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Guest Column: The IdahoSportsZone View Of Being Credentialed

Friday, September 26, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 9:19 AM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Sept 26, 2008) - Yesterday, Idaho State University (ISU) Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations Frank Mercogliano wrote a guest column on why he chose to give the IdahoSportsZone blog credentials to cover Bengal football. Today, Will Hoenike, the content editor of that site offers his view on being credentialed.

As a veteran of nearly a decade in the mainstream media as a television sports anchor and reporter in Boise, ID, it's taken me quite a while to get my arms around this whole "new media" thing. I gotta admit, it's been quite the learning experience for me.

A lot of traditional media folks-- the newspaper writers and TV reporters-- shudder at the sound of the word "blog" even though there are two very seperate types of blogs. First of all, there are blogs aimed at fun and off-beat, bordering on crude, entertainment. Sites like "What Would Tyler Durden Do" or "Sports by Brooks" are not focused on so-called traditional reporting. Rather, those sites focus on the entertainment side of existing reporting.

Then there are sites like, which serves more as a news portal for sports fans in Idaho. We do some of our own reporting-- we have had a lot of journalistic experience grace our staff in our time-- and have even broken some good stories. One of the sacred cows in Boise is still rather rankled with us for one of the stories we got the jump on.

And we did it legitimately. We weren't posting innuendo or rumor. We had our multiple corroborating sources. We gave the institution in question a chance to respond. We went through the proper channels.

But, with the label of "blog," there's an automatic tint of unreliability because many are unable (or perhaps simply unwilling) to differentiate between entertainment blogs and news blogs.

However, the time is coming. People like Frank Mercogliano at Idaho State are ahead of the curve because they see the train coming. And rather than standing on the tracks in the hopes of stopping it, he's using the train to get his message out to his boosters and fans.

Newspaper circulations are dying. Television ratings are fading. People who are looking for information are not waiting for the 6 o'clock news or the Sunday paper, they're going to the internet. Fans are on the internet chatting and blogging about their favorite teams anyway, so why not take steps to ensure that proper and accurate information is getting out there? It serves your organization well and it serves your fans well.

By embracing the idea of "new media," you're giving yourself an opportunity to control the message and, to a degree, limit the amount of wild brushfire rumors that taint people's opinions of internet reporting.

Think about what newspapers were when they began in our country. They didn't have staffs of dozens of reporters, they didn't always cite multiple sources, they weren't always interested in seeking out both sides of the story. They developed into the journalistic institution that you see before you now over time.

Logic would say a lot of blogs will as well. Already, some of the best sportswriters in America have foregone traditional print media to write for websites. As America's need for instant gratification grows, expect the trend to continue.

The people who get out in front of that, the people who smartly and responsibly embrace online news organizations by credentialing them and giving them the same access that other outlets get, will be the people who reap the rewards in the end. They'll be the ones who make a sound transition as "traditional media" as we know it continues to evolve into something it wasn't ten years ago.

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