Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban set my twitter feed on fire last night/this morning with his blog post on what he believes the role of sports reporters is. One of the "headlines" here is that he thinks newspaper reporters have to be in the locker room and credentialed, whereas internet reporters do not. I won't make this a point-by-point look at Cuban's post. Dan Shanoff at the wonderful Quickish has a nice counterpoint to Cuban. But two points from my perspective:
- Cuban, as Shanoff points out, is looking at this from his own business perspective. Which is fair. His job is protecting his organization and his bottom line. And I guarantee you that many sports owners (and business owners, and politicians for that matter) feel the same way. Cuban's just outspoken, and has a blog, and is articulate enough to say it. But Cuban's perspective isn't the same as the media's. The research of Weaver, Wilhoit and their band of merry men and women has shown four roles the media believe they play - dissemenators of information; interpreters of information; adversaries to the powerful (aka, guys like Cuban) and mobilizers of the public. Just because Mark Cuban thinks its good for his business doesn't mean it's good for the media.
- Cuban raises an interesting issue, one that's going to continue to haunt the sports media. To quote the owner:
"I think we have finally reached a point where not only can we communicate any and all factual information from our players and team directly to our fans and customers as effectively as any big sports website, but I think we have also reached a point where our interests are no longer aligned."
This is one of the great unspoken fears in the sports media world. Teams, through their own websites, are able to communicate directly with fans. As a Buffalo Bills fan, I don't need The Buffalo News. I can get the stats, the raw interviews and other information right from the team's website (as well as the players' own Twitter feeds, although Stevie Johnson really needs to think before he Tweets). Now, I like that The News provides me with news and analysis that may not align with the team's best interest. But I would not be surprised if, at some point in the future, a team cuts off press access, citing this very reason. And would there be a big fan uproar over this?
What's everyone else think?