Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dispatch's Tom Reed goes there

I don't want to make more out of what Tom Reed has stated so well (a must read, by the way), but I feel compelled to offer a blogger salute to my hard copy media counterpart.  Wait!  I'm media?  Oh jeez...

It's one thing for a guy like me to toss water balloons around on my blog.  I'm a partial season ticket holder and a fan with no overt connection to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  By that, I mean that I don't get media credentials from the club.  I don't base my personal livelihood on access to the games, players and coaches.  As an employee of the Columbus Dispatch assigned to cover the Columbus Blue Jackets, Reed does.

When Reed steps out and publicly draws the conclusions that so many bloggers, Twitterers and Puck Rakers commenters have suggested, however, that's an act of bravery.  You see, the New York Islanders pulled the credentials of a high-profile blogger named Chris Botta just before Thanksgiving because he dared to objectively comment on the mess on Long Island.  More recently, and perhaps more pertinent to Reed, a writer for The Kamloops Daily News named Craig Bonner was banned by the Western (Junior) Hockey League's Kamloops Blazers for "negative reporting."  The media community and the hockey writers trade association filed their objections, but Botta and Bonner haven't had their privileges restored.

It's not an easy time to be a professional hockey sports journalist.  Without credentials and access, a journalist is chopped off at the knees.  But what of objectivity and honesty in reporting, even when the subject matter isn't necessarily popular with the team?  Do you compromise yourself and your ethics to keep the lifeline open?

I'm not suggesting that the Columbus Blue Jackets, who appear to be very even-keeled in their approach to media relations, would kick Reed out of the locker room.  When you consider what's happened on Long Island and in Kamloops, though, you have to think that it was not an off-the-cuff decision to put those words in print - if only on the Puck Rakers blog. I can't help but admire the bravery that Reed exhibited in posting such a frank and honest analysis.  

The Columbus Blue Jackets need a change.  Kudos to Tom Reed for joining the chorus.

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