Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Hockey Writers On CBC News - Online Media Slowly Merging With The Mainstream

This article was first published in the February 16th edition of Main Street Magazine and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by Main Street Week News to have a look at a great community newspaper or sign up and have Main Street Magazine delivered right to your inbox.

During my career as a sports columnist, I have experienced many “firsts” - the first big interview, my first time on the radio as a guest, and two weeks ago, my debut on The Hockey Writers Live radio show as a co-host. Last Thursday was another first in my career, an appearance on national television as a guest on the CBC morning news.

At 10pm on Wednesday evening, I received a call from my editor at The Hockey Writers; the CBC had contacted him wanting one of the writers to discuss the new arena proposal in Quebec City from a hockey perspective. By 11pm, I was on the telephone with a CBC producer from Toronto. After a 40 minute pre-interview, I was booked for the morning news program and an interview on live television with Heather Hiscox. Too excited to sleep, I tossed and turned all night; the next thing I knew it was 6am and I was heading out the door of my apartment for the ten-minute walk to the CBC studios in Ottawa. While it was certainly great exposure for myself as a writer (it went great by the way!), it was also an incredible achievement for The Hockey

There has been an ongoing debate in recent years about the battle between the mainstream media and online writers. The mainstream media will have you believe that they are the only legitimate news sources that exist and if you write online, you are not and never will be a “true” journalist. For those not familiar with the world of online sports writing, there are two distinct levels or writing - the “bloggers” that take a more fan-based approach, which can be a lot of fun to read but not always accurate, and there are the news sources. True journalists and columnists working hard to deliver accurate information and fact based opinions on a daily basis.

Originating out of Montreal, The Hockey has over 50 hard working writers, dedicated to providing news from around the NHL and the hockey world. The site’s owner, Bruce Hollingdrake, is very careful when it comes to the types of writers working for the site and the content posted there. Through a lot of his own hard work and dedication, Bruce has brought The Hockey Writers to where it is today - getting phone calls from the CBC, looking for information from his team of writers!

While it is easy for the mainstream to dismiss online journalists and columnists, in this ever-increasing mobile world we live in, the ability to reach hundreds, if not thousands of readers instantaneously, is an incredible accomplishment. The Hockey Writers is much like our very own Main Street Magazine - news from the Laurentians can be delivered right to our inbox every week, filled with articles and opinions from excellent writers. Does it have less credibility because it arrives via the Internet? Absolutely not!! The same applies to sites like The Hockey Writers.

Last Thursday’s appearance on the CBC marked an important milestone for myself and The Hockey Writers. A national news outlet with many of their own talented sports broadcasters contacted us, proving that the line between the “mainstream” and the “new media” is closer to disappearing altogether, which is a good thing for all of us.

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