At least according to this guy, there is a league-wide policy against granting press credentials to independent online media (i.e., anything whose domain name doesn’t include a TV network or print publication’s name). Again, this guy doesn’t provide the best sourcing, but it may mean that the blog-o-sphere is being shut out not by Rob Butcher and the Reds, but by the evil geniuses over at MLB Advanced Media.

I still think this is a problem that will be solved, eventually. Maybe it won’t be in the form of the traditional “press pass,” granting access to the clubhouse, dugout, field, and press box, but I think teams will soon reach some sort of accommodation with new media. Maybe a “blogger’s day,” where reputable bloggers get a chance to interview players, or a regular online round-table with front office staffers.

For the reasons why, and some ideas for how, take a look at this great article, which talks about TV producers who have recognized the tremendous power of bloggers.

Top link thanks to

14 Responses

  1. Ken

    I think baseball will eventually get it right. Of the three major professional sports, MLB has embraced “new media” the quickest and most effectively. MLB has better web sites with more content, it signed onto satellite radio early, and it developped online broadcasting (radio and video) first. Even though it can’t directly share in the revenue stream, MLB will realize that indepedent blogs help fans, especially out of town fans, to follow their teams (this is certainly true for me). Which of course helps the ultimate bottom line.

    Invariably some teams will be more accomodating to blogs than others. Let’s hope that the Reds will be among those “new media”-saavy organizations.

  2. Chad

    Much like conventional wisdom dispensed from the brilliant minds who run baseball, this is a policy that Billy Beane ignores. Athletics Nation is given access.

    The difficulty for MLB, and it’s completely understandable, is how blogs are differentiated from each other. Some are run very professionally; others not so much. That’s why MLB is going to be slow to recognize the medium.

    Of course, Chris is right. MLB would do well to grant some sort of access, whatever that means. Heck, an occasional conference call with bloggers would go far in reaching out to new media.

    For what it’s worth, the Dayton Dragons had no problem with granting Redleg Nation media credentials. We’ll be requesting the same for other Reds affiliates later in the season.

  3. Chad

    One other thing I should mention.

    I also write a Virginia political blog (I’ve never mentioned it here because this is a politics-free zone; this is Reds country). Anyway, statewide politicians have become very blog-friendly in Virginia.

    The Attorney General of our state (who will be running for Governor in the next cycle) has given a live interview with me on my blog. The Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General have regular conference calls with bloggers from every end of the political spectrum.

    One of Virginia’s United States Senators (who is also running for US President in 2008) has been trying for weeks to set up an exclusive interview with my blog. I’m given press credentials to anything that happens in Virginia, if I request them.

    I mention all this only to show that reputable blogs are being accepted in many other areas. Baseball will come along, eventually.

    If blogs like Redleg Nation and some of the other fine Reds-focused blogs continue to hammer away each day, producing quality content, access will be granted eventually. The great part about it is that none of the contributors here at RN got into blogging in order to get access. Our feelings won’t be hurt if we don’t get it. But it’d be nice, and it’d help us cover the Reds for you guys.

  4. Brian B.

    Hmm, I like blogs and everything, but granting any kind of official credential to bloggers is borderline insane. Any idiot can blog, and it shows. Not that newspaper beat writers aren’t idiots too, but at least MLB can hold their employers legally accountable for abuse of their credentials.

  5. Chad

    Read the linked posts, Brian. They talk about some sort of screening process, not just giving credentials to every nut in his basement writing about baseball.

    Is Billy Beane insane for granting official credentials to an A’s blogger?

  6. Brian B.

    One other thing . . . Chad, do you really think your Virginia politicians give you the time of day because they’ve accepted you as a hard-working American blogger? They oblige because they want good pubicity, and yours is free. Baseball is completely different.

  7. Chad

    I agree they are different situations, but I think you are missing my point. Are you telling me that baseball doesn’t want good publicity, especially free publicity? If you believe that, you’re being naive.

    And yes, they give me the time of day because they’ve accepted me…of course, I’m an elected official myself (a District Attorney), so I have some credibility. But that’s not the point. Credible, quality bloggers have been getting access in many other areas; baseball is slow to recognize the new media revolution, but they will eventually.

  8. Brian B.

    Chad, no I don’t think baseball wants that. I think you’re confusing free publicity with kissing someone’s ass to get free good publicity. This is the same MLB that had a problem with other organizations running fantasy baseball sites without MLB getting a cut.

    baseball is slow to recognize the new media revolution

    I think you’re giving yourselves way too much credit. Having an opinion and a website doesn’t make you a journalist any more than owning an oven and some flour makes you a chef. But that’s beside the point.

    It still comes down to accountability, like I said before. You mentioned the screening process, but nothing in those linked articles addresses the accountability issue. If Marc Lancaster ditches the Post to run his blog full time, no one is going to argue that he’s not just some wacko off the street. But who is the larger entity who is ultimately accountable for what Marc does with his official press credential? That is why MLB would not extend Marc a press pass. It has nothing to do with his credibility as a person.

    (no idea what this is going to look like when I submit, since we can only read four lines at a time)

  9. Ken

    Brian, I don’t see why a blogger needs to be associated with a mainstream media entity to have accountability. If Marc Lancaster pulls a Jayson Blair or otherwise fails to act within the standards of his profession, the Reds revoke his pass. It doesn’t matter whether he’s writing for the Post or if he decided to ditch the Post and blog independently. Either way, he’s discredited and won’t be getting a press pass any time soon.

    But, I do think that bloggers can’t remain anonymous if they seek press passes because you can only hold those accountable that you can identify. Chad, do you identify yourself on your VA blog? And just for my curiosity, do you think there is a potential conflict of interest in serving as an elected official and as a blogger-journalist? To put it in this context, I would be less inclined to trust a blog operated by a Reds employee than an indepedent blog.

  10. Chad

    Yes, I do identify myself on my Virginia blog. And I don’t think there is any conflict of interest. I never blog about anything related to my position as a DA. I just comment on politics, so I’m not sure how there could be a conflict of interest.

    And, Ken, you’ve made precisely the point I would have made if I weren’t so dense. Brian is ignoring the fact that MSM outlets have problems with credibility, too. If a blogger has a long history of quality writing about a team, I’m not sure how he’s any less credible than an opinion columnist for a newspaper. If the blogger gets out of line, his press pass should get jerked. If a journalist does the same, his press pass gets jerked. I’m not sure why you think there’s any more accountability just because they work for a paper.

    Is it because they have an editor? So did Jayson Blair, and countless other reporters who just flat made stuff up. If I say something completely wrong here, I’ll be called on it by you guys, and other baseball bloggers. Just because there isn’t an editor hovering over my shoulder doesn’t mean that there isn’t a process for correction in the blogosphere.

    Also, guys like Blair get fired if they screw up. When bloggers begin making stuff up and saying crazy nonsense, people quit coming to their blog.

    The point is, the best bloggers have a body of work that’s online for a team to see, to help determine whether said blogger has any credibility.

  11. Chad

    And Brian, I think you’re confusing the issue. We don’t claim to be journalists (though we do some original reporting; wait until you see the interview we will be publishing later this week); rather, we’re more closely correlated to opinion columnists. We comment on the news, we don’t (usually) report it.

    But opinion columnists get access.

  12. Brian B.

    Once again, I’m not talkig about credibility. I’m talking about accountability.

    Ken: It doesn’t matter whether he’s writing for the Post or if he decided to ditch the Post and blog independently. Either way, he’s discredited and won’t be getting a press pass any time soon.

    Ah, but it does matter significantly to the Post if one of their reporters abuses his credential. I’ve tried to make a distinction between accountability and creditbility, but I guess it’s not coming across. If Lancaster’s credentials are revoked, it reflects poorly on the Post. Marc’s employer is accountable. This is why MLB issues credentials to people who have accountabiity, and not just fans who say they are running legitimate blogs.

  13. Ken

    A fair point. For that and other reasons, bloggers aren’t going to have the same level of access as beat writers in the near future. But a large part of the blogosphere’s perceived lack of accountability is due to their nascency and small audience size. The Post, as a relatively large, well-established institution, certainly has much to lose if their beat writer abuses the privileges of his press pass and has it revoked. This isn’t true for blogs – for now. But as they grow their audiences and become more established members of the media landscape, it will be. This isn’t to say that blogs will overtake traditional media, but I do think that in time they will become less of a niche and more of an established component of the mainstream media.

  14. Chad Gramling

    Like many other bloggers, I was turned down by I expected to be turned down. Bloggers get a bad wrap because within a matter of minutes, I can pull together a blog and all of the sudden — you’re a blogger. It poses a threat to the traditional media types. MLB has to appease them. Blogs are still in their infancy and new technology emerges seemingly on a daily basis. I think the best way to handle this is to work your a$$ off building a quility and respected blog with a solid following. If you do that, one day you will get that press pass.