There has been a bit of a stink over Mark Cuban’s decision to ban bloggers from the Dallas Mavericks locker room. His explanation is here, and it’s completely reasonable; I don’t disagree at all with his perspective. What interested me most, however, was this comment:
Our interview room is open to bloggers. We take interview requests from bloggers. I’m a fan of getting as much coverage as possible for the Mavs. What I’m not a fan of is major media companies throwing their weight around thinking they should be treated differently.
I’m impressed that an NBA organization permits bloggers into the interview room after games. That’s a remarkably progressive attitude toward “new media;” I’m not sure if any other NBA teams have a similar policy; in the NHL, the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, at least, are open to the idea. The New York Islanders, as well, have been very receptive, opening a “Blog Box” for Islander bloggers:
Chris Botta, vice president of media relations for the Islanders: “What we determined is the blogosphere can no longer be ignored. We believe it is a significant new avenue to grow the popularity not just of the Islanders, but of the game of hockey.”
Here at Redleg Nation, we’ve discussed Major League Baseball’s disdain for blogs, and the Reds have expressly denied press credentials for Redleg Nation in the past. (Frankly, that’s not such a big deal to us; what we do here doesn’t depend on getting access. We tried to get credentialed to attend owner Bob Castellini’s first press conference, just to see what the response would be from the Reds.) The Dayton Dragons, on the other hand, one of Cincinnati’s Class A affiliates, has been very willing to grant press passes to RN on several occasions, including this game.
Certainly folks in the mainstream media largely have little affection for blogs (if you don’t believe me, read this, where the Philadelphia Daily News’ Bill Conlin said this: “The only positive thing I can think of about HitlerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time on earthÃ¢â‚¬â€œIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers.”). I don’t know where all this is going, but I’m glad to see movement in the right direction in other professional sports (heck, even the White House has credentialed a blogger).
At some point, citizen media is going to become too influential for MLB to ignore it any longer. Why can’t MLB, or individual teams, develop some guidelines for issuing press credentials to bloggers like these that were developed by the Washington Capitals? I don’t think any of those guidelines are unreasonable in any way.
Now, all that said, I’m not particularly interested in gaining press credentials for myself or for Redleg Nation. Again, we don’t need credentials to do what we do here (although it would help, in limited instances, to expand our coverage of the Reds). I am, however, interested in seeing where this whole debate goes. It’s time for MLB to recognize the trend and hop on board.
Since I plan on going to Opening Day anyway, perhaps I will request credentials for that game, just to see how quickly I’m denied. Either way, what are your thoughts on this subject?