Bloggers vs MSM

Some interesting discussion (Wyshynski, Mendes) about the whole mainstream media (MSM) versus bloggers topic lately. MSM would include the big networks such as TSN, Sportsnet, ESPN, etc. Bloggers would include those not employed by these networks and do not have the support of a corporation (check out the blogroll). We’ve seen recently some MSM types get into the blogging world and vice versa. But for the most part, an individual is perceived to be in one camp or the other.

MSM relies on the traditional model of information development. Information is created, distributed and then consumed by the customer. With internet technology and the development of social media, we’ve seen a major shift in this information development. Bloggers have emerged as they not only consume this information but then they use it to create their own content.

More recently however, these bloggers have taken it one step further and begun developing their own method of actually creating information. Instead of reading the boxcar stats for a game in the paper the next day, they’ll watch a game and analyze it themselves to determine their own stats. They can then aggregate this information, share it with an online community, and then have discussions to build on it even more.

A tension has developed between the two sides. Bloggers can be pretty critical of the MSM’s work and demand more from the regular reports available. Bloggers, on the other hand, tend to be viewed as those living in the confines of their parents basement without a real understanding of the game. Both have their strengths and weaknesses in terms of content and tend to feel separated from the other. There’s talk of how blogging could one day replace MSM to cover sports. But as long as professional sports remains the object of analysis, it’s hard to see this happening. It’s a powerful industry, includes large organizations and million dollar players. It’s a well oiled machine that has norms and practices in place, making it difficult to change. The information and data that comes from this can have major ramifications for individuals, organizations and the industry as a whole. How it works now, with official media covering the games, is what works best for the industry and their stakeholders.

Bloggers have grown in prominence and the quality of work is pretty remarkable. They are replacing MSM as the source of information and analysis for a lot of fans. But as long as professional sports is the topic, MSM will always have a role. There’s still value in their work but they have to recognize that blogging and getting into these online fan communities is going to be important for their success.

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