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Hey BYH, remember the blogger vs. journalist 'access' debate?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Almost_Famous, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    We had a good one about a year ago ... it was about how one of the reasons blogs would never amount to squat is because of 'access.' Not trying to be argumentative, just remember it was a spirited debate.
    I was poking around a BLOG!!, www.truehoop.com. Does good NBA work. He had an interview on there, and a sports journalist had this to say about access. Curious about your thoughts ... (i haven't been around here much, apologies if this has been posted ...)

    The reality is that access means less and less. They moved us off the floor this year -- all over the country. They really don't care anymore. I asked an NBA official, "Don't you want us to communicate the sights and sounds?" He said, "We can do that ourselves now." Access is limited and formulaic. There's so much on TV -- there will come a point where we won't have any more access than the fans. The business model of NBA TV and nba.com and NFL TV and nfl.com is to eliminate the middle man - we are the middle man - and to provide access directly to fans.

    Q. Is traditional print media going the way of the blacksmith?

    A. I think that's right. NBA TV came in last fall to cover the Nuggets training camp -- it was going live on-air from camp. Nuggets practices have been closed to reporters for nine years -- if I went to practice as a reporter I would sit outside the door until 15 minutes remained and they would let us in. If I stayed home and watched on NBA TV I could watch the whole thing -- fans had more access than reporters -- that's the way it's going. We will eventually be in the role of a blogger. We'll do analysis and commentary but in terms of information we won't have more.
  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    All well and good and I don't think I've ever denied access is getting cut everywhere.

    But if I'm going to spend time reading a newspaper article or a BLOG or whatever you have, then I want something beyond analysis and commentary. Anyone can do that. Even if writers are sitting in section 200, they still provide the post-game quotes and color that bloggers cannot.
  3. I've had this discussion with others before, and I think the transformation of newspapers is coming faster than many of us realize.

    Take sites like mlb.com and nba.com and nfl.com, which have "beat" writers for their teams. And also look at conferences like the Big Ten and SEC launching their own cable networks, as well as the NBA moving reporters away from the action and the NFL limiting access for local TV.

    I'm convinced - although it won't be for a while - that everything will change. First, we're going to get charged for pressbox seating and parking. This, of course, will force many small papers to give up big beat reporting and rely more on the wire, and it will hasten the day when a chain has one reporter for all of its papers (much like the Tennessean handling Titans coverage for all of the Gannett papers in the state).

    Then, TV folks won't be allowed to cover games because all of the games will be available on SEC TV or SEC 2 or SEC 3. And the SEC will send "gamers" to AP and newspaper across the country that are written by writers for secsports.com. The day will come.

    We already see many small and medium market papers become micro local, and that trend will continue even more when the major sports leagues have their own writers and TV folks handling everything. Places like nba.com will battle the Daily Humdinger for readership.

    Will any of this happen next week? Probably not. But the day is coming when "objective" journalists are harder and harder to find.

    Well, that's my take, rant over.
  4. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I think some of this is coming, but not as bad as a lot of people, including vandelay, think.

    I don't think the leagues will ever broadcast all of their own games because they make too much from the networks. Now, they'll cut off TV reporter access and try to turn all game broadcasts into PR, which most networks will go along with. But unless networks balk at the idea of reporting sports as news, then the leagues will be happy to take millions to let TV show their games. There are also legal issues around whether leagues can broadcast their own games, as some have pointed out the NFL might be violating antitrust laws by showing games on its own network.

    Also, the thing that newspapers offer that no one else does is that the information gets to readers in a print format. Now, maybe someday every team will put out a weekly report to fans that covers stuff, but right now the only daily news source that gets to sports fans without coming over a computer screen is newspaper and TV. You can't take the Internet into the bathroom. Until you can, Web reporters are limited. That said, I think this is something leagues and teams might overcome. Still, I think a lot of fans would still want an unbiased view at times. No one wants to read how well a team is doing when they suck. A team's publication wouldn't give the critical angles that I think a lot of readers want.

    Of course, the access to write those critical angles will be limited. Which doesn't mean they can't be done. You just have to go outside the organization. It just means reporters will have to work harder. Sometimes they won't get the story, but sometimes they will find a source they can use to report it.

    I could go on, but I just got papers and gotta check them.
  5. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I disagree. As Double Down perfectly put it recently, sports is the new politics: A lot of fans don't want to hear anything other than what they already think. They want their beliefs to be confirmed in what they read and watch, otherwise, they'll find something else to read and watch. So in that regard, the power of the official website will only grow and will continue to undercut the power and reach of traditional media.

    And on a minor tangent, your post reminds me there's two extreme types of fans whom traditional media can never satisfy: Those who are complete Joe Fans for their favorite team and believe the traditional media is too negative in covering their favorite team. And those who are complete Negative Nellies, believe the organization is comprised of idiots from top to bottom and believe the traditional media bootlicks the team.

    For the former group, the website is perfect because it confirms what these fans already know: That, with a bit of tweaking here and there, the team is a championship contender. And for the latter group, no amount of coverage will ever convince it that the local team doesn't suck, so those fans will continue to rant and rave on message boards and wait two hours for 35 seconds of airtime on the local sports talk station.

    So I do think BLOGS!!!! and such will continue to gain in popularity and further narrow the audience for the traditional media outlets, particularly the print ones.
  6. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

  7. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    My apologies A_F, I honestly missed it. I know Double Down wrote something like that as well.
  8. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I think the important thing to remember here is that I am awesome.
  9. Babs

    Babs Member

    Sure you can, on a Blackberry.
  10. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Active Member

    Are people who read in order to get their info the same people who watch tv to get their info?

    That's a question that has to be asked and analyzed.

    Because it they are different, it's just print vs. blogs, etc.
  11. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    The power of the official website is not to be dismissed, but the notion that fans are automatons that never want to hear anything critical of their team is largely overdone.
    Anybody ever checked a message board. The people there are far more critical, more often, than most newspaper folk -- even columnists. They're not wild about writers who are routinely negative, and some will overreact when a writer who isn't routinely negative writes something that is. But they do read, and they do react.
    Ever read the Friday letters column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette? Try telling somebody those people only want to hear the "good" about the Steelers.
  12. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    and wifi too, hell, i'm creating quite the 'blog' right now
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