There’s a lot of buzz on the blogosphere about Dallas Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban barring bloggers from the team’s locker room. Independent bloggers are outraged that their blogs are not being treated like established news organizations, or getting the respect they deserve, or exclusion infringes on First Amendment rights, etc.
Cuban may have his quirks, but he has a valid point in his reasoning. Space. There’s only so much room in the locker room for people, and limits must be set.
Many, many years ago I was covering a very nasty teachers strike in a far northwest Chicago suburb. It got so nasty that the school board took the teacher union leaders to court, claiming the leaders were breaking their contractual obligations to the district by encouraging teachers to reject offers and stay on strike. The courtroom was packed with teachers in support of the union. So packed that the judge cut off access to the courtroom because there was no more room. A few local reporters and I were allowed to sit in the jury box, which was also eventually filled with citizens.
Right before the hearing, a reporter from a Chicago TV station showed up with full camera ensemble and upon encountering the deputies, was denied access to the courtroom. At first, he asked a bailiff to see if one of the local reporters would be willing to trade places with him. Obviously, that didn’t work, so he went to the court administrator’s office and, with camera rolling, asked why the administrator was denying press access to the courtroom.
The administrator told him, “Let’s go the the courtroom and you can pick out which citizen I’ll have removed so you can have a seat.” That footage didn’t run on the 6 p.m. newscast.
Cuban’s argument about vetting media access to include independent bloggers is also noted, although maybe presented a bit brashly. The problem with legitimate bloggers … and there are some great ones out there … is that they are working on a platform that anyone can start up and claim ownership. Let’s face it, blogging has become the CB radio of the 21st Century. Any yahoo … including this one … can start one up and keep it going as long as he or she has an axe to grind. With the millions of blogs out there it would be nearly impossible to separate the number of request from bloggers who are trying to make a name and living for themselves from those who are trying to get great seats at a Marvericks’ game.
Maybe it’s time for the blog community to start policing itself, figuring out a way to raise the legitimate blogs from the chaff. Until that happens, I’ll say “10-4, good buddy” to any chance of independent blogging gaining credibility in the credentialed world