Sunday, December 19, 2010

Press Credentials

Should bloggers have the same access to press credentials that trained, professional journalists have? Some would say outright no. Journalists spent the time and money to go to school, to learn how to write and report ethically and therefore, these people are entitled to press credentials. I would agree. Those who want to be professional should gain education. However, we cannot ignore the fact that some great sports writers are bloggers. They may have a bigger following than journalists. Some magazines are even including blogs or links on their sites. 

So what would cause someone who is a blogger to have their press credentials revoked? In this article Chris Botta had his press credentials taken away after criticizing a team. The team, the New York Islanders, paid for his first year. "We funded his blog for the first year. When that changed he went from reporting the news to making the news'' says Kimber Auerbach, the team's spokesperson. Maybe funding the blog was a conflict of interest. It did not permit Botta to clearly speak his mind. So does sponsorship by a team equal censorship by the blogger? Maybe so. 

Scott Rabb is dealing with a similar issue. After reporting negatively about LeBron James he was denied press credentials. Do these bloggers write derogatory comments about players that have nothing to do with their performances or do they report the game and team officials get upset? It could be a little of both. This means a sports blogger has to be careful about what he says about players and teams. If he or she can back up the words with statistics it would be difficult for a team official to get upset. However, making up things damages credibility and makes it that much more difficult for genuine writers to get press credentials. Maybe if someone wants to get into writing about sports they should pick up a sports journalism book. 

One article discusses what may be used in deciding whether or not a sports blogger gets in. One important thing to consider is the reason a sports blogger may want press credentials. The article points out the appeal of distance. One reason sports bloggers want distance is so they can comment objectively. Of course, you cannot remove personal preference. I am sure even news reporters have their preferences when interviewing politicians. Loyalty to teams runs deeper than that. Another is the thing to consider is size of his or her presence. Does he or she have faithful readers? Because they cannot grant everyone’s wishes they must choose carefully. Could it be that some popular writers insult the wrong player and the team may think the blog will lose readers? This is a possibility.

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