV, radio, major print publication) then they should be highly limited.
Effectively saying, “We like the attention we get from you, but we don’t trust you. Here is a bone to keep you interested”.
I can understand why the league thinks that way. There are few, if any, formal restrictions on bloggers. They answer only to themselves and/or the community blogging site owner/editor/organizer. There are no industry specific ethical guidelines. Blogs are basically a private entities all to themselves.
The league has a fear of that lack of control. Which brings up a question all hockey fans should be asking. Is the NHL missing a golden opportunity to bring bloggers to the mainstream?
Why should the league want to do that?
Traditional sources are stagnating. Print media sources are failing or barely hanging on. Few are doing as well as they used to. Local TV is struggling as well. They have to cut back and focus on the top money makers. In the sports landscape of the US that means Football and Baseball.
Traditional sources are finding success in one place. Online. I go to the Hockey News website. I don’t subscribe to the paper copy. Why pay for what I can get free?
The non traditional media market is growing exponentially because of this shift to online. Twitter and Facebook provide highly trafficked free distribution networks. Bloggers know that working social networking sites will bring in hits. They know that people go there regularly for information and you have to be where the people are.
Follow me on this…
People (including hockey fans) go online for info.
Bloggers are masters of the online information game.
The NHL does not compete well against other major sports in traditional channels.
Does it not stand to reason that the league needs to have a better formal working relationship with the blogging community? I think so.
Instead the proposal is to make the bloggers feel like second class citizens. Section us off, brand us separately and restrict access.
Tim Panacico of the Philadelphia Inquirer said on Twitter yesterday. That bloggers really do deserve some credit for growing the game since the lockout.
When will the credit be acknowledged? More so, when will it be rewarded with more equal footing?
A compromise is needed for those bloggers out there who want access and can prove their worth. I have a feeling most would be willing to agree to some basic ethical and logistical guidelines to be able to apply for credentials as a blogger. A more formal process and program could be set up. Allowing those meeting criteria and agreeing to some rules can gain better access.
I am not credentialed, so maybe my point of view is skewed. However, rules like the proposed deter me from trying. I work hard and blog ethically. Should I be treated equally or should I accept o get the leftovers?