Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Times Tackles Caps Blogging

The Washington Times today reported on the growth in Caps bloggers and while this blog was overlooked (The fact that I refuse to step into the press box being chief among them, so I can't meet the beat writers) Tim Lemke (who isn't the beat writer BTW) did bring up a point that has been gnawing at me for awhille.

And that is a problem that came up last spring when Ted hired local bloggers to come and work for him and cover the World Championships in Moscow. While me complaining about this may seem like sour grapes, the fact of the matter is, it does create a conflict of interest and I'm glad Lemke pointed it out.

While the guys at OFB who benefitted from Ted's generosity are entitled to decline comment, I do believe Ted is off when he tries to downplay concerns about conflict of interest. First of all just because you don't tell bloggers what to write doesn't mean that they don't on some level feel a need to show a certain respect to somebody who did them a huge favor. Secondly, as I said when the issue of bloggers in the press box first came up, if bloggers want to be treated as mainstream journalists then they needed to conduct themselves as mainstream journalists. The simple fact that nobody from the Times, (Com)Post, or NBC would even consider accepting an offer that the OFB guys got because of journalistic integrity means that there is a problem with the offer in the first place.

Now don't get upset at me, I'm not the one who wants to be in the Caps press box. I've said over and over I don't understand why a blogger would want to act like a mainstream journalist in the first place. The Venerable Off Wing Opinion has attempted to come up with a certification program for bloggers seeking to gain access to press boxes. All this does in my opinion is make bloggers more like professional journalists. And if a blogger wants to turn himself into a professional journalist; that's fine with me as long as you stop trying to be a blogger when it suits your purposes and a professional journalist when it suits your purposes. Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, is dead wrong when he says transparency is key. So what if bloggers are totally transparent? The fact that they do not act like mainstream journalists is what keeps all bloggers down and their reputation in the dumpster, at least when it comes to public opinion.

Maybe public opinion of bloggers will turn around, but it won't come anytime soon. In an attempt to provide more clarity, Ted provides further remarks however Ted still misses the point. While the MSM (especially dead tree publications) may be bleeding $$$$$ and cutting staff left and right because ratings and circulation are down; they're STILL a large player in setting public opinion and getting the word out in general. Bloggers have yet to reach that level of influence and won't be getting there anytime in the near future, if ever. Antagonizing the MSM is not a good idea as Ted learned when Steve Czaban embarrassed him. (just consider WTEM as already taking your new advice to reach out to niche audiences instead of the old method of trying to be all things to all people)

Finally, I'd like to point out to Ted that at one point in time, I was recommended reading according to him. Now, I'm not. Why is that Ted? You say today that you can take the heat and yet I'm no longer listed on your blog's listing. It can't simply be because I have few readers. Peerless Prognosticator has a larger audience but has been critical of you in the past like I've been and you don't link to him either. You directly told me once I did a great job, while I've been busier in the past few months than before and I admit the quality here has slipped, it still doesn't explain the freeze out.

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