Darnell Mayberry, the Oklahoman’s reporter on the Thunder beat, sat for an actual blog interview this week, and this came up:
There are a lot of talented people out there with great ideas and great stories to tell. But that doesn’t mean all of them should be granted access into NBA locker rooms. Unfortunately we’re starting to see things head in that direction, with no real checks and balancing system in place of determining whether someone deserves a credential. There is a difference between blogging and professional writing, ethical journalists and fortunate fans.
I respect, appreciate even, the bloggers who have substance, style and, most importantly, standards. It’s the basement-dwelling, jobless, inexperienced, inconsiderate “Joe Blow Blogger” with no integrity or proper training that I don’t think has any place in or around a professional locker room or clubhouse. Because a fan has an audience we should give him or her a press pass? I don’t agree with that. We wouldn’t let a political enthusiast cover the White House. Making matters worse, some of these bloggers don’t even use their real name. They’re nameless, faceless people who are fans of the league and want to be close to the action because they have a vehicle for delivering “information.” That’s what I meant by “Joe Blow Blogger.” They aren’t held accountable for anything they write. I’ve even heard about bloggers who will have access but aren’t allowed to ask questions, only stand around the interviews and listen. That means I’m doing Joe Blow’s work for him. Thanks, but no thanks.
This got responses from two of the Lost Ogle guys. Said Clark Matthews:
Part of me (the megomaniacal part) thinks that he may have been thinking of us when he complained about bloggers not using their real names. It is a complaint we have also heard from The Sports Animal which reeks of sour grapes. Pseudonyms have been a part of journalism and entertainment for as long as journalism and entertainment have existed. Guess what, no one named Mark Twain ever wrote a column, and John Stewart from The Daily Show is actually John Stuart Liebowitz. Ann Landers was not the name of the woman giving the advice. For that matter would those two organizations complain if “Pork” or “Lump” were granted press passes?
At least Darnell didn’t shy away from stereotyping bloggers as basement dwellers.
Is this “Lump” getting a pass? I don’t think so.
And anyway, who’s got a basement in this town? It costs brazillions to dig down into this darn clay, and if there’s one person who doesn’t have brazillions, it’s Blow. Joe Blow.
Can you give me the name of the blog you read that has a basement-dwelling, jobless, inexperienced, inconsiderate author with no proper training and also receives NBA press passes? I’d be very interested to read it.
So would I.
That said, I understand Mayberry’s point: he’s had to bust a nut on this beat, and you know Opubco isn’t paying him anywhere near Kyle Weaver money. Dues, he reasons, must be paid, and just because this whole NBA thing is kinda new around here doesn’t mean that Blow & Co. get to skip a step or three. Fine and dandy. I wouldn’t expect the Thunder to send me a pass, despite my semi-scintillating coverage of all 82 games last year; it’s only one of several topics I cover at implausible length. (Nobody sends me test cars or shoes, either.)
Still, if Clay Bennett calls up Clark Matthews and says “Here’s your press pass,” you’ll hear no kvetching from me; I’ll be busy in my Integrity Training class.