Does Access Kill Blogging Creativity?

(Disclaimer: This is not us taking out an attack on Fanhouse again.)

Ever since sports blogs rose to prominence, around the point where hockey was coming back from the work stoppage, the debate over what sort of access hockey bloggers have has raged between MSMers, bloggers, fans of both forms of writing, and everyone else with an opinion.  The fact is, some blogs are going to get access and some aren’t.  Fanhouse and Puck Daddy and team-specific ones have that opportunity and should take it.

That said, Puck the Media is not one of those blogs that should have access.  We are not a blog that seeks to give you the latest breaking trade info, the scores from last night, or even tell you why the Red Wings are 0-2 and the Avalanche are 2-0.  We could, but we’d be just another in a cast of thousands doing so.

Frankly, we’re not as smart, funny, or as knowledgeable about the game itself to the point where we feel we could speak with any authority about it.  But we are getting a comm. arts degree at a liberal arts school and New Jersey, and we love the hell outta’ hockey, so we used those notions to create this site.  A lot of people love just the idea that Puck the Media exists, and honestly, if we didn’t run it, we’d beg the bejesus out of whoever did to let us help out.  That’s how much nerdy stuff like this gets us going.  That said, we shouldn’t have any access in terms of press passes, etc.

Some blogs should though.  But some blogs aren’t using them in a way we think is most informative.  Some have spent it obsessing over the Phoenix thing long after it’s over (Mirtle…), some have used it to spout inane trade rumors (Uh, not linking to it, you know who) and some… well some post interviews like the one Chris Botta did with Avalanche coach Joe Sacco a few days ago.

Chris Botta is a great guy, friend to the blogosphere in all cases, and a pretty darn good writer himself.  We’re real happy that he’s landed on his feet with Fanhouse, which includes the blogglomerate sponsoring the insanely terrific Islanders Point Blank, which was more fun to read than it was to watch an Islanders game last year.  But his interview with the Avalanche coach is one for the ages in how boring, paint-by-numbers and disappointing the questions are.  Some examples:

Were you aware that so many people picked you to finish last in the West?

That’s okay. If anything, we’ll use it as motivation. I can tell you there isn’t a single person here who thinks this is a last-place team. One of our biggest themes in our meetings is that we are going to surprise teams. I really believe it.

What do you hope to accomplish this week in practice before your seven-game road trip begins Thursday?

We’re spending a lot of time working on our play away from the puck. Especially with so many young players, we are a work in progress. There’s always teaching to be done.

…………..oh, I’m awake!  Sorry about that, ellipses.  The point is, this could be just as easily done (and probably is done) by someone like Adrian Dater, or another beat reporter or even an Avs’ blogger.  It really serves no place in a general NHL blog like Fanhouse.  As we’ve opined before, the folks are already finding the interviews from Kukla’s Korner, or maybe Illegal Curve.  That’s not debatable.  It’s the blogospheres job to avoid interminably boring stuff like this and go outside the coverage.  Otherwise, what’s the point of blogging at all?

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

4 Responses to Does Access Kill Blogging Creativity?

  1. But we are getting a comm. arts degree at a liberal arts school and New Jersey…

    …and this is the best job we’ll ever be able to find.

    /Science Major

  2. Dirk Hoag says:

    It’s interesting that you bring this up, because last night in Nashville we had a Social Media Club panel discussion that focused on the Predators fan base and how it connects online. I was part of the panel along with other Preds bloggers and the team’s VP of Marketing, and when the question of credentialed access came up, I was glad to praise the Preds as being very open to work with, but then noted that really, I don’t use the access that I have available very much.

    I think many bloggers see getting credentialed as a goal without necessarily thinking much about why they want it, and what they’ll do with it. If I sit on press row and clank away on my laptop throughout the game, and go grab some post-game quotes in the locker room, the end result is an AP-style game report that adds little to nothing that’s different from what you can get from your daily newspaper. What’s the point? I’d rather enjoy the game up in the stands, and do my analytical work afterwards.

    Now, I am toying with the idea of capturing analytical stuff in real-time to perhaps bring that into the post-game coach’s press conference, but I doubt if I’d ever use a press credential on an every-game basis.

  3. Chris Botta says:

    Reasonable. Fair, especially the stuff about me being a great guy.

    For background, I was assigned a story about the Lanche starting 2-0. Didn’t want to make a big whoop about it. Got Sacco on the phone. Thought he shed some light. Thought it worked best as a Q and A.

    I hear you. Probably won’t get me the Pulitzer. Thanks for the insight.

    Chris Botta

  4. Richard says:

    Good job on this story Steve.

    To Dirk’s point, it really depends on what you are looking for in the dressing room. If a blogger wants to focus on a player that hardly gets mentioned in the papers or ask the coach a question about a different type of issue than he generally gets questioned on, I think it could be different and work quite well.

    The problem usually lies in the fact that people who blog have jobs and write as a hobby. I cannot see a blogger attending 41 games a year, or even half that amount and writing stories that night. It just consumes too much time.

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