Over the past year, while establishing myself as a mainstream blogger, the only thing that has turned me off about what I do is the disrespect Bloggers are shown. I have seen it every now and then and it got to me a little bit. I am usually not one to care what others think, because quite honestly if you are going to cover a team publicly you need to have thick skin and know how to take criticism. But something that happened yesterday over in Leafs Nation caught my attention, and most hockey bloggers' out there as well.
Pension Plan Puppets, a fabulous Toronto Maple Leafs blog (also hosted on SB Nation), recently had a friend of theirs translate an article from Czech to English, which revealed information about defenseman Tomas Kaberle. Now when I say translate, it does not mean that the individual ran it through Google's translation program. I mean that they actually sat there and word-by-word transformed a piece written in a foreign language so that all of their North American readers could comprehend what was being said. That sort of work takes hours to do, especially when it is a full article they are translating. Just ask Laurie Carr of Beyond the Blueshirts, because she does something similar to that for Ranger news that comes from overseas.
Anyway, three days ago the guys over at Pension Plan Puppets published the translation for their readers to see. Yesterday, three days later, the exact translation was found in an article written by the Toronto Sun, which is a media source/newspaper up in Canada. The story was then picked up by major sources such as TSN, who gave the Sun all of the credit thinking that they were the ones who originally translated it. Mind you that no credit was given to Pension Plan Puppets.
When PPP contested the Sun on their word-for-word plagiarism, the newspaper responded by saying things like "the source of the translation is irrelevant" and to "get over it". So not only did they go out and copy someone else's work, but they are blatantly admitting to doing so and telling the bloggers to "get over it". Unprofessional, unclassy, and pure disrespect. Those are the traits the Toronto Sun displayed in their pathetic actions.
The reason I am writing about it and making my readers aware is because it all goes back to the lack of respect Bloggers are shown. Okay, I understand that any random Joe can go out there and start a blog and claim themselves to be a "blogger" and curse on the site, and just display unprofessional qualities. Those kind of people I can understand not being shown respect by the mainstream media. But when an individual takes time out of their life to provide non-stop coverage of a team in a professional matter, work many hard hours, and take on the task as if it is a job, then I disagree with anyone who thinks they should be looked down upon just because they are not credentialed by the team that they cover.
Blogging is what I like to call new media, and it is gaining attention quickly. You see it right here, as Jim and Joe have built a large community of readers even though the guys behind it all are just another fan like the rest of you. Sure we have been credentialed for events before, but we are in no way affiliated with the Rangers or Madison Square Garden where we could go and sit in the press box for every game. But is that really what matters to readers? No, the opinion and the way in which it is presented matters to readers and that is why blogs like Blueshirt Banter and Pension Plan Puppets become a part of the media, even though newspaper writers and what not try to shoot that down and tell us were are nothing. If a site is getting over 1,000 hits a day they are doing something right and are not "nothing".
Now I cannot speak on behalf of all bloggers, but I take what I do seriously. I see this as a job and my goal is to give my audience of fans the best possible coverage of the New York Rangers possible, just as PPP does with the Leafs. And whether or not the "old media" will admit that or not, they know it, especially if they are going as far as to plagiarize blogger's work.
And just to clarify, not all newspaper writers are stuck up like the Toronto Sun. There are plenty of beat writers out there that understand what we do and praise us for it. And those are the people I have great respect for and those are the people I am more inclined to cite as a source when information about the team is released. So thank you to all of those who respect blogging and all of the hard work that goes into it.