Yesterday, in the comments of the Huet-to-Switzerland posting, spokeinthebandwagon posed the question to me of if we had ever sought out official media credentials, which came up as a result of some of the developments around the World Hockey summit, specifically the reluctance to credential "new media" types such as us by certain clubs. Here was my response:
We were offered credentials through SBN for the finals, but did not take them.
A lot of thought went into this, but we came to the conclusion that having positioned ourselves how we have as being profane outsiders, that if we were to take the credentials, we would be beholden to the agenda of John McDonough and Jay Blunk. Not only that, but our responsibility is to you, the readers, as you have come to expect a certain type of product on this site. Being that we’re all giant fans first and foremost, at no point would we want to compromise whatever perceived integrity we have with you by in any way giving the appearance of sparing someone from our verbal wrath because they were nice to us in a post-game. On top of that, getting put in the press box means no cheering and having to stay sober during a game, two things I personally cannot abide by.
Additionally, I remarked further down in the discussion that should we choose to take advantage of being credentialed, it would be almost assured that many of the old media types would do everything in their power to make things as difficult as possible for us; a) because many of them don't necessarily respect what we do due to lack of training and think we're completely without accountability, and b) due to that lack of accountability, we've pretty much roasted every member of the mainstream media who covers the Hawks at one time or another. While we have admittedly done the latter, it's not that we do it because we don't have to answer for our actions, nor is it to do it simply to be controversial. I think I can speak for the four of us when I say one of the primary reasons that we started contributing to this outlet was due to the disappointment in local and in-depth media coverage of our beloved Blackhawks- something that hasn't really changed even with the spike in popularity and a Stanley Cup championship.
Now, were any of the four of us actually put into a credentialed situation, I am 103.7% confident that we'd be able to comport ourselves in a professional manner, as well as ask difficult questions when necessary. But, as I stated yesterday, the important thing is preception, particularly after after we've positioned ourselves with the voice that we have already. I'm sure that many of you would feel that us being credentialed would be tantamount to Against Me! signing to Sire. Whether we want it to or not, being credentialed and having that access would change the voice of this blog, something none of us are entirely comfortable with. The important distinction to make is here between a reporter and a columnist. Right now, we're positioned more in a columnist role wherein we can give opinions on the subject (however skewed and wrong they may be), rather than simply reporting unadulterated facts. While that's something that some blogs, both in the SBN family and elsewhere, aspire to, that's not really what we do here. And aside from getting a free seat at the event (again, where cheering and drinking are verboten) and just getting the credential to say we got the credential, we saw it as having very little advantage for us. And though it is better to get an in-person account of a sporting even in certain aspects, we have the advantage of Sam being at every game and me being at the vast majority of them for when that's necessary.
So, while a lot of the hockey blogging community has been all butthurt about the perceived injustice of the regulations for credentialing bloggers apparently coming down the pike, it's important to know where a given blogger is coming from when reading his or her stance on the subject. Whatever is agreed upon for granting us pantsless internet trolls access really isn't going to change what we do one scintilla, because it never really mattered to us to begin with.