Two stories whic.we feel will be pretty compelling issues over the next year came to light around the country in the last few days…the issue of what to do with bloggers, and the ever-growing issue of corporate support and commercialism with regard to high school programs. The latter was the focal point of a piece in Sunday's Bergen Record, which documented the success that companies were having in branding fields and programs in central New Jersey as a way to offset budget restraints and restore programs. The philosophical issue of what is over the top -.marketing directly to kids -.and what is a strong grassroots support system (no one questions billboard advertising or the names on the backs of Little League teams) is the big play, as well as where the money rasied ultimately goes.Invariably this will lead to the discussions of over-emphasizing and over- publicizing and marketing the high school (and then maybe the grammar school) athlete, but if it puts much needed funds in a professional manner into academic programs, and helps inner city music and arts programs as well as sports, the professionalism that can be brought to running these school programs should be welcomed.
On to the blogging issue…Mark Cuban's banning of bloggers (well really the only one who covers the team, from the Dallas Morning News) from the lockerroom yesterday, as news organizations and teams decide how to set forth guidelines on how to address the bloggers. Now the New York Islanders have used blogging as a way to garner more coverage and fan interest, while many other orgs have struggled with value, credibility and timing issues with bloggers. Having worked in a positive and constructive manne.with bloggers as a way to grow coverage in a crowded space, it is hoped that colleges.growing sports and organizations seeking coverage actively embrace blogs as a way to get information and personalities out to a larger and emerging audience, while the bloggers realize that they need to show an ROI on why major organizations should credential them.If bloggers are credentialed, then they have a responsibility for coverage, and like any other member of the media, should be held to the same journalistic standard.Lakersblog folks criticizing Cuban,balanced coverage on AOLfanhouse. The balance betweeen expression and coverage needs to be struck, just as it has in other forms of media. How valuable are blogs becomin. Check out Brandweek's piece on how McDonald's is creating an internal blog site for social networking for employees,Media Post piece on CocaCola installing bloggers for all games leading to the Final Four.
And on to some other good reads…some nice backgrounders by columnists for some of the latest NCAA qualifiers included Mark McGuire's piece i.the Albany Times Unio.on the one player left from an awful season who has made the Big Dancecolumn in the San Diego Union Tribune about the crazy ride USD has taken to reach the field of 64…we will try and find more of these types as the week goes, since they show how creative pitching and planning can lead to the bigger story behind the game fans and marketers love….lastly, check out Franz Lidz's piece on portfolio.com on the value of being an NBA reserve, as he followed the Raptors Darrick Martin…as always very well done and another example of solid pr folks finding the right audience for a good story.