The Heater, a Rays blog hosted by the St. Pete Times has a post today referring to an ESPN.com chat hosted by Sean McAdam. The focus of the chat is which team will be better in 2010, The Tampa Bay Rays or the Florida Marlins.
The focus of the chat is not what caught our attention. Rather it was Marc Topkin’s use of an external link directing the reader to ESPN.com. [Ed. note: we feel as though this is not the first time, but we were unable to find other examples. At the very least this is a very rare practice]
Last week we attempted to lay out the differences between our blog, the mainstream media and other more professional blogs such as DRays Bay. Several people took the time to write in and ask why we did not address newspaper blogs.
Newspaper blogs such as The Heater and The Rays Report offer the newspapers a way to report the news in real-time for a society where most news is old news by the time the paper comes out in the morning. However, they are still subjected to many of the same limitations as the journalists that write for the newspaper, such as style and language. In the cases of The Heater and The Rays Report they really are just snippets of what is going on in and around the team as it happens. There is never any analysis of the news item and the commentary is kept to a minimum. Rather it is as they say, “Just the facts”.
Another factor that differentiates traditional blogs (sounds like an oxymoron) from newspaper blogs is the use of external links. Newspapers are a business and like any business they are afraid to send their customers to another location, even if that other location is not a direct competitor. We have long felt that this is the single biggest factor that is holding newspaper blogs back from being something more than just a source of news that comes directly from the team.
Without the freedom to use external links, a journalist is limited in the breadth of news they can report. It appears as though The St. Pete Times may be learning this lesson. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a regular habit for the writers at The Heater and whether or not the Tampa Tribune follows the St. Pete Times’ lead.