Blog Policy 09


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Research presented at 2009 North American Society for Sport Management conference, Columbia, SC. Sport organization policies on issuing credentials to blogs.

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Blog Policy 09

  1. 1. Stephen W. Dittmore, University of Arkansas G. Clayton Stoldt, Wichita State University Jordan R. Bass, Wichita State University Laura Biery, Wichita State University
  2. 2.  Blogs are “diary-style websites that generally offer observations and news listed chronologically on the site as well as commentary and recommended links” (Johnson & Kaye, 2004, p. 622)  “Nothing more than a personal web site with content displayed in reverse-chronological order” (Scoble & Israel, 2006, p. 26)
  3. 3.  Grossman (2004) pointed out a philosophical aspect of blogs is the presence of a unique, human voice that communicates a point of view  Ganim Barnes (2006) noted blogs are a personal conversation in which readers form relationships with bloggers and communities are formed  Bloggers are occasionally called “citizen” or “grassroots” journalists
  4. 4.  Sports Business Journal identified “the power of the blogger” as one of the Top 10 stories in 2006, calling it “the biggest story in media and marketing, not just in sports” (“Stories of the Year”, 2006, p. 11)
  5. 5.  NCAA v. Louisville Courier- Journal (2007)  Dallas Mavericks v. Dallas Morning-News (2008)  Edmonton Oilers v. Illustration from Covered in Oil (2008)
  6. 6.  “A credential is a pass that allows the bearer access into the facility without paying for a ticket. An additional expectation of credential holders is that they have access to areas of the facility that the ticket-buying public does not.” (Stoldt, Dittmore, & Branvold, 2006, p. 88)  If they have not done so already, sport organizations are going to have to develop a policy for credentialing bloggers (Dittmore in Sports Business Journal, 2006).
  7. 7.  Why do it?  Fan identification  Missing out on a form of communication and target market  Considerations:  Number of unique visitors the blog has over a given period of time  Amount of original content produced by the blog  History of covering industry  Press box space restrictions  Media rights issues
  8. 8.  Washington Capitals issued credentials to bloggers as early as 2006  2007-08 season: New York Islanders not only issued credentials to bloggers, but also provided them with their own NYI Blog Box image from Sports Business Journal/Bruce Bennett, Getty Images dedicated space (i.e., the Blog Box)  08-09 season featured 18 bloggers
  9. 9.  NBA  “We do not have a formal policy on blogs, just that we keep our eyes open to everything.” – Brian McIntyre, senior vice president of communications (personal communication, Nov. 14, 2006)  NCAA  “At this point it would be hard to define them (bloggers) as media. And personally, I don’t see how they can be.” – Mark Bedics, oversees media coordination for NCAA Championships (quoted in Sports Business Journal, June 19, 2006)
  10. 10.  Purpose of the present study was to analyze sport organizational policies relating to bloggers and blogging  RQ1: What types of policies exist pertaining to providing event credentials for bloggers?  RQ2: What types of restrictions do the policies place on credentialed bloggers?
  11. 11.  Two-question request submitted to media relations unit in varied sport organizations  Policy regarding credentials for bloggers?  Policy regarding restrictions on credentialed bloggers?  Follow-up phone calls as necessary  Some typed responses in e-mail replies, others attached files with policies
  12. 12.  Convenience sample of:  9 leagues, conferences and governing bodies  21 professional organizations ▪ 3 NFL ▪ 2 NBA ▪ 15 MLB ▪ 1 Motor Speedway  48 NCAA institutions ▪ 32 FBS ▪ 8 FCS ▪ 8 Division I
  13. 13. Category Follow League Case by Case Credible No Policy or Conference Basis Organizations Policy Only Leagues and n/a 3 3 2 Conferences (n = 9) Professional 9 6 5 1 Organizations (n = 21) NCAA (n = 48)* 0 14 21 9 Notes: Case by Case includes organizations which will give independent bloggers credentials Credible includes organizations which do not give independent bloggers credentials No Policy includes organizations who stated no policy exists * - 4 institutions either did not address the question of bloggers directly or stated they do not credential bloggers at all
  14. 14.  MLB team = MLB policy; allow for case by case basis; must be credible  Division I school = our media coverage never was extensive because of our market, we’re happy anyone cares to talk about us  FCS school = we do not have a blogging policy; have not had a need for one to date  BCS conference = “all credential requests from internet providers may be approved on a space available basis by the host institution”
  15. 15.  Accept independent blogs with the following stipulations:  Blog must provide certified and audited statistics, including average number of unique visitors by month  Percentage of original content v. non-original content  Official auditing body, if one exists  Number of employed full-time journalists  Blog agrees to adhere to IOC Blogging Guidelines
  16. 16.  USOC issued 434 credentials to media organizations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver  36 to organizations with direct .com affiliations  ESPN The Magazine/ (15); (2); (1); (2); (1); Yahoo! Sports (15)  All accredited organizations must follow IOC Blogging Guidelines
  17. 17.  Consistent with IOC, IPC considers blogging “as a legitimate form of personal expression and not as a form of journalism”  Bloggers restricted to producing content about their own personal experiences  Prohibitions  Sound, photographs or moving images  Limited the use of Paralympic marks  Use of advertising or sponsorships
  18. 18.  # of updates  Use of statistical information  # of photographs  Video / audio  Source information  Strategic intel
  19. 19.  Perceptions vary regarding the legitimacy of bloggers and their value to the sport organization  Many organizations have yet to formalize blogging policies  Protecting the interests of rights holders often a key part of blogging policies  Some concern regarding how bloggers will present the sport organization
  20. 20.  Larger, BCS-type schools more often only credential bloggers from “credible” or “legitimate” media outlets  Smaller, non-BCS-type schools more often evaluate requests on a case by case basis
  21. 21.  Los Angeles Dodgers have held two annual “Blogger Nights” in which they host several bloggers in a suite and give them access to Dodger personnel  May 6, 2009 included 14 bloggers Dodgers executives Josh Rawitch, VP of Communications, and Ned Colletti, General Manager. From
  22. 22.