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Cocaine - More Thoughts about Blogging

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There have been several recent articles again about blogs, blogging, bloggers, and various perceptions of such. One article really struck home with me which is titled Blogs Are Fine With Me, by Detroit Red Wings beat writer Bruce MacLeod. It seems that Bruce has an addiction problem and considers himself to be a "blogaholic". I must admit that I share many of the same symptoms that Bruce describes! Most importantly though, Bruce is a professional journalist who "gets it" about blogs. Here are a few lines from some excerpts from his article.

My name is Bruce. And I too am a blogaholic. I prefer to not give you my last name because frankly, I'm afraid of the ridicule. Many of my media brethren look down upon those of us who like to take a quick swig of blog right after dinner or mix a little blogs in with our morning coffee as a morning pick-me-up. I started reading blogs a couple of years ago and it's gotten to the point that I can't remember the last day that I made it through without tasting at least one blog.

and best of all...

Personally, I read blogs daily. There's lots of good stuff there and lots of garbage, kind of like movies or TV shows or newspapers. The vast majority of blogs are done by people who aren't beat writers or in the media or journalists. I'm not sure why journalists feel the need to inform the world of this. I know it. My friends who aren't journalists know it. It's pretty obvious and it's an unreadable blog if someone is passing themselves off as something they are not. Blogs are a collection house of information and links to primary sources. Nothing wrong with that, in fact that allows me to get more done with my time on the Internet than if I never read blogs. And blogs do offer commentary and that's a good thing too. I've read dozens of newspaper columns this year about the Red Wings from columnists who haven't been to many -- if any -- of the games. I'm not sure what the difference is. Journalists slamming bloggers is actually a variation of the slam that journalists loath … athletes slamming journalists.

As I mentioned, this guy really gets it. Another article published by Gare Joyce, a writer of the Christian Science Monitor, (of all publications), talks about the Capitals and their progressive way of handling credentialing bloggers. It seems that Caps owner, Ted Leonsis not only embraces bloggers in the press-box, but also paid $40,000 to send 4 selected bloggers to Europe to cover the Caps prospects in the World Championships last year. Mr. Peter Karmanos, if you ever need a Canes blogger to do the same, please allow me to be the first to volunteer my services!

Blogger deity and professional journalist James Mirtle weighed in again with his opinion, which is in favor of credentialing certain bloggers. It seems that Anaheim General Manager Brian Burke was recently asked about bloggers, and this is what he had to say:

With a journalist, I know they’ve had some training. I know there will be a fact checker and an editor to keep them accountable. I will know what to expect from [journalists] because if they take a bribe or report false information, they’ll get fired. With bloggers, there’s no safeguard and no guarantees.

Well, first of all let me say that I can go to some professional journalist's work right now and show some inaccuracies in what they write, starting right at NHL.com who have writers that continually misname Justin Williams as "Jason", and call Rod Brind'Amour as "Rob". These are minor mistakes, but they annoy players and it seems like these mistakes would be basic, simple facts that professional writers should get correct. As far as accountability goes, can't press credentials be taken away? It seems to me that if a blogger with credentials ever screws up, they could have the credentials taken away at anytime, which would equal being fired.

I often hear the argument that journalists need to be objective, and bloggers would have a difficult time with that. So, are all beat writers objective? What about Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News who actually was making up negative information about the Canes during the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006? Perhaps he didn't come right out and lie, but he was far from being objective when he called the Canes "divers" and worse. Many Caniacs will remember acclaimed writer Mitch Albom who wrote for the Detroit Free Press back during the 2002 finals. Mitch quite "objectively" wrote that people from Raleigh were "hillbillies", "knew nothing about hockey", "didn't deserve a hockey team" and made constant references to rednecks and Mayberry. Most bloggers that I know could only hope to be so "objective".

I have also heard that legitimate bloggers need to use their real name, and not a nickname or the like. Love him or hate him, the blogger with the number one site for hits and traffic prides himself by being known as the "anonymous hockey blogger". The devil who calls himself "Eklund" not only has press credentials, he's literally embraced by the Flyers, NHL.com, XM radio, and does several radio station interviews weekly. If we don't want to look at Eklund because of his content, how about "The Prince of Pucks" or Spector, who not only has legitimate credentials, but also has a nice paying gig with Fox Sports! I could go on and on and list professional writers who use names other than their given birth names.

As I have mentioned before, as much as some people would like to put certain rules or stipulations on bloggers or blogging, there are exceptions to every rule. It all comes down to personal choice, and what happens to work for each individual. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way, especially when one is working on their own. As far as earning credentials, I think that should be up to each team and individual blogger. Most of the Canes Country guests who participated in the "Take Ten" interviews didn't seem to have a problem with credentialing some bloggers, within certain guidelines. As James Mirtle pointed out, team executives will be examining this evolution more closely in the future, and one by one, bloggers who want and work for it will eventually be given more responsibilities and privileges.

There's a big game against the Flyers tonight and we will have a pre-game posting as usual at about lunchtime. In the meantime, listen to the Cocaine version of "Go Canes!"

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Go Canes
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