The fabulous sisters Ookie over at Interchangeable Parts recently posted on the authority and accountability of bloggers in response to a recent flare-up that originated with a piece by the mainstream media.
In the post, they created and answered a questionnaire on this theme, which is near and dear to my heart.
Just so we're completely clear about where I stand with regard to this blog, here are my answers:
1. What was your motivation for starting blogging? Has that changed at all in the time you've been blogging?
I love hockey in general, I come from a hockey family, and I wanted to share my take on what happens with the team, the NHL, and other hockey fans. My concept is to provide a space to share my perspective while having fun with all those other hockey-mad people out there. That is still the only motivation for my blog.
I was also disappointed that there were so few blogs written from the perspective of female Flyers fans. In most respects, we aren't that different from male fans. We love the sport and our team(s). We don't meet in a pink clubhouse with a sign that says "Girls Only" while talking non-stop about how hot certain players are. (Although that can be fun, too!)
However, sometimes we do have a separate voice to contribute to the discussion. Sadly, it's one that is rarely covered or seriously considered by (mostly male) sports journalists, let alone other members of the mainstream media (MSM).
2. What do you think your blog contributes to the hockey conversation?
I think my blog contributes a not-so-serious voice, but rather the voice of a serious hockey fan.
I'm not heavy into statistics, analysis, etc. I am not trying to steal a "real" journalist's job.
I like watching the game, to watch the game. It's really not anymore complicated than that. I love hockey and I want to share it with others.
(Truthfully, I also want to be on the record so that when Bettman finally asks for my opinion at some point, I can refer him to my post on the matter. Not that it's ever going to happen, but at least I put it out there.)
3. What do you want to get out of the blogs you read?
I read blogs on many topics (i.e., about things other than hockey), but they need to be well-written and give credit where credit is due. In terms of tone, I read blogs that run from the insanely silly and satirical to those that provide in-depth analysis of the subject they cover.
4. What determines which blogs you read and which you don't?
If an author doesn't give credit to sources it quotes or features, I absolutely will not visit them again. There are plenty of bloggers who do it and just as many who do not, but it is a major issue that we all face.
Another big issue for me is the "hate" factor. I take exception to people who are disrespectful of others' opinions and I choose not to waste my valuable Internet connection in that manner.
5. How important is the issue of gaining press access to you as a blogger?
Really, it's not that important to me because it means I would have to strip myself of my hockey fandom just to get the access.
I couldn't stomach going to a hockey game and not being allowed to openly rejoice when my team scores or makes a big play, to complain when the other team pulls a fast one that the zebras miss, or to wear the over-priced fan gear that I was suckered into purchasing.
It might be fun to have access one time. On the other hand, even if it came with the chance to ask questions of Coach Stevens or any of the players, I'd be too deer-in-headlights to make full use of the opportunity. If I wanted to make an impact on the hockey world, the press box is not where it would happen.
6. To what extent do you feel accountable for the content of your blog? How concerned do you think readers should be about the authority and accountability of your blog?
I am very accountable for the content I post on my blog and the two others to which I contribute. I learned early in life that I am the only person accountable for my actions. I strive for complete accuracy. If I do miss something (there was that one fact that got away from me), I fix it immediately and admit the mistake.
So, no, I don't have an editor. Alternatively, I am not paid to do this. I am a lone individual sharing my voice, which is all I ever portray my blog to be. However, I have to be responsible about what I post - even the very obviously silly ones - because if my audience feels I'm not accountable and responsible about my work, they usually won't return.
7. How concerned are you about the authority and accountability of the blogs you read? Do you find it difficult to judge the authority and accountability of the blogs you read?
Since most of the blogs I read are about subjects I know well, I can see which blog authors know what they're talking about and are accountable for what they post. I return to the good ones, and I avoid the bad ones while wearing a crucifix and a garlic necklace.
Of course, this doesn't apply to the silly, sarcastic and satirical ones that I read because accountability is the last thing on their minds. (If those are the blogs that stimulated the recent MSM complaints against bloggers, then, wow, how did you people miss the tone there?)
8. What value, if any, do you think blogging brings to the NHL?
Straight up, hockey blogging brings great value to the NHL because it provides direct access to the voices of the very people who keep you in business.
The blogosphere allows fans the space to share their knowledge of the game and team(s), to learn more about the sport, to interact with other hockey fans that they wouldn't meet under other circumstances, and to have an outlet for their die-hard hockey fandom.
If it didn't work well and wasn't trustworthy, why would so many NHL teams have a blog on their web sites in addition to the articles written by the MSM or in MSM-style by their communications staff ?