Puck Daddy at Yahoo Sports has an excellent article on how newspaper hockey coverage is quickly becoming an endangered species. The LA times now have one beat writer to cover both the Kings and the Ducks. The Palm Beach Post has discontinued staff coverage of the Florida Panthers. Go read the piece, it's important and it's a shot across the bow to Avalanche fans.
We are very fortunate in Denver to have real commitment from our two papers of note, The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News. The Denver Post feature Adrian Dater and Terry Frei as their main hockey columnists but also feature occasional pieces by Woody Paige, Mark Kiszla, Jim Armstrong, and Mike Chambers. The Rocky Mountain News feature Rick Sadowski and Aaron Lopez as their main hockey columnists but hockey is also covered occasionally by Dave Krieger, Bernie Lincicome, Sam Adams and even Drew Litton will sketch the an Avalanche comic now and again. Let there be no doubt that it's not just Denverites that read this material. With online material, Avalanche fans from across the world follow these newspapers.
It's been argued by some people and hell, even some bloggers that newspaper beat writers are dinosaurs of the past. Some bloggers have even been so bold as to suggest that they themselves can replace the "old media". There could be nothing further from the truth. Bloggers cannot replace the mainstream media. Blogs can only supplement and enhance newspaper coverage. Some newspaper columnists have been quick to point at blogs as the bad guy when it comes to newspaper economics. The fact is that all newspapers have suffered and they are now adapting with online content and even blogs! I believe the big problem for beat writers aren't blogs but rather the big sporting websites that leech off their hard work. The same big media that are supposed to have accountability and higher ethical standards then blogs. Below is an excerpt from an email conversation I had last year with a member of the local Denver media.
One thing I think most respectable blogs do that mainstream media fails to do is properly source our material. Every time we post a breaking story, we not only give our source but we also post a hyperlink back to that source and in most cases cite the author of the piece. Today, I'm reading ESPN.com and they have a breaking report on Forsberg and Foote being back in the lineup. ESPN.com cites the Denver Post as the source in text only http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=3297433. I see a breaking alert on www.tsn.ca that "Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic and David Jones are expected to form the top line Monday against the Wild." Only if I click on the alerts and scroll down will I see that it was attributed to the Denver Post. Everyone here knows it was probably Dater or another beat writer that busted his ass to go and get that story after practice.Here's what I'm getting at; As a blogger I can forward traffic back to the Denver Post. The Post gets more views (granted, not many from small potatoes like an Avalanche blog) and in turn they can make more money from their advertisements etc... It's good for all parties involved. I believe that's ethics in new media. What's happening is that major sites like ESPN act as a hub for sports data in every market and they horde that traffic to the best of their ability. Reputable blogs (and frankly, most blogs in general) constantly link to other sites.In the large picture I just think that blogs really compliment major media, and enhance it. They will never replace it. And despite all the supposed ethics and accountability of major sites like ESPN.com, I think in some ways blogs adhere to a more modern ethic needed on the Internet.