Will They Do It Too?

Continuing the discussion on bloggers and press access, Tom Benjamin asks: “Why do bloggers want the access?

Some attempt to answer that question in his comment section.

Eric McErlain posts his answer on Off Wing.

I think the NHL should open themselves up to the bloggers out there, but I also wonder: can they open themselves up to… themselves?

Aside from the awful grammar of that question, I’d like to point you to a page from mlb.com that contains a key sentence found on many pages there:

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Go.  Look.  It’s really there.

A quick look at nfl.com and nba.com don’t show a similar statement, but there are rumors and criticisms posted on the actual leagues’ websites.

nhl.com has none of that unless it’s slipped into one of the AP stories that the site carries.  It doesn’t make the site worthless, there are some very good background and historical pieces on there, but it can feel like something’s missing.  I’m not saying the NHL should actively look to post criticism and/or rumors, it’s just that you don’t really see it without an AP byline.

To get a better idea if there’s a true leash or not, I asked Paul Kukla, who also writes for nhl.com, if there’s a leash on his content.  His response was a reassuring, “the NHL has not told me what I should or should not write and there is no content editing being done.”

Paul, as many blog readers know, has a very positive outlook on the game and the league (a bizzaro Tom?).  It must be at least one of the reasons nhl.com asked him to start contributing (not taking away anything from his passion, which is matched by few).

But the league has little to worry about when it comes to Paul sending in his latest piece and not until blogger access is attempted will we see how open the league and its teams are willing to become.  I don’t expect a shower of criticism, especially at first when many may be basking in the glow of a press pass, but there will come a time when certain in-game and off-the-ice events draw the ire of the blogosphere, and what then?

Giving bloggers access instead of having their own unfiltered online press does create a buffer for the league.  A way for the league to say “they’re not really with us” when things go bad, and highlight the posts when things are good.  That leads to these questions: Who’s the next Kukla?  Is the NHL considering comments for their nhl.com blogs? (I know they’re making their own myspace-like system)  If they go ahead with blogger access, will there be external linking? (a TIB-like feedreader?)

All these questions might be able to be answered by this one: Is the NHL willing to take some heat from its fans to show how many fans it has?

Posted by David M Singer on Sep 05, 2006 at 07:13 PM
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