The Nats Welcome Bloggers into Fifteen Minutes of a Children’s Swim at the Media Pool

“No longer a curiosity and hardly a passing fad, bloggers have gotten the attention of the teams they write about,” observes Bob Cohn in yesterday’s Washington Times, adding, “In an ever-changing communications landscape, what constitutes “media” might mean different things to different people.” Cohn was covering the Washington Nationals’ red carpet treatment, for the second time this baseball season, of more than a dozen bloggers this past Sunday at Nationals’ Park. In some respects, the Nats’ experiment with new media resembles what the Capitals championed years ago: a seriously struggling franchise seeking to broaden coverage in a fiercely competitive sports media market, one dominated by the football heavy.

But Cohn’s account highlights a clear demarcation between what the Lerners are doing this summer versus what Ted Leonsis spearheaded before it was cool to: The Nats set up the bloggers in their own “suite” at the ballpark, a move that harkens back to the segregated coverage environment perpetrated by the New York Islanders and their intially much maligned Bloggers Box. But what has worked well for the Caps won’t necessarily work the same for other teams, particularly in other sports. Still, in this highly tech-savvy market, it would be good to see the other teams in town replicate the Capitals’ new media advocacy — the upside of access, it’s been proven the past couple of years, far outweighs the modest downsides. 

As a bit of a sidebar, I love a cleverly named blog, and one of the bloggers present at the Nats’ game Sunday was The Nationals Review.

Nats’ team president Stan Kasten offered Cohn a state of the media synopsis for this development.

“I don’t know if we’ve gone too far or we haven’t gone far enough,” Kasten said. “All of us in sports are learning, feeling our way through these developments. A year ago we didn’t do things like this. A year from now we’ll probably have a better fix on what’s appropriate or what’s not appropriate. We’re trying to figure it out.”

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2 Responses to The Nats Welcome Bloggers into Fifteen Minutes of a Children’s Swim at the Media Pool

  1. misschatter says:

    For what it’s worth, I kind of like this format better than being thrown into media sessions with all the press, although I’d imagine it’s a little tiring for the manager to add more press conferences to his schedule.
    And the “blogger box” is a press suite next door to the writers’ (larger) press box. So while it’s segregated, it’s still on par. We have our own tv, the official scorer announcements are piped in, and from the front row we can look to the right and see the writers ogling us curiously with amused looks on their faces 🙂 We can chat amongst ourselves without being overheard. So I’m okay with a “blogger box”. Frankly, I’d rather be down in the stands anyway since I cover the fan experience more than the game – plus photographing the game (that’s how I cover it). Can’t photograph from the 6th floor. I’m still working on them over the photography issue.

  2. as a member of both blogging communities, it is still a stark contrast. MLB has always been very protective of its intellectual property (see fantasy stat lawsuits), and collectively are slowly and with some difficulty coming to grips with the new media.
    add Stan Kasten’s general distrust and dislike of media in general, and the fact the Nats have been burned several times already this season with leaks and misreporting by the MSM, it’s encouraging they’ve come this far this season.

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