Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Talking Hockey Bloggers

from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,

Credentialed bloggers usually enjoy the same access as a newspaper or radio reporter on a game night: a seat in the press box, fresh popcorn and access to the teams’ dressing rooms for postgame interviews. They cover the game, pass information to their audience, and have done so for the last several years without many incidents of unprofessional behavior, despite approaching the coverage from a fan’s perspective.

Yet several prominent NHL franchises, including the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers, have strict “no blogger” policies in their arenas. They don’t see them as working journalists, and they certainly don’t see a need for them to have access to cramped locker rooms after the game.

On Monday, these teams emphatically voiced those concerns during an annual preseason conference call between NHL executives and team media-relations directors. Their issue: If my team doesn’t credential bloggers in its home arena, why should bloggers haves access to my team’s locker room on the road?

In essence, these teams wish to see bloggers become a second-class citizenry in the press box: Given a ‘B-grade’ credential that allows them on press row and in the home-team dressing room, but prohibits them from interacting with players from the visiting team if that team has a policy against alt-media access.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Bloggers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Hank1974's avatar

I don’t blame them.
Bloggers answer to noone. There’s no fear or threat of dismisal if they report something they shouldn’t.
In fact, if a blogger were to reveal something horrific about a player or team, he’d probably double his readership.

I enjoy some bloggers for their different look at the sport they’re covering. But a team has to protect themselves and their players. And bloggers are a dangerous breed because of the freedom they have to report or say whatever they want.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/26/10 at 02:20 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Bloggers answer to no one?  I’ve answered to an editor for my entire blogging career and I’ll do the same here.  There is a fear of threat or dismissal if we screw up for some of us.  And some of us also believe in being polite and acting like professionals though when we’re biased fans.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/26/10 at 04:41 PM ET

Avatar

I answer to George James Malik.

Posted by elvis from San Jose on 08/26/10 at 04:48 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Mr. Malik, you’re one of a few. You think Eklund answers to anyone? No.
And there are plenty like him that don’t.

It seems bloggers are far too sensitive but there’s a definite line between a good blogger and a bad.
Should every writer at BleacherReport get a front-row pass?

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/26/10 at 04:53 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

You think Eklund answers to anyone? No.

Eklund answers to people the same way newspapers answer to people.  Spew crap and get humiliated/ignored/go out of business.

There are several bloggers I trust more than newspapers or traditional media.  There are tons I don’t.  I understand that it’s easier to give a blanket “no” to all bloggers than to sift through all the crap to get to the actual qualified ones.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/26/10 at 05:02 PM ET

Avatar

“Eklund answers to people the same way newspapers answer to people.  Spew crap and get humiliated/ignored/go out of business.”

This hasn’t happened to him?

Posted by NathanBC on 08/26/10 at 05:08 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

There are several bloggers I trust more than newspapers or traditional media.  There are tons I don’t.  I understand that it’s easier to give a blanket “no” to all bloggers than to sift through all the crap to get to the actual qualified ones.

And that’s precisely the point I was making.

Not all of them will be held accountable or try to do their best to represent themselves in an honorable way (ie Malik).

So that’s why it’s much easier for the Oilers or Rangers to say ‘no bloggers’ than check each one out individually.

For every Malik, there’s an Eklund. While morons like Mitch Albom are credited journalists, at least you know their credentials.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/26/10 at 05:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

This hasn’t happened to him?

Posted by NathanBC on 08/26/10 at 03:08 PM ET

I marvel every day that there are people who pay for Eklund’s leads.  That confuses the shit out of me.  I still dont’ think I’ve ever come across a fan that takes him seriously.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/26/10 at 05:16 PM ET

Tony's avatar

It’s a tough issue, no doubt…

I know in the Pens’ viewpoint they’re going to credential a few bloggers, and while I have no idea who those people will be, I don’t see that causing a problem….

Speaking personally, it’s a moot point for me ‘cause I live so far away from Pittsburgh, but even if I did live close, I don’t think I’d aspire to get credentialed…. That’s not why I got into this racket, I did it initially with baseball/football/hockey ‘cause I’m a sports fanatic…. Then I whittled it down to hockey ‘cause I love the freedom to bitch and moan when I want to, brag when I want to, and objectively criticize when I want to….

I think the same applies for my buds at Pensblog, they don’t give a shit about credentials, they’re having too much fun….

That’s not to say I’ll NEVER go to a game with credentials, hell I might do it for the Winter Classic… And yeah, maybe I’ll get the chance to go into the locker rooms one time just for the hell of it…. But that would be the extent of it….

I like my gig just the way it is…

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 08/26/10 at 05:17 PM ET

VooX's avatar

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/26/10 at 12:20 PM ET

Utter nonsense.

Point 1:

I’ve answered to an editor for my entire blogging career and I’ll do the same here.  There is a fear of threat or dismissal if we screw up for some of us.
Posted by George James Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/26/10 at 02:41 PM ET

Point 2:

Eklund answers to people the same way newspapers answer to people.  Spew crap and get humiliated/ignored/go out of business.
There are several bloggers I trust more than newspapers or traditional media.  There are tons I don’t.
Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/26/10 at 03:02 PM ET

Point 3:

Speaking personally… I don’t think I’d aspire to get credentialed…. That’s not why I got into this racket, I did it initially with baseball/football/hockey ‘cause I’m a sports fanatic….
That’s not to say I’ll NEVER go to a game with credentials, hell I might do it for the Winter Classic… And yeah, maybe I’ll get the chance to go into the locker rooms one time just for the hell of it…. But that would be the extent of it….
I like my gig just the way it is…
Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 08/26/10 at 03:17 PM ET

Point 4:

If I’d wanted access, Paul would have gotten it for me.  Game 1 of the SCF in ‘08? Could have had access to that one too.  Oh. Fun.  Maybe I could have bumped into Ansar Khan, after ripping his ass for two straight years.  “Nice lead yesterday, Ansar. Well put.” “Why thank you, Bill.  Your blog is riveting.” PASS.  Instead, I got wasted in the nose bleeds again with Osrt.  Because I’m a fan, not a reporter, and I don’t…want…access.
by IwoCPO

Point 5:
Most bloggers don’t give a crap about access; unless they aspire to be journalists. 

Point 6:
All bloggers are accountable.  In some cases to their webmaster/editor; in all cases to their readers.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/26/10 at 06:14 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I completely understand that NHL teams are going to be selective and that bloggers have to establish themselves as professional over a LONG period of time—years, not weeks or months—and establish some sort of relationship with the team/be well known/etc…to some extent there’s always going to be a caste system for bloggers, and a few Professional Hockey Writers’ Association members like Eric McErlain have laid out some specifics as to what a blogger must do to be credentialed…

It’s just incredibly disappointing to know that the NHL is painting every blogger with the same brush.  Many bloggers who don’t answer to anyone would be happy to adhere to specific codes of conduct established by NHL teams to get their foot in the door over the long haul.

Mostly, it takes time to build up a reputation and to bend the ears of NHL teams and it would be at least helpful if the NHL worked toward some sort of basic set of guidelines for teams in terms of their blogger-credentialing policy. 

There’s nothing wrong with being extremely picky.  There’s something wrong with just saying, “All bloggers [insert anything here and use it as an excuse to never credential a blogger ever].”

Instead we’re dealing with World Hockey Summit-like position statements that don’t really go anywhere.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/26/10 at 06:18 PM ET

Tony's avatar

I don’t understand, what is “nonsense” to you ?

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 08/26/10 at 06:19 PM ET

Gabriel's avatar

What I find most interesting about this whole conversation is that there’s a basic assumption that all credentialed media outlets believe in responsible reporting.

The New York Post’s handling of Sean Avery’s lacerated spleen is a perfect example.

I’d trust what a hockey blogger says - even a biased one - more than I’d trust a sports journalist most days.  At least I know which one cares about the game.

Posted by Gabriel from San Diego, CA on 08/26/10 at 06:43 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Voox, you’re a perfect example. You throw around words like ‘bitches’ in every other syllable. Heck, one of the titles from your last articles reveals that Abdelkaeder got you aroused.

That’s fine for your readers. In fact, it gains you more popularity. Now do you think some teams want a blogger such as yourself in their dressing room?

You’ll counter by saying “I don’t want access!” and that’s fine. You’re one of the few.
But there are a lot of other bloggers that would and might toe the line until they got that power. Then it’s anyone’s game.

Anyone can blog. Not everyone can write for a major publication. They have to go through hoops and there’s far more accountability for credited journalists than in the blogosphere.
A perfect example is Bob MacKenzie. I’m sure he’d love to spout off about every rumor he was given by a competent NHL source. But he can’t. Because if he did, and 90% of that didn’t come true he’d be the laughing stock of the hockey world.
So he has to bite his tongue and get confirmation before reporting anything newsworthy.
But not bloggers. A blogger can spout off everything he wants with just a hair of evidence to support their claims. And if they’re wrong? Who cares. It’s just a blogger.

I understand why good bloggers such as Malik get angry. It’s no different when someone, who belongs to a group and is lumped into the same stereotypes of said group without getting a chance to prove people otherwise.
But unfortunately this is the world we live in.
While Malik gives top notch information and insight, we also have someone like yourself who swears, promotes drinking and has an unabashed homeristic view of his subject matter.

I’m not intending to give offense, but it’s that kind of disparity between bloggers that causes the issues we’re arguing about now.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/26/10 at 06:48 PM ET

VooX's avatar

I don’t understand, what is “nonsense” to you ?
Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 08/26/10 at 04:19 PM ET

I’ll break it down, further

Bloggers answer to noone. There’s no fear or threat of dismisal if they report something they shouldn’t.
In fact, if a blogger were to reveal something horrific about a player or team, he’d probably double his readership.

As JJ and Malik pointed out, bloggers are accountable.  To their readers, to their webmasters/editors, and as a person.

Thus, to me, Hank’s first point is nonsense.

I enjoy some bloggers for their different look at the sport they’re covering. But a team has to protect themselves and their players. And bloggers are a dangerous breed because of the freedom they have to report or say whatever they want.

This argument I disagree with for a couple of reasons. 

Nobody has to be “protected” from free speech.  It is not dangerous, nor will it ever be, when discussing sports. 

As a society, we’ve decided upon acceptable social, legal, and ethical limits to how much protection free speech should offer.  I will offer a very extreme example to illustrate the limitations of free speech in North America.

Socially, a blog may generate so few web hits for having garbage content that it cannot possibly make money from its activities.  The free market often crushes or ignores incompetence or undesireable elements.  Dwayne Klessel will eventually be out of business, too.

I could post a blog on how to build a pipe bomb.  That itself is legal. 

Socially, so few people would even visit such a blog as to make it a financial burden for me to sustain it.  I am wasting my own resources as I am earning no traffic to my site to gain compensation for my blog.

Also, my website may become a social target for those who deplore violent or unethical web content.  I may be subject to constant online attacks trying to hack or disable my website, because its content has violated the online community’s sense of ethics.  An actual example would be Nigerian scammers who are targeted by anti-scammers trying to waste the fraudster’s time and resources by baiting them with an enticing “victim” or bombarding their websites with bots to use up the scammer’s bandwidth.

Legally, we have limits on the protection of free speech.  While I can post information of how to build a pipe bomb on my blog, I cannot incite my readers to use the bomb to harm any person or group.  Legally, I will be liable for a bomber’s actions if I incited them to use my pipe bomb schematics to target anybody.

In Canada, we have a further limitation on free speech known as Hate Crime laws.  These would not apply to a blog which is hockey-based (not racial/ethnic) so I won’t discuss these laws further.

Ethically, there are limits to what is considered acceptable free speech.  Blogs which want to be taken seriously have to follow certain ethical standards set by the blogging community. 

In some cases these standards are less stringent than journalistic standards.  For instance, blogs can be very opinionated/crude while reporters cannot.  In some cases blogs set higher ethical standards than journalists follow.  My recent satire at A2Y of Mitch Albom falsifying a story is an example.

As well, as Malik pointed out, many blogs have editors/webmasters who monitor them.  If I, or the Chief, went completely off the rails, Paul would cut us off.  No more cool Kontrol Panel for us to post blogs here.

The same goes for my theoretical pipe bomb building blog.  If I was on a blog network which did not approve of my content, they would refuse to give my site any bandwidth and ask that I find another blog network to host it.

The same can be said for web-hosting companies.  If they don’t agree with the content/legality of my pipe bomb site, right or wrong, they have the right to refuse my business and deny me a server to host my blog.

So Tony, as I disagreed, rationally, with all of Hank’s points, I declared his post to be utter nonsense.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/26/10 at 06:49 PM ET

VooX's avatar

Voox, you’re a perfect example. You throw around words like ‘bitches’ in every other syllable. Heck, one of the titles from your last articles reveals that Abdelkaeder got you aroused.

That’s fine for your readers. In fact, it gains you more popularity. Now do you think some teams want a blogger such as yourself in their dressing room?

The readers of A2Y have their own jargon and ways of talking to each other that WE find acceptable.  No one else has to accept it.  If they don’t like being called a bitch, don’t read A2Y because we use it as a term of endearment.  And that is our right as a blogging community.

I think having met and talked with Jim Nill and Jim Devellano recently, they would both welcome another conversation.  Nill even gave me his phone number, in case I wanted to contact him.  I was a bit surprised to know he reads and enjoys A2Y, despite our lack of refinement.

Also, FYI, the title to my post “Abby Got Me Off, Man” was a subtle word play on Abdelkader’s nickname “Abby” and the name Abbie Hoffman, a political activist.  It was a little pun I made for my own enjoyment and I didn’t care if people picked up on the reference or not.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/26/10 at 06:54 PM ET

Avatar

Also, FYI, the title to my post “Abby Got Me Off, Man” was a subtle word play on Abdelkader’s nickname “Abby” and the name Abbie Hoffman, a political activist.  It was a little pun I made for my own enjoyment and I didn’t care if people picked up on the reference or not

thats deep man….ur my hero

Posted by prodigy on 08/26/10 at 07:19 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

I would never blog, chat, write or surf the web ever again if that meant the leafs would make the playoffs. That is strange that teams would have a “No Blog” policy. Blogs do nothing but help the league and its teams.


So Kuklas Korner is linked to a Detroit blog, abel to yzerman? Detroit fans you can have Bret Lebda back along with that horrendous contract. I couldn’t believe we signed him for that much. Usually I would like absorbing a player from a wining team. I don’t want all these new guys to get what I call “Mapleized”. Thats what I call when new players join a losing team. The players come from a winning team and have high hopes. After the a few months in Toronto they tend to loose some excitement. I think this next year should be different.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 10:30 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Again, you’re missing the point.
The point is bloggers like yourself Voox probably have another paying job that takes care of the bills. That makes you dangerous to some clubs.
They know that even if they got someone kicked off their ‘home residence’ (ie Kuklas) that they continue paying the bills through other means.

With a journalist, they know if they step out of line, they lose their lifeline to food, shelter and medicine. That’s a pretty powerful motivator to stay in line.

BTW, I like your site. I don’t mind the way you talk and enjoy your takes. I was simply pointing out the wide spectrum of blogger styles. And those wide styles might scare some clubs away.

The funny thing is, I enjoy bloggers takes on hockey a lot more than ‘credited’ journalists. The first 3 sites I visit every morning is here, Puck Daddy and Mlive/redwings.

I guess I’m one of the few that understand the concerns of some clubs.

P.S. Leafsfan_4life, teams aren’t preventing anyone from blogging about their clubs, they’re just not allowing them special access into the press box or locker rooms.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/26/10 at 11:17 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

Hank1974

I understand now. It seems they are not recognizing “bloggers” as an official part of journalism. Their inability to view blogging as credible is probably because they view the bloggers themselves as fans, not press. From my experience, there are not that many relevant blogs that cover all issues and all teams. I mean I was only referred to Kukla’s Korner only a few hours ago from a friend. Prior to that I read mostly Canadian blogs which are entirely in French. Not every blog is as mainstream as this one. From the looks of it, it seems Kuklas Korner is pretty legit!

The problem with allowing Blogging Journalist into the press box is this, how or when do you draw the line regarding who is a legit “blogging journalist” and who is not? How do you say “No” to the guy who has a small time website who gets maybe five hits daily? Im sure if KK sent a website representative that they would be viewed as legit. There is this Flames blog in French that probably gets a hand full of hits daily. Are you gonna allow the representative of that po dunk site in the box?

Newspapers and other paper based media venues are struggling more and more everyday. Internet Journalism like blogging is coming more and more popular everday. As this point in time one might view Newspapers and Magazines as the king of media. Within a decade or much less, Im sure internet press and paperless venues will take over.

Toronto’s main paper is financially struggling as well. They are converting to the internet more now than ever.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 11:49 PM ET

Leafsfan 4life's avatar

George Malik

I agree with your stance. The Media today is undergoing a great transformation. Newspapers are going out of business and printing less weekly issues. Internet Journalism is becoming the new Newspaper. The hesitation to allows these bloggers into the press box is wrong. The times are changing, bloggers are a head of the tide.

Posted by Leafsfan 4life from North America on 08/26/10 at 11:55 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Leafsfan_4life, I completely agree with you.
KuklasKorner is awesome. I love it! And like you, I mainly read blogs to get my hockey fix.
There are some excellent bloggers on this site (and others) who do a tremendous job covering the sport.
Like you said, I prefer their angle on the game over traditional newspaper drivel.

But the problem is for every great blogger there’s a bad one. And it’s a lot of work to sort through.
I still think the Oilers and Rangers should look into finding those good bloggers as they’re an excellent source for reaching out to fans.
Part of me believes neither club wants them because they know they’ll get torn to bits by some intelligent bloggers - the Rangers especially.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/27/10 at 10:42 AM ET

SENShobo's avatar

Just thought that it should be mentioned that Eklund has been credentialed by the NHL. He has the same access to conference call transcripts and League credentialed media documents that mainstream media do, and to (at the least) League operated events (he sat in front of me during the 2009 Draft). So he cannot be used as an example of a blogger that would not be credentialed.

Posted by SENShobo from Waterloo, ON on 08/27/10 at 03:15 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Just thought that it should be mentioned that Eklund has been credentialed by the NHL.

Posted by SENShobo from Waterloo, ON on 08/27/10 at 01:15 PM ET

Sonuvabitch…

angry

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/27/10 at 03:30 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Just because he’s been credentialed doesn’t mean he should be….

Who’s next, NHLSourcesSay and DallasDave ??

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 08/27/10 at 03:32 PM ET

SENShobo's avatar

I won’t say who should or should not be credentialed for NHL events, I only wanted to point out that a piece of the puzzle seemed to be missing. Not that the NHL advertises this particular individual’s credentials in any big way.

For every Malik, there’s an Eklund. [...]

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/26/10 at 03:08 PM ET

Posted by SENShobo from Waterloo, ON on 08/27/10 at 03:38 PM ET

Tony's avatar

It’s hardly a secret, partly because people see him, and partly because he boasts about it before every event….

The shame is that the fools that pay for his crap fund those trips, the airfare, the hotels, the rental cars, etc., etc..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 08/27/10 at 03:47 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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