The people have a right to know...

Robin Brownlee
October 19 2008 07:58PM

There's been an uproar rippling through the Oilogosphere since Dave Berry of the website Covered in Oil was caught contravening the Edmonton Oilers policy on live blogging by media relations staff at the season opener with Colorado at Rexall Place Oct 12.

After being told to stop and being warned his press credentials could be lifted—he was working for a mainstream media outlet (Sportsticker)—Berry gave his account of events on CIO and made it clear he thought he'd been dealt with in a heavy-handed manner.

Berry accused the Oilers of favouritism and applying a double-standard, citing examples where OilersNation had done live blogs from Rexall Place without repercussions and had people with mainstream media credentials blogging—Jason Gregor and I were named.

In the wake of the fuss, I was asked by one of the partners who started OilersNation if I'd be interested in offering my take. A number of readers of this website also asked for my two cents.

Here it is...

Double standard?

As far as this specific incident goes, Berry is mistaken if he's saying I've blogged live from Rexall Place. Not true. Hasn't happened. I know Gregor did some live stuff during training camp and pre-season and has since been informed it's a no-no.

The Oilers have agreements in place that ensure certain rights holders get first crack at events as they unfold live. That's what rights holders pay for. The Oilers are well within their rights to insist rules regarding no live blogging be followed.

As a contributor to the Canadian Press, Team 1260 and Metro Edmonton, I'm accredited with the Oilers through the first two outlets. I've used quotes from players and coaches for items I've written for OilersNation, but I've never broken the live-blogging policy.

By the way, the majority of the quotes I use are from media scrums with players and coach Craig MacTavish and are available on the Oilers website within an hour or two after morning practice.

This isn't a case of two OilersNation writers getting favourable treatment in the form of press passes while other bloggers are denied the same courtesy. Gregor and I are accredited MSM guys who happen to contribute to a website.

No cheering in the press box

David Staples at The Cult of Hockey in The Journal suggests the Oilers, all NHL teams for that matter, should recognize the ever-expanding impact of the internet and embrace bloggers.

I tend to agree, but it shouldn't be a one-way street. The Oilers are running a business and selling a product. They decide who gets press credentials based on standards they set. Maybe anything goes on the internet, but that doesn't and shouldn't hold true for those entering Rexall Place through the press gate.

If you want to start a website and write whatever you want without signing your name to it, have at it. If you want to see how many times you can drop the f-bomb in a single paragraph, do it until you're blue in the face. If your idea of blogging about the Oilers is to write about which players you’d most like to see naked, knock yourself out.

Just don't expect JJ Hebert to issue you a pass and save you a chair alongside Terry Jones or Dan Barnes in the rink. And don't shout indignantly about being discriminated against when he doesn't.

It works both ways

There are conventions and a code of professional conduct that members of the MSM are expected to adhere to, and they should apply to bloggers seeking access by way of credentials.

You don't cheer in the press box. You don't show up at the rink wearing an Oilers jersey—any jersey. You don't try to take photos of players exiting the shower on your cell phone because your site is "Hunky Oil."

You don't ask Ethan Moreau to sign a hat for you in a post-game scrum. You don't tell MacT to "Gimme five" when he enters the press conference room after a big win. Bad form. If you think that's a big, "Well, duh," rest assured, these kinds of things happen.

Always, of course, there's a question of content.

Contrary to what some MSM critics say, the Oilers don't have Hebert and his staff dictating what does and doesn't go in the newspapers and on the air. They don't tell anybody what to write.

A particularly critical column or a story that puts the team in a less-than-positive light might earn you a sideways glance from a coach or a player, but I haven't seen it go much further than that.

In any case, if you're going to snipe away relentlessly, then you'd better be prepared to back up what you say or write. Beat writers and, to a lesser extent, columnists are in the rink day in and day out and if they've written "MacT is a bozo" in Wednesday's editions, they better be there Thursday morning so he can have his say.

On the flipside, if all you want to do is cheer for the Oilers and re-affirm paragraph after paragraph that "Calgary Sucks" and Dion Phaneuf dresses funny, tap away. Just don't show up at the press gate.

PR staffs of all NHL teams follow what's written on the internet and it would probably be fair if Darryl Sutter inquired with Kevin Lowe or Steve Tambellini why their staff is accrediting a writer who just penned a seven-part series titled "Why Robyn Regehr Is An A**hole."

The good, the bad and the ugly

Here's some examples of items—I'm using excerpts from Covered in Oil but you can find similar stuff on any number of websites—you won't see on sites run by The Journal, TSN, Sportsnet or MSM outlets.

If any of this was written by a member of the MSM, I doubt they'd have their credentials very long.

During pre-season:

"The Oilers' first pre-season game against the piece-of-shit Canucks is tonight! Break out the popcorn and Jack Daniels because it's being webcast on the Oilers' site, too. As much as I like to rail against the team's shameless plays for tax money and the general smarminess of Patrick LaForge, I have to give the team credit for recognizing fan interest in the preseason and providing the free webcasts. It's especially nice for a dude 3,000km away."

Pre-season entries vs. Florida:

"7:57 pm: If I spit on someone, do you think I could get away with blaming Jim Matheson?" "8:19 pm: I want to have sex with one of Ales Hemsky's passes. He just about put it through the legs of both a Panther and Shawn Horcoff to Visnovsky." "9:02 pm: Whoever the hell is the band that decided to cover "Message in a Bottle" should immediately be put to death by getting strangled with guitar strings. Douche bags."

On Jarret Stoll:

"Anyway, you have to wonder what, if anything, LA GM Dean Lombardi is thinking here, throwing Jeff Finger money at a dude who spent most of last year putting his skates on the wrong foot and trying to order hot dogs from the bench, or whatever the fuck it was Stoll was doing to manage a whopping 15 points at even strength last year."

There's a lot of insightful, witty, biting, edgy and laugh-out-loud stuff on the internet, and much of it is being written by bloggers without any journalism training and without the benefit of a press pass. Some bloggers have no interest in having one and bumping up to the MSM that closely. Others want credentials and should get them. In the end, though, the Oilers have the right to make that call.

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 doritogrande
October 19 2008, 08:42PM
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Thanks for your take on the situation Robin.

Hopefully we get the other side to the story, one from the Oilers perspective.

In PM's defense though, the way he alleges he was treated by the suits seems less than ideal. That was the sticking point for me.

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#2 NoPantsTuesday
October 19 2008, 08:46PM
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Good read. I've always been interested in the code of conduct rules in the press box and the locker room. But man, it would be hard for me not to cheer personally. Especially in yesterdays second period showing.

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#3 Antony Ta
October 19 2008, 08:54PM
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I like your objective analysis of the situation R.B., but it seems the Oilers PR has some sort of love/hate relationship with bloggers. Certainly there are some comments out there on the outrageous side, but anything "illegal" should be dealt with through the host of the server since anybody who is not "credited" with a press pass wouldn't be in the press box in the first place. But do they have the right to force someone to delete something off their personal computer? It wasn't a trademarked logo, copyrighted photo, or a plagiarised play-by-play - it was in his own words, something that could be achieved via blackberry or text message. I would understand if it was something that directly and intentionally stole something form rights holders.

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#4 Jonathan Willis
October 19 2008, 08:57PM
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Thanks, Robin. Well-written and bang on the money.

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#5 DJ Spyn Cycle
October 19 2008, 09:06PM
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I should point out that what Gregor was doing during the pre-seasons wasn't true live blogging.

Jason was sending me updates which I was posting on his behalf at the end of each period, and though those updates were time-coded for what happened live during the game, his game-day posts were updated a total of three times: once at the end of the first, a second time after frame two, and a final time at the end of the game.

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#6 doritogrande
October 19 2008, 09:09PM
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DJ Spin:

But it's still exactly the same issue. It wasn't exactly what would be considered "live" but the game was still in progress. Does that not constitute broadcasting?

I understand your angle, and I read that Gregor has since been told to 'cease and desist', but it seems like you're in ass-cover mode.

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#7 Hoos
October 19 2008, 09:13PM
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One of the biggest problems I have with the blogosphere is that not everything printed on the Internet is a blog. In fact, I've never looked at this site as a blog, but rather as an Oilers' News Magazine. There are some comedic columns, some insightful ones, and then the crap that Wanye comes up with on a daily basis. Oilers Nation is a lot like the Edmonton Sports Scene in my estimation, and some excellent reporters came from there into a more MSM role.

But that's the difference ... what kind of discourse does your site afford? Willis and Lowetide are good examples of bloggers that put forth legitimate, civilized discourse and in one way or another are rewarded for it by legitimacy, recognition otherwise.

The problem with the internet is that anyone can write whatever they feel; and with blogging that information can go to anyone with the time and inclination to read it. But just because there is a desire there, does that make it just as serious or valid as the next?

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#8 Chris!
October 19 2008, 09:19PM
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Interesting points. Lots to consider here, but two things jumped out at me off the bat:

"The Oilers have agreements in place that ensure certain rights holders get first crack at events as they unfold live. That’s what rights holders pay for. The Oilers are well within their rights to insist rules regarding no live blogging be followed."

Oh man, are the Oilers ever going to be shocked when they wake up and realize it's almost the year two thousand and nine and any dummy with a BlackBerry and ticket to the game can be curating a live-blog read by thousands in real time. In fact, why even pay to go to the game? Stay home and write it off TV. Bottom line is sports blog coverage gets read and read well. Trying to control the message is futile and pointless. From a business perspective, the goal should be to use emerging avenues to maximize brand exposure. How long until those rights holders realize they're wasting their money on the current "access" model?

"This isn’t a case of two OilersNation writers getting favourable treatment in the form of press passes while other bloggers are denied the same courtesy. Gregor and I are accredited MSM guys who happen to contribute to a website."

Dave was also an accredited MSM guy who happens to contribute to a website. What is the distinction you're making here? This comes off as an old guard vs. new guard statement to me, but maybe I'm misunderstanding.

chris!

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#9 DJ Spyn Cycle
October 19 2008, 09:24PM
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Dorito: I haven't any ass to cover (figuratively, of course), since I haven't been personally chided by the Oilers hockey club, however unprofessionally. But I'd be willing to bet some money there's a significant difference from the Oilers' perspective between providing between-period updates on games as they happen and providing up-to-the-minute updates from the press box when your press pass says you're there working for Organization A to collect post-game quotes and not blog on Personal Site B. That's all I was saying.

It might be a technicality that landed Dave in, shall we say, hot oil, but I was just throwing it out there for your consideration. I don't disagree that the Oilers overreacted. And I think that's a f**king understatement. "Uh, stop blogging. And delete it. and LEAVE. Or ELSE." It's f**king retarded, as far as I'm concerned.

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#10 Tyler
October 19 2008, 09:24PM
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Chris! has a good post. I'd point out also that this site isn't exactly a bastion of good taste. I don't have any problems with that and I'm fine with the "If you don't like it, don't read it" way of thinking but I don't quite see the distinction.

Hell, Vue probably runs some pretty objectionable stuff, if the free papers in Toronto are any indication.

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#11 Tyler
October 19 2008, 09:29PM
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I should add that I do see the distinction about live blogging and blogging after the game - I'm a bit confused though that Gregor was apparently told not to take it again, while this JJ fellow stood over Dave's shoulder until he took it down.

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#12 Dennis
October 19 2008, 09:49PM
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I'd like to believe that the most any guy writing something critical will receive is a sideways glance but there are so few critical things written about the Oilers that I really don't think we have a lot of examples.

If moves like the Pronger trade and the souray signing can happen without anyone saying anything negative, I think that says the brass either has a significant hold on the local media and/or the local media only watches hockey games that involve the local team.

I wasn't as outraged as most over what happened to Dave, but that's only because I Expect these things to happen.

The Oilers control the message and if you happen to have a press pass and they catch you writing anything they decide is off the beaten path, this is what will happen.

And I'm sure that every sports team would like to be able to censor things in this regard so in that respect, I can't blame them.

But, anyone can blog from anywhere and it's not the place from whence someone blogs that's the problem, it's what they say.

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#13 jdrevenge
October 19 2008, 10:07PM
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I don't think swear words distinguish someones ability or inability to write an entertaining piece. The target market is different in the Oilogosphere and the Oilers shouldn't limit themselves to people that don't like to be offended and play it safe by picking up the paper.

If you find his writing offensive and not within a certain mold that is mainstay reporting why read it? If the Oilers think that he could be writing something offensive about their team on their property its within their right to oust him. I dont think its fair, however, to raise criticism about his ability as a writer or the content of his private business (his blog).

He is a good writer and Covered in Oil is one of my top five reads in the morning.

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#14 RobinB
October 19 2008, 10:19PM
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jd: How am I raising questions about his ability as a writer?

I used excerpts from COI because it's the website in question and because it's an example of the kinds of posts that would be deemed objectionable -- no matter how well-written -- because they don't meet the kinds of standards the MSM is expected to adhere to in using a press pass and getting access to the team.

I don't run screaming and wheeping when somebody drops an F-bomb -- like that never happens in an NHL dressing room -- but at the same time I don't put it in my copy, either. And that holds true whether I'm writing for CP or ON.

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#15 Mike W
October 19 2008, 10:50PM
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As far as this specific incident goes, Berry is mistaken if he’s saying I’ve blogged live from Rexall Place.

He never did. Although he did suggest that other accredited media have used their access for exclusive content for blogs they were not accredited for. This includes you, despite the "majority" of your quotes coming from media scrums available online.

Gregor and I are accredited MSM guys who happen to contribute to a website.

So was David.

There are conventions and a code of professional conduct that members of the MSM are expected to adhere to, and they should apply to bloggers seeking access by way of credentials. You don’t cheer in the press box. You don’t show up at the rink wearing an Oilers jersey—any jersey. You don’t try to take photos of players exiting the shower on your cell phone because your site is “Hunky Oil.”

None of this applies to David since he's actually a accredited member of the media, and wasn't wearing an Oilers jersey or taking nude photos.

You seem to be confusing this issue as blogger-wannabe-journalist, which is adorable, but it makes you sound like a grandparent who can't set a VCR.

The issue is that the Oilers exercised a double-standard, still acted like jerks when David co-operated fully, and then back-peddled and actually offered his press pass back when they were caught making up their "live blog policy" up on the spot.

But yeah, thanks for the support.

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#16 Andy Grabia
October 19 2008, 11:05PM
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I'm glad I was here to witness this Buzz Bissinger moment.

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#17 jdrevenge
October 19 2008, 11:30PM
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Robin: I appreciate that you weren't directly attacking his writing. I felt through reading your article, though, that you were holding blogs to a lower standard and using CIO as an example. I'm sure that wasn't your intention but it's how it came across to me.

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#18 RobinB
October 19 2008, 11:41PM
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jd: I think blogs should expect to be held to the same standard as the MSM in terms of content by the team involved if they are relying on that team for credentials and access.

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#19 Mike W
October 19 2008, 11:50PM
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I think blogs should expect to be held to the same standard as the MSM in terms of content by the team involved if they are relying on that team for credentials and access.

Then perhaps you could explain Oilers Nation, no stranger to swear words or off-colour jokes (not that I don't enjoy such things).

You are a contributer, no?

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#20 A.Milli
October 19 2008, 11:54PM
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Robin B is so much cooler than Jason Gregor who was acting like a complete ass in the other thread. Good Job Brownie. Props

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#21 GreaseTrap
October 20 2008, 12:03AM
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Brownleee, with all due respect, if you wrote an "f-bomb" in a print article it would get edited, so of course you wouldn't write it.

That Dave (et al) gets millions of readers for his content should clue you in that readers don't give a flying leap for "professionalism" beyond a simple metric: what they like. Just to be clear, though, this whole line of discussion is a red herring.

The content of Dave's writing on the blog, or the perceived value of it, isn't nor should be the issue. The thing about straw men is how fast they fall apart when exposed to light. The Oiler's understandably don't appear to be able to comprehend how the examples you cherry picked actually endear the game to fans far more than some squeaky clean toothless article that tows the company line.

(Having said that, I should point I actually enjoy Brownlee's take on sports)

No one says they have to give passes to bloggers. Honestly, who really cares? The issue at hand is that an actual writer got kicked out for his private activities that he:

a. didn't know was prohibitied and b. took down immediately upon learning of said prohibition.

He was co-operative, professional, and apologetic, but I guess because he dropped an f-bomb or 20 a few months ago on his private, not-for-profit, and once fun site, we should dismiss his story out hand and get to work on sweeping things under the rug.

Man, am I alone in thinking that this issue is clear-cut but the - excuse the term - "old-guard" can't actually wrap their heads around it?

Also, Hot Oil, if anyone is still confused, is a SATIRE site.

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#22 GreaseTrap
October 20 2008, 12:27AM
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Buzz Bissinger video clip:

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-3844515739218831530&ei=ryP8SIX2IJe2qAPAt_gB&q=Buzz+Bissinger

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#23 GreaseTrap
October 20 2008, 12:36AM
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Continues...

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-1086237806105529633&ei=ryP8SIX2IJe2qAPAt_gB&q=Buzz+Bissinger

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#24 Pete
October 20 2008, 12:52AM
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There is no writing on sports ticker is there? I thought all you do is send in the scores as they happen.

I really don't see what all the fuss is about. It sounds like Dave and JJ had a disagreement, then made up after. Dave decided he didn't like how he was treated and quit. That makes no sense to me. What did he expect a written apology? I say get over it, and keep writing. Why whine about it online, just so people can say poor Dave?

The Oilers are 4-0 baby, that is what we should be talking about, not how some guy got mistreated for five minutes. He seems like a huge fan of the team, and they let him down so he can't get over it. Dave be glad you aren't a Leafs fan, they have been doing that to their fans for over 40 years.

Go Oil.

Thanks to the people who write on this site for making my late night shifts entertaining. I like that the Nation has bloggers (Brownlee and Gregor) who actually talk to people in the hockey world, and then insightful guys like Willis and Lowetide who actually put some thought into their articles.

I honestly don't care too much what some guy thinks from his basement. We all have the same opinions, which is why I don't see the big deal if Dave stops writing. There are 10 more bloggers who all write the same stuff, just under a different name. That is what separates this site from the rest in my opinion. I don't even mind Wanye, because he doesn't try to be educational. He is strictly here for entertainment, which is why I come here. Insight from most, and entertainment from others. Perfect mix.

Now how about some stuff about the Oilers, not some guy who doesn't write anymore. He is so yesterday...

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#25 Antony Ta
October 20 2008, 01:00AM
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I think blogs should expect to be held to the same standard as the MSM in terms of content by the team involved if they are relying on that team for credentials and access.

You're ignoring the fact that blogs and the so-called "MSM" have different goals in mind.

The MSM have exclusivity agreements on for-profit ventures, whereas the illegitimate bastard-child (or so-called "live-blog") of internet hockey coverage is non-profit, volunteer work that Oilers fans do to promote the team they love.

Why do rights holders feel they need to go to such an exaggerated extent to protect something that's not at risk. Would you choose to read a live-blog over watching Hockey Night in Canada? That would be plain stupid. The live-blog is designed to allow one to view the game from another person's perspective and point-of-view. They may notice something that you do not and that's the whole essence of communication via the internet: getting a message across that would be swallowed by the "legitimized" MSM.

Why is it considered so legitimate? That's because MSM journalism taught in the schools are necessarily unbiased, objective, and as politically correct and safe as not to harm the hair off the head of any man not named Mike Keenan. This is not what blogs are for. The Oilers are not accountable to bloggers as much as bloggers are not accountable to the Oilers.

Sure, the majority of bloggers get bad rap for being anonymous, but Dave and others are obviously not anonymous and are identifiable figures in the community, as are you, Mr. Brownlee.

This is not the issue of Dave vs. the Oilers, the bloggers vs. the MSM, or round pegs in square holes. These are the issues of applying double-standards, miscommunicating club policies (or lack thereof), and harassing those who are only trying to help.

That is what bloggers do after all: spread love and cheer for the Oilers for free. They don't want the money - they just want the respect and freedom to keep doing what they do.

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#26 Antony Ta
October 20 2008, 01:16AM
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Also, isn't it ironic that the man calling for higher blogging standards named his blog "double-you tee eff?"

If Robin Brownlee really wanted more rigid impositions placed on internet-based writing he wouldn't be writing for OilersNation.

Do you agree or disagree, Mr. B?

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#27 jk
October 20 2008, 04:16AM
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wow. hilarious.

expected typical edmonton sport "journalist" (oxymoron? with props to Matheson) response, more worried about his press pass and covering his ass.

I particularly enjoyed how Mr.Brownlee threw Gregor under the bus. Classy! Why even mention it? As a contrast to your sterling reputation? So we all know that Gregor f%$#*ed up and you didn't? Hope you tattled to Laforge...

....

if it weren't for the blogs we fans would have absolutely no creative, in-depth discourse about something we all inexplicably love. (i.e. Lowetide - by far the best sports writing in Edmonton.)

I do understand that Mr. Berry was in error - but, surely this is something that should have been made clear from the beginning. Then there would have been no problems --- the edmonton oilers dropped the ball.

the real issue here is that Mr.Brownlee is agog of all the fancy hockey people he gets to hang around with, so heaven forbid if he actually did some real investigative work as to WHY the oilers are so passionate about protecting their image. Instead of wasting our time preening himself and how his "work" is somehow of more significance because it is clean, boring and by-the-book.

My prediction? Mr. Brownlee and Mr. Gregor will not be writing for Oilersnation for much longer as they will get pressure from the Oilers to stop their "non-game-time blogging". "Either yer with us or yer with the opinionated-unwashed". They will justify it in a number of highly-principled ways, and the ever marital - "surely the money isn't good enough for this abuse, honey?"

And neither want to stain their hockey insider cred- they'll risk missing that jacuzzi time in Jasper, or that amazing golf foursome of Brownlee, Gregor, Staples and Tencer at Golden West .... imagine ....

No worries Mr. Brownlee, that job at Sportsnet will come soon ... just keep yer nose clean. That, by the way was the best ever entry by Mr.Brownlee - the bewildering story of his love/hate relationship with Barnes and their divergent career paths .... really? Really? True MSM!

Finally, I must say the quoting of Covered-in-Oil near the end of this "article" is the height of cherry-picking, self-serving jerrymandering.

Is that what they taught you at Ryerson?

Sure Covered-in-Oil enjoys the odd perverse metaphor and a handy expletive when no other word will do -- but, thankfully, it is true to its audience and most importanly --- to themselves... they know who they are writing for.

Mr. Brownlee, do you?

It is not me.

How you enjoy'n the internet?

Wake up.

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#28 Jerry MacWire
October 20 2008, 07:12AM
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jk, Brownlee at Sportsnet? Hahaha haha. Maybe at Halloween. :)

This is all about the rights holder protecting their assets. Really now, is is such a big deal to NOT be able to blog live from the pressbox? CHED, the rights holder does a wonderful job or at least they seem to think so.

Look at what a wonderful job they have done putting Stauffer on a short leash now that he is in their employ.

Gone is the edgy, cynical, spot-on Stauffer. Instead we have Mr. Pablum.

CHED indeed are miracle workers. Witness the singing career Mr. Hall now has with the Esks.

BTW Robin, too bad you didn't get the Esks beat job at The Journal when Vicki left. See, I told ya!

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#29 RobinB
October 20 2008, 07:39AM
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Anthony:

You’re ignoring the fact that blogs and the so-called “MSM” have different goals in mind. No, I'm not. Please read what I wrote again. Having so many different opinions out there is a good thing. It shouldn't all be cookie-cutter MSM stuff. BUT, when a press pass is involved, the Oilers get a say.

Also, isn’t it ironic that the man calling for higher blogging standards named his blog “double-you tee eff?”

It would be ironic if I named the blog, but I didn't.

If Robin Brownlee really wanted more rigid impositions placed on internet-based writing he wouldn’t be writing for OilersNation.

Do you agree or disagree, Mr. B? Disagree. I don't WANT more rigid impositions placed on internet writing, I'm simply recognizing that they exist in cases where credentials are involved.

JK: I particularly enjoyed how Mr.Brownlee threw Gregor under the bus. Classy! Why even mention it? As a contrast to your sterling reputation? So we all know that Gregor f%$#*ed up and you didn’t? Hope you tattled to Laforge…

Nice try. Divide and conquer? I'll pull Jason out from under the wheels in time for our next show.

Sure Covered-in-Oil enjoys the odd perverse metaphor and a handy expletive when no other word will do — but, thankfully, it is true to its audience and most importanly — to themselves… they know who they are writing for.

Mr. Brownlee, do you?

Yes, I do. There's a diverse audience out there and room for everybody. Like I said, there's a lot of good writing and insight being provided by people and sites that aren't MSM. We have that diversity at Oilernation. I do what I do. Gregor brings his own take. Willis and Lowetide do the same. It's a good mix.

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#30 jdrevenge
October 20 2008, 10:23AM
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Robin; I see your point Bloggers should be held to the same standards.

Glad you posted this seems theres a bit of a war wagin.

I think the bottom line regarding this incident is the guy was insulted and treated like shit by his favourite sports team. That's like getting punched out by the guy in the Santa suit when you're five and at the mall. This would make anyone lash out a bit and consider changing faith.

I don't think its fair the way the guy was treated by the organization.

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#31 Doogie2K
October 20 2008, 10:24AM
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@Andy: That's a shitty comparison and you know it. Buzz was foaming at the mouth and ironically committed the very sin he was decrying. Robin is offering a pretty fair assessment of the situation, from his perspective. He feels that if a blogger is accredited as media, he should behave as media both in the box and in his writing. Guess what? So does Eric McErlain. Is he a Buzz Bissinger, too? The idea of live-blog as broadcast is absurd, but that's how the rights-holders and the club see it, so...yeah.

Then perhaps you could explain Oilers Nation, no stranger to swear words or off-colour jokes (not that I don’t enjoy such things). You are a contributer, no?

The distinction here is that Brownlee and Gregor aren't doing the swearing or making the off-colour jokes. Dave did both.

I guess because he dropped an f-bomb or 20 a few months ago on his private, not-for-profit, and once fun site, we should dismiss his story out hand and get to work on sweeping things under the rug.

It was less than a month earlier, and he dropped at least one F-bomb in that very blog.

Also, isn’t it ironic that the man calling for higher blogging standards named his blog “double-you tee eff?”

As has been explained elsewhere, DJ or Wanye add the pictures after. They caught major-league shit for it when they did it to LT's first post, and now they don't touch 'em.

I hope no one thinks I'm defending the Oilers' actions here, because I do agree that they were over the line, but I don't feel that Dave's actions should be entirely defended, either, because he did make some mistakes in writing that LB.

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#32 Chris!
October 20 2008, 10:38AM
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"We have that diversity at Oilernation. I do what I do. Gregor brings his own take. Willis and Lowetide do the same. It’s a good mix."

From intriguing to condescending to self-serving in 12 hours flat. Too bad; this post could have led to an interesting conversation. But I guess it wasn't intended as such.

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#33 Grease Trap
October 20 2008, 11:02AM
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Doogie,

You're falling into the same trap. The content of the writing shouldn't matter. It was private, could have just as easily been done from home (if it's broadcast rights that are the concern) so that shouldn't matter, and if the sticking point was language, then really, get with the times.

To write in the vernacular of your readers and your generation is somehow harmful? Not likely.

Again, I'll repeat:

The content and style of the writing shouldn't matter one iota. that he was even WRITING shouldn't matter one iota.

The Oilers weren't paying him, he wasn't doing it in the capacity of his role there as a reporter, and he didn't know it was prohibited.

Once he knew, he stopped and even deleted the post.

But in the end, content is a red herring.

I'm probably not explaining this as best I could simply because it's so clear to me that I'm not sure where the disconnect is for others.

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#34 Jonathan Willis
October 20 2008, 11:08AM
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You’re falling into the same trap. The content of the writing shouldn’t matter. It was private, could have just as easily been done from home (if it’s broadcast rights that are the concern) so that shouldn’t matter, and if the sticking point was language, then really, get with the times

I think you're wrong here. I don't like the Oilers' actions at all, but I do respect the fact that if a blogger is going to write those kinds of jokes from the pressroom, he's probably going to see some kind of reaction. Dave took shots at a whole bunch of media types and Oilers executive types, and while mostly they were joking in nature, I can understand the Oilers organization being less than thrilled with them.

The fact of the matter is that even at it's lowest, ON has never taken the kind of poor taste shots that CinO has. The fact that there is shock at the repercussions is beyond me. As I said, I don't particularly like the Oilers' actions, but there isn't a double standard here - Dave took a bunch of (IMO) cheap shots at the Oilers organization, and the organization took a chance to land a shot of their own.

The "we did no wrong" approach of CinO and their supporters is a little beyond me.

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#35 Greg Wyshynski
October 20 2008, 11:19AM
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First, kudos for adding to the debate, presenting a different facet of it and keeping this very important conversation going.

Two things:

1. "...photos of players exiting the shower on your cell phone."

Excuse me for not knowing my Edmonton blogger history here, but has this ever really occurred? Or is this an extremely ludicrous straw man you've knocked down here? I mean, this is the sort of thing that MSM writers actually believe bloggers will do with a press pass. Which is perverted, in every sense of the word.

2. "If any of this was written by a member of the MSM, I doubt they’d have their credentials very long."

This is, perhaps, the dumbest fucking argument I've read regarding the bloggers/MSM debate.

Yes, there are extreme examples. All due respect to my boys at Melt Your Face Off, but I don't think their blog would be high on a list of credentialed media for many teams due to the R-rated humor.

But the examples you've cited from Covered in Oil are a mix of cynical critiques of the team and colorful language in coverage. A phrase like "whatever the fuck it was Stoll was doing to manage a whopping 15 points at even strength last year" should disqualify a blog from covering a professional hockey team? Seriously?

We're going to impose draconian standards of good taste in order to decide what is legitimate media and what is illegitimate? Hunter S. Thompson just shot a hole in his coffin. OK, if he hadn't been cremated he would have.

You've made several strong points here about conduct in the press box and the relationship between a team and its media. But just because the MSM and the alt-media speak a different language doesn't mean one is more valid than the other. Someone mentioned Bissinger before. That's Buzz blog-bashing 101.

The notion that a Coen Brothers comedy can't share the same cineplex as "Bambi" is just nonsense.

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#36 Tyler
October 20 2008, 11:23AM
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The fact of the matter is that even at it’s lowest, ON has never taken the kind of poor taste shots that CinO has.

I think that the content thing misses the point entirely but you guys ran a picture of a guy standing in what appears to be a classroom who appears to be sexually aroused. Like I say, it doesn't bother me but it sure as hell seems a little further along the offensive continuum than a few F-bombs and jokes about spitting on people and blaming Jim Matheson.

I gotta say, I'm a little mystified at the reference to cheap shots at the Oilers too. The CiO guys strike me as pretty fair to the team. They might use vivid language when they write, they might have a dislike for Pat LaForge but I have no idea what you mean by the suggestion that they take cheap shots.

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#37 Grease Trap
October 20 2008, 11:30AM
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Jonathan,

so now this about hurt feelings?

Really?

If a person can't tell that all these jibes are actually in good fun, and that the reason people read them is because that's how they talk to their friends after a pint, then they should at least concede that what's offensive to some isn't to others and there you have the whole debate on censorship, which personally, I'm not going to touch with a ten foot pole.

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#38 Doogie2K
October 20 2008, 12:08PM
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To write in the vernacular of your readers and your generation is somehow harmful? Not likely.

I don't believe that profanity is inherently the sign of an uneducated mind -- we have lawyers and other highly-educated people around here who can throw 'em with the best -- but like it or not, it's viewed as unprofessional in the business world and by society as a whole. Sure, it's a vestige of feudal linguistics, but nonetheless, I think it's a rather minor concession in exchange for access to players and free ice-cream sandwiches, really. If I wanted a press pass (I neither want nor could use one), and had to clean up SNN Sports to get it, I'm breakin' out the red pen. I can express myself just fine with our without swearing and making rude jokes; I don't view it as integral to my writing style.

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#39 Grease Trap
October 20 2008, 12:15PM
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Yeah, if you had your press pass FOR THAT PURPOSE.

Dave was there to collect quotes. He was passing the time writing to his personal blog.

The end.

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#40 Doogie2K
October 20 2008, 12:19PM
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Dave was there to collect quotes. He was passing the time writing to his personal blog.

Which was a violation of their press-pass policy. The rule is stupid, but it's still a rule.

The issue here should not be whether Dave should have been live blogging. He shouldn't have been live blogging. The end. The issue here is how, instead of being let off with a warning, he got a giant bootprint on his ass despite cooperating with everything the PR flunkie told him to do.

Besides, why do you need to pass time at a Goddamn hockey game? It's a hockey game. Watch the motherfucking thing. God.

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#41 Grease Trap
October 20 2008, 12:24PM
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And once he was told he shouldn't be doing it, he stopped. He even erased the offending post, so what's the problem?

Why has this become a Star Trek episode?

"Wesley didn't know he wasn't supposed to step on the grass and now Picard has to figure out a way to save him from Capital Punishment while still treating the authorities with kid gloves."

Only in our scenario, Wesley got the axe.

***Besides, why do you need to pass time at a Goddamn hockey game? It’s a hockey game. Watch the motherfucking thing. God.***

No press pass for you, dirty mouth!

:)

But really, some people can walk and chew gum at the same time.

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#42 MJ
October 20 2008, 12:26PM
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Doogie2K. Unless I misread something, his press credential was reinstated the next day.

Found it in post one of the whine-fest. "I pointed this out to the PR guy in another e-mail, after which he finally relented: he called me the next day and explained that my pass would be reinstated."

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#43 Surshot
October 20 2008, 12:29PM
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Interesting this guy even got a pass in the first place. I fail to see any censorship issues at all. As for the double standard of being a moron who is of the classless style like whoever this guy thinks he is i think should be practiced more often. As far as i know the Oil never shutdown his crappy blog and he can continue to write his dumb self rigtious crap once he gets over being a self rightious moron.

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#44 Doogie2K
October 20 2008, 12:31PM
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And once he was told he shouldn’t be doing it, he stopped. He even erased the offending post, so what’s the problem?

Good question. No one seems to know the answer, hence all the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth.

No press pass for you, dirty mouth!

Good. ;)

Unless I misread something, his press credential was reinstated the next day.

The press pass was reinstated, yes, but again, it misses the key question, which is why it was revoked in the first place.

I'm honestly past the point of caring, myself, but hey, duty called.

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#45 Grease Trap
October 20 2008, 12:38PM
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awesome link.

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#46 Rick
October 20 2008, 12:42PM
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"Greg Wyshynski Says: October 20th, 2008 at 11:19 am

1. “…photos of players exiting the shower on your cell phone.”

Excuse me for not knowing my Edmonton blogger history here, but has this ever really occurred? Or is this an extremely ludicrous straw man you’ve knocked down here? I mean, this is the sort of thing that MSM writers actually believe bloggers will do with a press pass. Which is perverted, in every sense of the word. "

I write this assuming that you are THE Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy fame;

Is there some imaginary line in your mind that gets crossed between using pictures of guys coming out of the shower and just guys laying around in their underwear like the one of Mike Commodore that you currently have up on your Blog?

As unrealistic as Brownlee's example may be, I am not seeing a huge leap bewteen what he wrote and what you actually did.

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#47 GreaseTrap
October 20 2008, 01:17PM
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uh..don't we often see professional athletes in various states of undress in tv interviews taking place in the locker room?

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#48 GreaseTrap
October 20 2008, 01:18PM
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In other words, isn't a stupid issue to be talking about?

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#49 Doogie2K
October 20 2008, 01:22PM
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As unrealistic as Brownlee’s example may be, I am not seeing a huge leap bewteen what he wrote and what you actually did.

It's the difference between taking pictures of players without their consent/knowledge, and posting pictures made publicly available by the player. It'd be the difference between taking a picture of Ethan Moreau in the shower and Ethan Moreau putting pictures of himself in the shower on his Flickr.

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#50 Shawn Mullin
October 20 2008, 01:24PM
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I've said this elsewhere, but I think it's worth repeating.

This issue doesn't seem to me to be about bloggers vs. MSM... isn't the real issue the way that Dave contends he was treated?

Doesn't seem like he's really arguing that he should be allowed to live blog or that bloggers should get press passes. It seems to me he was arguing that the gentlemen he dealt with treated him rudely even though he wasn't aware of the rules.

I wasn't there, and my experience with the Oilers PR folks has been very positive so I'm not saying it did or didn't go exactly as he said it did. What I am saying is that I don't get why this has turned into a discussion about bloggers being treated like members of the media.

Dave wasn't representing bloggers, he was a member of the media who was blogging and didn't know it was against the rules. The issue is not "should bloggers get press passes" it's "how was this person treated?"

I don't know the answer, but I think we've steered off course on this one and into an unecessary pissing contest between the two "sides"

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