Easy Mark: The Elephant in the Locker Room

It’s about time someone mentioned the elephant in the room– the locker room. A professional sports locker room has limited space. Does it have room for bloggers? Here’s one media mogul who says no:

Newspaper blogging is probably the worst marketing and branding move a newspaper can make. The barriers to entry for bloggers are non existent. There are no editorial standards. There are no accuracy standards. …  Historically newspapers have set some level of standards that they strived to adhere to. By taking on the branding, standard and posting habits of the blogosphere, newspapers have worked their way down to the least common demoninator of publishing in what appears to be an effort to troll for page views.

And he should know. Ellipsesed out above: “We bloggers can and do write whatever we damn well please.” The author of that statement is a blogger. He is Mark Cuban, and he owns the NBA team (the Mavericks) shutting out the bloggers. Or rather, he is shutting out a single blogger, Tim McMahon, writing for the hometown Morning News. It’s not as if hordes of bloggers are pounding down the doors.

My, my, he has all the indignation of the Governor of New York busting a prostitution ring! The rank hypocrisy as much the blogosphere has grasped (I found this via a chance glance at the Wikinomics blog; the press as well), and I suppose that they are poking around for some contradiction. Well, here it is; here is the same Mark Cuban, who after the blogger storm on CNN’s Eason Jordan, wrote, in his “pound of flesh” blog post:

Fortunately, there is a way to deal with the paparazzi. There is also a way for the gatekeepers to deal with the bloggers. A simple way.

Recognize them. Give them respect. Celebrities can’t keep photographers out of their bushes no matter how hard they try. The gatekeepers won’t be able to keep the bloggers out either. Instead they should invite them in. 

Not 1. Not 2. But several from both sides. Bring in the more popular blogs that like you, and the same number of those that don’t. Give them as much access as you give the NY Times, Wash Post. Don’t muzzle them, let them write.

I guess the lesson in life is that having a billion dollars means being able to have it both ways.

As for me, I’m not a billionaire, so I have to settle for just having opinions. I tend to agree with Cuban’s latter sentiment in that I general fail to see what a blog adds to a reporter/columnist, and the unpolished blog form is often redundant when it’s on the same page (figuratively) as polished news and it may just be a gimmick. But it’s still immensely foolish as it is to ban someone from the lockerroom because they call themselves a blogger. If a cutoff is needed, I’d suggest one based on the old standby, circulation.

And Cuban’s effront will have the opposite effect that he desires: more journalists will form solidarity with the “bloggers,” an exceedingly varied group of folks.

Friday afternoon: the by feliduca

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