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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fighting the Good Fight

Update at 12:40 AM Local Time (Oct. 20)

Quotes from Chris and Mike of Covered in Oil on the OilersNation comment area, who hit it ON THE SPOT:

Chris! Says:
October 19th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Interesting points. Lots to consider here, but two things jumped out at me off the bat:

“The Oilers have agreements in place that ensure certain rights holders get first crack at events as they unfold live. That’s what rights holders pay for. The Oilers are well within their rights to insist rules regarding no live blogging be followed.”

Oh man, are the Oilers ever going to be shocked when they wake up and realize it’s almost the year two thousand and nine and any dummy with a BlackBerry and ticket to the game can be curating a live-blog read by thousands in real time. In fact, why even pay to go to the game? Stay home and write it off TV. Bottom line is sports blog coverage gets read and read well. Trying to control the message is futile and pointless. From a business perspective, the goal should be to use emerging avenues to maximize brand exposure. How long until those rights holders realize they’re wasting their money on the current “access” model?

“This isn’t a case of two OilersNation writers getting favourable treatment in the form of press passes while other bloggers are denied the same courtesy. Gregor and I are accredited MSM guys who happen to contribute to a website.”

Dave was also an accredited MSM guy who happens to contribute to a website. What is the distinction you’re making here? This comes off as an old guard vs. new guard statement to me, but maybe I’m misunderstanding.


So what is the distinction, exactly?

Mike W Says:
October 19th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

As far as this specific incident goes, Berry is mistaken if he’s saying I’ve blogged live from Rexall Place.

He never did. Although he did suggest that other accredited media have used their access for exclusive content for blogs they were not accredited for. This includes you, despite the “majority” of your quotes coming from media scrums available online.

Gregor and I are accredited MSM guys who happen to contribute to a website.

So was David.

There are conventions and a code of professional conduct that members of the MSM are expected to adhere to, and they should apply to bloggers seeking access by way of credentials.

You don’t cheer in the press box. You don’t show up at the rink wearing an Oilers jersey—any jersey. You don’t try to take photos of players exiting the shower on your cell phone because your site is “Hunky Oil.”

None of this applies to David since he’s actually a accredited member of the media, and wasn’t wearing an Oilers jersey or taking nude photos.

You seem to be confusing this issue as blogger-wannabe-journalist, which is adorable, but it makes you sound like a grandparent who can’t set a VCR.

The issue is that the Oilers exercised a double-standard, still acted like jerks when David co-operated fully, and then back-peddled and actually offered his press pass back when they were caught making up their “live blog policy” up on the spot.

But yeah, thanks for the support.

Robin Brownlee is covering his own ass because he's getting preferential treatment as an established member of the "accepted MSM." In Sociology, this is identified as the gap between "legitimate means" and "illegitimate means" to achieve a goal, which are both equally as effective but are seperated by one which is accepted in society's norms and one that is unfamiliar, strange, or contrary to accepted norms.

Does it matter so much whether a quote or action is described before (now that would be special), during, or after the game? All bets are on the fact that ALL Oilers fans were watching or listening to the game that night, and not following via Live Blog. The MSM are not in any way threatened by blogs as an upcoming alternative to LIVE HOCKEY. To suggest otherwise would be plain stupidity. "A picture is worth a thousand words" and we can all appreciate that the live game of hockey is no comparison to some live blog description. The live blog is not there to compete with the big show - it's there to add personality, and to allow us to understand the game from someone else's perspective.

The goals of the MSM and the internet's "illegitimate" MSM, the so-called live blog are different and thus incomparable. The rights holders (SNW, CBC, 630 CHED) are in it for profit, whereas the bloggers have nothing to gain and everything to lose.


What Dave said, and what I think:
Lastly, I want to clarify something for the people who have encouraged me to keep fighting the good fight, or some variation thereof. Though I appreciate your sentiments, to me keeping on is fighting the wrong fight. I understand the issues related to bloggers, their value and their growing importance in the media world. As Matt at BoA (here) so eloquently put it, though, that's not the drum I'm interested in beating. I respect the fact that the Oilers are a private organization who are free to issue their press passes to whoever they see fit. While I'm disappointed with their stance on bloggers, I also respect the fact that I violated their rules, even if I wasn't the only one to do it. What I don't respect is the fact that I was treated as someone acting maliciously or underhandedly; as I explained in an e-mail to the person I dealt with, I would have hoped the fact I was nothing but apologetic and cooperative was some indication of good will on my part. Naivete may not be an excuse, but it's an explanation, and at no point did it seem to me like the organization was interested in hearing even that. You're free to disagree with me all you want on this, but I feel a pretty good measure of character is how you act when you're in a position of power, and to me they acted with irrationality and pettiness; had they reacted with even a hint of either magnanimity or grace, I would have had no problem, even if their final decision was to revoke the pass.

- Taken from CiO
He's right about one thing: it's not about getting retribution or fighting the system or anything silly or revolutionary. It's about fairness in action; in policy; in countenance - I think this is the least any human being can expect from another human being.

Sports bloggers everywhere are talking about what happened to Dave Berry from CiO. Hockey fans from far away as Pittsburgh, Washington, L.A., and Tampa Bay have picked up on the story. This only further reveals the hypocrisy of the action of the Rexall "GestapOil" employee(s) who were involved and/or called the shots on Dave. Some non-hockey blogs have even picked it up.

To reiterate: this is not a call-to-arms; this is not a bunch of disgruntled bloggers yearning for a fight against our team (God no, anybody who would suggest it would be nuts). No, this is asking for what is fair for someone who has worked hard for what he has achieved and didn't deserve what he got instead.

And remember Oilers' bloggers, you could be next.

Here are some links to further coverage of the story I fished off other blogs:

Hot Oil - I don't want the press pass and other musings - here - and here
Jean Shorts and Bagged Milk - here and here
Oilblobosphere - here
AOL Sports - NHL Fanbase - here
Deadspin - The Edmonton Oilers Will Not Tolerate Your Live-Blogging Shenanigans - here
Yahoo Sports - Puck Daddy - here
The Blueland Chronicle -Oilers Brass are Petty Bureaucratic Tyrants - here
Edmonton Journal - David Staples: Cult of Hockey - here
On Frozen Blog - Caps and Oilers More Than A Conference Apart - here
Barry Melrose Rocks - here
Black Dog Hates Skunks - A High School Party Game - here
Pension Plan Puppets - Rallying the Base - here
Five Hole Fanatics - All class, all the time - here
Sabretooth's House - Covered in Controversy - here
Out Of Left Field - Covered In Oil embargo: The screwballs have spoken - here
Still No Name - Because sports blogging is serious business - here
The Program - This one hits hard... - here
Here Come the Bruins! - Oilers: "Fans are just not that important to us." - here

This quote is taken from Covered in Oil and I think is the shortest, most concise representation about why fans are offended and why bloggers are essential to small-market teams like our Edmonton Oilers:
Blogger Cliffster said...

For some reason, I'm not all that surprised given the NHL's ineptitude when it comes to connecting with it's fans. The reality is that bloggers reflect the views of the fans for the most part, and don't churn out the same mundane articles that we get from MSM. Good on you for keeping the blog rolling.

Cliffster is right about one thing: sponsored articles are usually mundane, unchallenging and are not accountable to fans. Bloggers usually get the short end of the stick because most of them are anonymous. But nonetheless, we are more or less accountable to each other and to the teams we love: not out of duty, but out of respect. Respect should be mutual.

And one more thing, WE ARE the MSM.

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