Thursday, August 02, 2007

Professionalizing Bloggers?

The Venerable Off Wing Opinion started a Hockey Bloggers group on Facebook which I went ahead and joined in order to take part in the credentilization of bloggers for NHL Press Boxes.

Now, my feelings are pretty well known, I don't understand why bloggers want to be in the press box and I don't believe for a second that giving bloggers access is going to help the NHL grow its audience. I don't care to rehash any of that but I will say that the VOFO's idea here IMHO takes bloggers out of the blogging arena and into the world of being semi-professional writers for Internet Sports Journals.

There is no doubt that bloggers are getting more and more attention from various outlets. As a matter of fact, while waiting for Ralph Friedgen to begin at the MGN Kickoff earlier tonight, I found this on page 206 of the 2007 Maryland Terrapins Football Media and Recruiting Guide:

Credentials may be issued to other online entities that: a)are affiliated with a national or regional media organization; b) host a website that regularly and substantially reports on University of Maryland Athletics, and c) employ for that University of Maryland dedicated website at least one full-time, permanent employee who writes a substantial majority of all material posted on the site. An online entity that is an outlet primarily devoted to the recruitment of student-athletes will not qualify for credentials.

So much for my Dook streak....

I will reiterate that I don't believe that bloggers have any inherent right to belonging in a press box anywhere even if the blogger undergoes a certification process to "clear" them to sit there. Rumor Boy has shown all of us just how any kind of access (either real or imagined) can be abused and turned into a destructive force. The lack of accountability (despite the claims of some) is a serious detriment to the credibility of the entire blogging community, not just the hockey bloggers. While taking some steps to provide that accountability (which is what the VOWO and other are trying to do) is step in the right direction, it ends up taking bloggers away from blogging and turns them into semi-professionals which is something completely different.

Finally, like it or not, all of us hockey bloggers are going to be in some way lumped in with Rumor Boy. You might notice that I barely give that clown the time of day and many of you may not know exactly who I am talking about. But the VOWO was applauding this AOL Fanhouse article (BTW, the VOWO also writes for AOL Fanhouse) earlier today. While that article is a great compilation of the various fiskings of Rumor Boy since he started spreading his garbage, I have to ask why bother? As noted in the article, the Professional Hockey Writers Association wants very little to do with him and is very likely to tear themselves apart if somebody ever decides to let him in. While he discredits the work of bloggers, attacking him only serves to give him more legitimacy which is something Ted is right about. If Rumor Boy is so bad and so wrong, ignore him. But when you make attempt after attempt after attempt to bring him down, you only drive the curiosity factor higher and higher which plays right into Rumor Boy's hands.

That my friends, is not what you want.

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