Mark Cuban’s consistently thought-provoking Blog Maverick had a doozy yesterday.
He wrote about the situation that arose when he realized that one of the Dallas Morning News writers who was covering the team was — gasp! — a blogger. When he discovered this, he tried to revoke his credentials:
Not because I don’t want this blogger in the locker room doing interviews. What I didn’t like was that the Morning News was getting a competitive advantage simply because they were the Dallas Morning News. I am of the opinion that a blogger for one of the local newspapers is no better or worse than the blogger from the local high school, from the local huge Mavs fan, from an out of town blogger. I want to treat them all the same.
(I)t comes down to something very simple. A blogger is a blogger is a blogger and there are millions of us. . The name on your check, if you get a check, is irrelevant. BlogMaverick, Belo, xyz.blogger.com, we is what we is, and as long as there is limited space in our locker room, we is going to be outside in the Press Interview room getting comments.
It’s a fascinating topic, and worth reading the entire post.
At first I found myself agreeing with him. Then I started to disagree. Then I was thoroughly confused.
I still don’t know what I think Mark Cuban should do about the bloggers in the locker room. What I do know, though, is that Mark is wrong about blogging.
And he sounds like a lot of mistaken journalists in his opinion of them.
NBA teams let newspaper reporters into their locker rooms because they have the highest reach, not because they have an affinity for paper. It’s all about eyeballs, not the medium.
So let’s strip away the medium and put bloggers and newspaper reporters in the same bag. They’re all just collecting information. Now can you say that an “information gatherer” is an “information gatherer” is an “information gatherer?” Of course not. From a business perspective, the Mavs would be insane to give press credentials to Johnny Highschool Blogger, with a readership of a few dozen, over the Dallas Morning News, with a readership of several hundred thousand.
If you were to remove newspaper reporters from that discussion, why would you use the same logic with the remaining bloggers? Why should Johnny Highschool get the same access as a popular Mavs blogger who has built a steady readership over several years?
People treat information sources like a democracy, and page views are the votes. The mindset that all blogs are created equal is insulting — and it’s shared by a lot of people in journalism. It’s that attitude that prevents journalists from seeing the value in blogs, and why we need to understand them to see why we’re losing so many votes.