Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The blogger ascendency continues

First lest the title be misleading, let me disclaim that I have zero interest in the bloggers-vs.-print reporter war that embroils MLB coverage and often erupts in every other sport, including hockey. My first priority is good information and enjoyable writing, period. It can arrive in a glass bottle on the shore, for all I care (actually, that'd be kinda nice).

That said, as eulogies continue to surface over the latest bad news for NHL print coverage in the U.S., it once again illuminates the growing role bloggers will have in how we NHL fans get our info fix. The news of further dropped coverage in L.A. and Palm Beach also stands in such unusual contrast to Newsday's recent decision (post-Cablevision takeover, naturally) to ramp up coverage.

*begins violin music*
I'm a newspaper junkie, wed to the ritual of the morning paper. So I will always nostalgically mourn its passing from central importance in our culture. But in the big picture, the shift in sports coverage is not nearly as significant as the dwindling budget and reach that print news departments have for covering (and uncovering) the issues that really matter in society -- the audits of politicians and public companies, the local investigations, the poring over raw source materials.

But that's a topic for another day, in another forum. Despite our gripes, in many ways, hockey fans' access has never been better. The best "print" reporters (and pubs) are paid or allowed to blog as well as file their daily print stories. The NHL's cup of blogging enthusiasm runneth over. Of the key assets print reporters bring -- budget and access to real-time player/coach reactions -- at least the latter is becoming more available to online writers, too -- paid or not.

So it is that you can go to the Islanders homepage and find banners for the BlogBox as well as Chris Botta's blog which, with his insight and access, is something akin to the way MLB has full-time reporters for each of its team's sites. Despite the economics of coverage that is altering output and reader habits, I'd say things are looking up.

Some Season Previews

On that note, one of the challenges of this "new" world is information overload: How best do you find, select and digest the info that works for you? With considerable legwork, FrankD over at Pensburgh polled his favorite bloggers from each team for their season previews or responses to his questions. How are the Pens dealing with Gonchar's loss? What do Lightning fans see from their owner revolution? Can anyone on the Rangers blueline hit? Some interesting thoughts he's collected over there, all before my Hockey News arrived in the mail ...

Yours truly is also included in the team previews. My Isles write-up there is aimed toward the non-follower of the Isles, but I'll add this caveat here: Since I answered Frank's questions a couple weeks ago, we've obviously learned much more about Scott Gordon. Also, to clarify, my sentence on Tambellini was to confess that I'd already written him off once (last season, when he seemed to lack confidence and was shown none by Ted Nolan) -- not to say that I've written off his chances this year. Obviously, the opportunity he is about to get this year will define Tambellini's career trajectory, and I'm looking forward to it.

No comments: