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Press Box … and a Blog Box?

October 25th, 2007

Decades from now, the Oct. 6, 2007 New York Islander’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres could be a trivia question. The clue would read, “The New York Islanders were the first professional sports franchise to do what?”

That question would seem tricky to the 16,234 fans who attended. Nothing jumped out as unusual about the Oct. 6th game – except, that is, for the abundance of beautiful women. Celebrity/superstar Christie Brinkley dropped the ceremonial first puck. An equally attractive, though less well-known Heather Kreuzman sang the National Anthem. And the 2007 – 2008 Islanders Ice Girls– boy can they skate! – were introduced along with their new uniforms.

So while the eye-candy was a bit above average, the game itself was unspectacular. The Islanders won 3 – 2. Islanders center Mike Comrie scored two of the team’s three goals in the third period. That’s about all that was exciting.

But, this blog isn’t about the various temperatures of water and women.

So, 20, 30 or 40 years from now, what would the answer to that trivia question be? “[The New York] Islanders became the first professional sports franchise to credential a permanent group of bloggers as part of its press corps – with a press-like area set aside solely for them,” wrote Richard Deitsch in his recent article in Sports Illustrated, “Breaking the Ice.”

This was certainly a historic moment – for all of professional sports, and for journalists and bloggers around the world. The Islanders even gave these bloggers their own “press” box – a “Blog Box.” So does this make a blogger a journalist? Do we have to call them bloggalists? No. And no.

As Andrew Keen brilliantly wrote in “The Cult of the Amateur,” a blogger is not a journalist. Andrew argues that bloggers do little to expand, enhance or enrich public conversation and debate. This argument could go either way. Unlike journalists who are obligated to write from an unbiased perspective, bloggers have the ability to not only take a stand, but champion it.   And this brings up the sticky topic of whether or not there really are any media sources without a bias or agenda driving their reporting.

So while all these questions are up for debate, this Islanders game made one thing crystal clear. Bloggers are no longer regarded as a group of fringe writers. They have credibility and they have power.  Moreover, they have a voice, and people are listening.

And just like any news source, blogs should be analyzed, evaluated and critiqued. Speaking of which, how are we doing? Let us know – contact us or post a comment here.

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