Blogger's role

A member of the MSM takes a sincere look at the blogger's role in sports: (via The Big Lead)

NOTE In The Cheap Seats has some good thoughts and links on this topic posted as well

Needless to say I think this guy hits the nail right on the head. It's a fantastic article. We've gone over this before, but this is a conversation I think needs to happen often. The less people talk about it now, as blogger's role is being developed, the less chance we have of actually getting that role.

I think one thing that is going to be defined in the upcoming years is the role of the sports blogger. The problem is that every blog is going to have to be treated on a case-by-case basis. I envision this blog as a virtual sports bar. Where people get together and talk about the Avs, you know without being in a smoky bar and in the same physical location. I try to look up some fun facts, and get the opinions of other bloggers and come up with something that is at least entertaining to read. some blogs, like Offwing have a much more journalistic approach.

For example my 5 questions series. I'm trying to get access to ask questions to another team in relation to the Avs. I mean it's nice to know how another team 's fans feels about a player. Now i know, from reading some edmonton blogs, to stay away from Joffrey Lupul at all costs. He's hated, absolutely hated, by Edmonton fans. So when he comes up as an FA in a few years we know we don't want him, without that resource, As fans, we might learn to late that Edmonton fans hated him.

One thing I noticed in Dear Lord Stanley's interview with Adrian Dater of the Denver post is the Dater seemingly thinks that the blogger and him are working towards the same goals. (this is his response to DLS's question about should bloggers get press passes?
I think I'm on the side of anybody getting a credential who diligently "covers" a sport, and that means someone who travels to different cities to do it. That creates a problem perhaps to many bloggers, but to me, if you're going to get a real credential in the press box to a real big-league event, you've got to put in the hours, the time and the money getting the job done - not just sitting in your underwear and delivering sermons from the mount. To me, there are starting to become too many self-proclaimed "experts" in this business who like to think of themselves as serious journalists who deserve credentials to all the big events, but too many of them have never really done the job.

I can understand his point. His goals are to keep an accurate account of what's going on with the team. His job is to talk to people and be around the organization to get a sense of what's happening, what's going to happen, and whose going to make ti happen. If that's a blogger's goal, then yeah I think he needs to put in the legwork as it may be. The problem is, that's not every blogger's goal.

The thing is, I don't see that as my role. I don't have any outside access. I am seeing the game as a fan. I don't want to sit in the press box, because that might warp my view from the fan's perspective. However there is access that would be beneficial to my blog, and the organization, that would enhance that niche I am carving out for myself and others. Would an interview with an Avs scout be beneficial to In the Cheap Seats?. How about inviting Tapeleg from Jersey's and Hockey Love to the new Avs jersey's unveiling? But do either of these bloggers need access to the press box for a game? maybe, maybe not. Do either need to be in the locker room after a game asking questions? I'm not so sure. One thing I would love to see for myself is the Avs work in the community, and with the fans themselves. I know the Avs, players and organization, does a lot of charity work and spends a lot of time in the community. I think it would be beneficial to invite a blogger to this, and get a fan's take on how they act with the fans. I know I would want to go and give my take on it (I'd also want to hear DLS's, Draft Dodger's and Tapeleg's version too) because this is an example of distinct organization-fan interaction.

I think it's also a good idea for an Organization to allow blogger's access to the games more. I can give my take on all things about the game, parking, concessions, fans, ushers, food etc. A blogger's voice can be an organizations opportunity to get unfiltered voices of the customer (one of many), and I think blogger's inputs can really help organizations optimize their fans (i.e. customer's) experience. If I go to 5 games and there are drunk unruly fans distracting everyone from the game, all 5 times. The Avs can use that to tell their usher's "We've been having unruly fans lately and it's becoming a distraction to other fans, please keep an eye on your section and identify any unruly behavior." (I can even dream that they may outlaw the wave, but I don't think it will happen).

Well I've rambled on for far too long, but I think this is a good topic to be talking about. The sports media landscape is changing, and the blogger's niche is being carved out. I see this blog as a virtual water cooler, where fans gather in the morning, or afternoon to talk and listen about their favorite team and the going's on of the day. Maybe we're discussing Terri Frei's latest column, or Ovechkin's sick goal, or Sakic's latest heroics. But we have a place to go to get other fan's opinions and insights into our favorite team.


  1. Interesting observations and, in fact, my darling rival The Islanders have already instituted house seats for more well-known bloggers. I joke this is because they have seats available, but the truth is virally and organically they are recognizing that it starts with the fans and grows inward.

    In the Atlantic division, think East Coast now, many of the more mainstream bloggers 'Blueshirt Bulletin, Hockeybird, etc.' have become real news forces that are taken very seriously by the Rangers Brass - and I suspect, as initial fans, the management realized that people were reading and paying attention, and began to provide access for these bloggers to the teams directly. Cool stuff.

    Everyone needs a 'hook' on their blog - mine is making fun of every team, except the Rangers (of course) because when it comes down to it, we want readership for all the hard work, guessing, research, etc. IN other words, we want other fans to LIKE US. True stuff hits the basics.

    Soon enough, your dear, dears Avs will get you seats you don't have to pay for. Here's hoping....and keep up the great blogging -- as the season nears, you will be my source of good Western Hockey.


  2. Jibble,

    Please send me a quick email at (louisville 329 at yahoo dot com) so I can get your address. I would like to share some info and make a small request of you, and I can't find your email address listed anywhere on the site. Thanks.

  3. Unfortunantly free tix won't do me any good for the blog box... As i am living in San Jose for at least the next season, and maybe a few more.

    But yes I am both jealous and excited for the Islanders blog box. I think more than just hockey bloggers, but the entire sports community are going to be keeping an eye to see how that turns out.

    It may help define what is, right now, a very undefined role. It may be a failure (I hope not) or it may be a gigantic success (I hope so).

    My "hook" as you call it is just I guess being myself and being a fan. I like to think of myself as fairly objective, but almost fanatical at the same time. I like to read and study and watch, and I like to share my thoughts with others. Obviously that's a decent hook because I have some good readers, with good comments that usually have smart discussion.

    And trust me, as I get home from work when most East Coast games are usually 1/2 - 2/3 of the way through I have to get my East Coast hockey info from bloggers.

  4. jibblescribbits is in San Jose. I'm in NH. I don't know where DLS is, but I don't think it's Denver. Tapeleg seems to be on the road more often than not. I guess in our case, a blogging section wouldn't do much good. :)

    Working on an article for my take on the situation.

  5. 1) Very nice/thought provoking post. Blogs are so amorphous with diverse goals/interests and talents. Not all blogs are simply amateur reporters.
    2) Some are amazingly well done, with great insite that the beat reporters of the team don't provide. They also don't have to worry about injuring a player's ego with criticism.
    3)Access to folks within an organization is probably in the team's best interest. As getting the word out can never hurt/helps PR
    4) However, we believe that bloggers should stay/remain separate from the 'mainstream press'. For one there are so many of us(and seemingly increasing by the day)its simply would be too crowded in the press box. LOL Who is let in and who is turned away?
    5) Regardless, its an exciting time to be a fan. Now not only can you get instant access to all stats everywhere(In the old dark days we had to wait for the Hockey News to come in- usually 2 weeks after the fact- to get the latest player stats) Now not only do we have all stats at our finger tips, but now each and everyone of us can state and read others' opinions, instantly! Awesome!
    Note: We at FAUXRUMORS don't expect any invitations by teams any time soon! LOL

  6. At this point, I am not looking for credentials. My work life makes it difficult, and my blog style is less journalistic than others (really, you don't say). Although, it looks like I "broke" something with the Blue Jackets post, as I got a lot of attention for that post.

    Doing something tailored to my blog and it's niche would be great, such as a jersey unveiling. Part of the debate, though, should be if the team is giving a press credential, or an advertising opportunity. If they were to invite me to the jersey unveiling, but nothing else, are they looking for free promotion?

    Having the support of a team would make a lot of difference to a small little blog like mine. A link on an active message board can produce hundreds of visitors who have never seen my site, and usually more than a link from Offwing or Kuklas.

    As a cautionary tale, look at how Offwing changed after he got his credentials. Aside from becoming Caps-centric and cutting off most of his audience, he became dull and boring to read (and Eric agrees). Getting the press credentials changed his blog - not to mention his life - for the worse, until he could figure out the balancing act of being a sports writer and being a sports blogger, a reporter and a pseudo columnist. Now, he is successfully using his credentials for better access to events like the NHL Draft, and getting good results.

    If anything, Eric's story should give some pause. While it would be "cool" to sit in the press box, it is a more daunting responsibility to live up to having that press credential than most would realize. It isn't just a free ticket to a game.

    If I were to tailor my access privileges, I would want to see the world one time. Press box one game, luxury suite the next, ride shotgun with the equipment manager another, then a janitor, a door guard, catering, ice makers (ice engineers?), penalty box attendant, the works. For me, some of the most boring posts I write are game recaps (almost killed my blog dead) and journalistic reporting. I like to get into the game itself, have a take on an event or story, and not just watch it happen from the outside. Staying at the draft until the bitter end was part of that. How many bloggers got to see the reaction of the crowd when the final pick, a man who grew up playing hockey in the area, was announced? The reporter will tell you what happened, how the crowd reacted. I got to be part of that crowd. I liked my viewing angle better.

  7. DLS: I can't get to my e-mail during the day. I sent you one last night, let me know that you got it.

    DD: I think you hit on the best thing about blogs by pointing out how far away all the normal Avs bloggers are from each other...That we can follow our favorite teams with ease even though we are many miles away. We can have those fun conversations with like-minded fans from all over the country/world. That's the great thing about all these blogs.

    Not only that, but we can get the input from different teams as well. After the Neal hit on Drury during the season I can go get both a Senators and a Sabres fans reaction.. that's pretty cool.

    Faux: Yes it's very exciting, and while I think most bloggers should be separate of the media, there are cases where they have evolved into journalists. I think it's pretty fair to grant those people access, like the Blueshirt bulletin, because they have become journalists. If that's the case though, I think Dater's right that they need to do the legwork associated with it to be given access.

    (In saying that note that not every newspaper actually sends their hockey beat reporter to away games, so traveling isn't a necessary requirement in my book).

    Tape: I think you hit a lot of it right on the head. A blogger, for the most part, is different than the media. The press credential requires responsibility. If i say "Arnason teamed well with Guite on the PK" in my blog well that's just a dumb off-the-cuff mistake. If I have a press credential and say that it's different.

    With a press credential comes more responsibility, from fact-checking to objectiveness. At the same time, I think Tapeleg would be the perfect representative for the Avs jersey unveiling, or any jersey unveiling. I would hope they wouldn't have you there as a company shill, but more as a jersey critic. The Caps asked Paul Lukas of Uniwatch to be at their jersey unveiling and I don't see any that Tapeleg wouldn't be a great representative there.

    As for a blogger box, well I would worry it would leave me a little disconnected from the actual fan experience. Part of the fun is to sit next to people and enjoy the game with total strangers. Hi-5 people who you never know. The only thing I might want special is some Wi-Fi and a place for my laptop (and a lock). But I wouldn't want to be removed, unless I was writing, as Tape said, on my experience from somewhere a fan doesn't normally get to go.

  8. Objectiveness? Perhaps you forget a certain Woody Paige? Objectiveness is for reporters, and if a blogger doesn't want to be objective, toss it out the window, at least to a point. No one wants uber-fan can't see the game for what is happening around, but defining your role is part of the gig. Beat writers know they can't get their own jabs and opinions in the way of the story (unless you post it on you blog, right Dater?).

    A recent post on Kukla's was about the Stars beat writer not giving his opinions because he was a reported. My comment was, he should become a blogger, so he could do both. To me, that's what sets the blogger off from the reporter. We get the luxury of mixing and matching our opinions and facts (so long as we tell the truth), and not have the pretense of not being a fan, and not caring about the outcome.

    Perhaps that's part of why the fans are tired of the same-old-same-old of hockey writing.

  9. You nailed it, Jibble.

    Like a few others have mentioned, I'm not interested in press box access at Blues games. I'm a season ticket holder and I go with my family to every game, so I'm not going to leave my wife and kids sitting there by themselves during and after games so I can go talk to some guys who really have no interest in talking to me.

    However, what I would like to get access to is some of the non-game related events. The Blues are holding a prospects camp next month. I'd like access to talk to some of the prospects there. I wouldn't mind being able to interview some of the management down at the Scott. Those are the kinds of things I'd be interested in as a blogger... not press box access.

  10. Woody Paige isn't objective?

    I guess I think of columnists and reporters differently. I think of Frei as a reporter, who also writes columns.

    But I don't see what a lot of blogger's do as any different than what Paige or Kizla does. If those guys get press credentials, then why shouldn't we. They don't travel to games (unless the Avs make the playoffs). They don't get dirty in the locker rooms often. If those guys are able to get press credentials, I don't see why any blogger shouldn't get them if he/she wants them (which, as I've said, I don't).

  11. Some people may have seen this link on The Big Lead, but this guy takes some columnists to task for the way they write about race. (specifically Mark Kizla of the Post, and some other guy).

    (DISCLAIMER: this is a political blog, and I have no idea what side of the isle it lies. I have never seen it or read it, other than this article. Just wanted to throw that disclaimer in there. It doesn't represent my political views, and I hope we can avoid any kind of political discussion here)

    And into this void steps one columnist who never sees the inside of a locker room or clubhouse, never smells the sweet scent of an emotional victory or feels the heavy air of a crushing loss.

    But suddenly there they are. They become the all-knowing authority, the experts, peddlers of whatever their minds conjure for the moment. Their motto is write first, ask questions later. Too often from their perch comes not the wisdom of the observers' perspective but words of the ultimate outsider, seemingly secretly ever-jealous of the beat people--except for the pay--and the athletes who dance their every game dance.

    I recommend the entire read, but his thoughts on columnists seemed relevant here.

  12. Hey, I love that people get involved with blogs and are writing. I’ll take that over you guys watching American Idol or playing video games all night or something. I love the fact that blogs are, in a way, the purest form of democracy we can have. It used to be that you just had me to read about the Avs. Now, you’ve got a lot of dedicated people writing their most serious thoughts about them, and other things.
    That’s a good thing, and I don’t mind them at all.
    I’ve got my own blog now, and I plan on it being the best one possible when it comes to Avs coverage, etc. I don’t take offense to bloggers “competing” against me, but now the flip side is starting to happen: newspaper beat writers like myself are starting their own blogs. I’ll tell people what Joe Sakic was like in the locker room that day, or tell stories about players from the past, inside stories (nothing that would get me in trouble though, lol).
    If people find mine more interesting and I get the most “clicks”, then yay for me. If somebody else gets more and people like them more, then I’ll be the first to tip my cap to them.
    But I’m a tough competitor, and we newspaper guys are fighting for our rice bowls now, a lot harder than we used to anyway.
    It’s a brave new world, and I won’t be a Luddite.

  13. Hmm it's an interesting viewpoint Adrian, but see I don't view you as a competitor. I see myself as a supplement to what you do, and you as a supplement to what I do. Sure it's similar, but I enjoy your take and inside access. You can get stories, quotes and feelings from the locker room that I can't get.

    I love your blog and read it every time you update it. There's no possible way I could ever do a blog post about hearing about Forsberg's intentions to stay with a team he's played for, because well most people I talk to on a day to day basis don't know him, or anyone else who knows him. But you do hear those conversations, so you are, in my opinion, essential reading for a dedicated Avs fan, even a "competitor" as you call it.

  14. Adrian - Of course, one way of looking at it is independent bloggers are forcing newspapers to start blogs, rather than the other way around.

    I'm sure you will wind up producing better "coverage" than I will, and write about it with better skill. Then again, I will probably be funnier and don't have an editor who can yank a post (if that's what happened. details?). We do different things, even if it is in the same realm of hockey writing.

    I wonder if that is part of why readers are turning to the blogs, for something different. Not a beat reporter, not a columnist, not having to dance a fine line, and for all the journalistic integrity, sometimes willing to bite the hand that doesn't feed.

    But for those of us who don't get paid to write, I wonder how much of it is competition. I don't feel like I compete against anyone, not even other independent Avs bloggers, I'm happy to get what few readers I have.

  15. fucking Tapeleg keeps stealing my answers

  16. Obviously Tape and DD are competing :)


    or something.... um... yeah.

    See, and again, DD does something different than what I do. We have totally different voices, even if we agree sometimes. And if I wanted to do what DD does, or Dater, or anyone else, I would and could do it, because my blog is my own voice.

  18. Hiya -

    I just spent the better part of this warm morning in Arizona to read the thorough analysis of the Blogger's role in the hockey/sports universe.

    While I thought it would next to awesome to be in the press box, I think there might be something that is lost in translation when commuincating what is happening on the ice from a fan's perspective.

    I don't want to be objective. Even though my voice can be somewhat objective and factual, there is an opinion there somewhere, but if I want to let it rip about what I think about the firing of Curt Keilback, or how J.R. made a mockery of himself, or how the boys were just not working, I would like to do so without reprisal. It's what I like about hockey blogs and I enjoy every one of them that I read.

    The beauty of blogs is that it's democratic and as long as a particular blogger doesn't think too highly of him or herself, then there's room for anyone who can write and join in. I think there is a temptation of self-absorbtion one can get when writing from the press box and I certainly want to avoid that.

    I look at bloggers as a compliment to the Mainstream (as long as the mainstream doesn't fall into the same self-absorbtion trap I alluded to earlier) - they can get the sound bite from the NHLer, but I can't. That's fine.

    Anyway, good stuff...I enjoyed reading everyone's take.

  19. Welcome to the site pb. I agree with you 100% as well. I think almost everyone here has had some really intelligent thoughts and good ideas about the blogger's role in sports, and hockey.

    One thing I am curious about is the ever-changing beat-reporter's role. I mean none of us really view us as competitor's, however none of us use our blog for sole source income. We do it as a hobby (I assume). The beat reporter's livelihood is to talk about their team and I can definitely see how blogs could be viewed as encroaching on that livelihood.