Rays Renegade wrote a piece wondering why bloggers do not receive any respect from the teams and leagues they write about. Rays Renegade is attempting to get credentialed by a “major league team”.
I wondered why there were not more credentialed bloggers with established sites or even talented new bloods with fresh outlooks in attendance. Now I am currently trying to find a way to get credentialed by a major league team, and I do have a journalism background, and at least 4 years in the industry, but I am also a blogger, and that has put me at a disadvantage…And with this fact comes the question, If I am qualified and able to produce a good article, or even submit a entry to get out another aspect of the team without bias or prejudice, shouldn’t I have the opportunity to showcase my talents too ?
This piece was later commented on by Ted Fleming at Examiner.com.
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally, so the saying goes, and any blogger is capable of writing a tremendous piece, however, for every great article there are hundreds that would tear it down because we are in this know-it-all age with no checks and balances. Opinions are like rear-ends, everybody has one, so who is going to regulate the good from the mean spirited or simply the unqualified?
Simple. The readers will regulate the blogs, just as they ultimately do in mainstream journalism.
If a blogger is a crappy writer or just mean-spirited for no reason or writes rumors that turn out to be false, the readers will eventually know. And when they find out, the blog and the blogger lose credibility. And when they lose credibility, they lose their audience.
In the end, doesn’t it make more sense that it is the readers that decide what is “qualified” and what is not? So who cares if a blogger writes a piece of crap or posts a false rumor? If they do, they will be gone tomorrow. To think otherwise is to underestimate the intelligence of the masses.
As for access. It is a matter of trust. A professional journalist has been vetted by the organization they represent. Marc Topkin did not just walk out of school with a journalism degree and into the Rays’ clubhouse. After years in the industry, the St. Pete Times deems Topkin worthy of covering the Rays.
Being presented by a journalistic entity gives the journalist some level of credibility with the team or league because they trust the organization. The same cannot be said of bloggers for which there is no vetting process available. Should there be? Maybe. The writer from Rays Renegade apparently has “at least 4 years in the industry.” Maybe that qualifies him. Maybe it doesn’t.
But make no mistake. A professional sports franchise is a product. They are not going to let just anybody behind the curtain and risk the reputation of their product.
I have been blogging about the Tampa Bay Rays for three years. And during that time, Rays Index has earned a level of trust with the team. While we are not the interviewing type, they have always been open and helpful with any request that we have made. And I was even credentialed for the ALCS against the Red Sox.
Drays Bay has been around even longer and has been granted numerous interviews with the Rays and was also credentialed during the playoffs.
Why would the Rays give credentials to us? Because they know us. Even though at times we can be hard on the team and the players, they are familiar enough with our work to know that we always try to be fair and we never make stuff up.
In the end, one can’t complain about lack of access. Professional journalists put in years of work getting to where they are. It takes years of work to earn the trust of the teams and players and takes years of work to get inside and get the “sources” needed for a good piece.
Why should a team let somebody in just because they have a computer and something to say? Why should one blogger just have everything handed to them on a silver platter, while others have paid their dues?
Some bloggers do get respect. Just like professional journalists, they have earned it.