Share/E-mail This Story

Email This



The Los Angeles Kings Hires A Reporter To Cover... Themselves

from the changing-models-of-journalism dept

As we've discussed here before, the biggest beneficiaries of sports reporting are probably the teams themselves. The more news & analysis that is published about a team, the more relevant they remain in the public eye -- no stories, and the teams risk falling into oblivion. So, it's interesting to see that the hockey team, Los Angeles Kings, has recently hired its own full time reporter to cover the team. Rich Hammond once covered the Kings for the Los Angeles Daily News, and has been given complete autonomy to post commentary and stories on the Kings' web site, kings.nhl.com. Sure, some are wary of how "impartial" this news will be if the reporter is on the Kings' payroll; but really, that contention really plays a bit moot nowadays. In an era where the audience is no longer beholden to a few media outlets, the supposed guise of impartiality is less important, replaced by the more useful quality of transparency and accountability. If Hammond reports with genuine, well thought-out coverage, then his audience will reward him with their trust and readership, regardless of where his paycheck comes from.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 4:16am

    PR vs Reporting

    So he is really more of a PR guy than a reporter. If he is just reporting on the facts of the games, what the team is doing between games, etc, then I see no problem here. If he really tries to do "reporting" then I see a problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Misanthropist (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 4:42am

    you have no idea...

    you have no idea how hard I am trying to come up with a way to tie in the disgust I have for the current "sports reporting theater".

    Anyways, espn has made me hate all sports with their absurdities.

    So as long as this guy doesn't do the types of stupid stuff that espn and their ilk do, then I have a feeling this will be one of the best investments ever made by a sports team.

    What fans desire in their sports reporting is emotional ties to their team. If he can deliver this, noone will care where his paycheck comes from.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 4:53am

    Sure, some are wary of how "impartial" this news will be if the reporter is on the Kings' payroll.

    i don't think that should be an issue in this case, instead of getting a publicist (marketing expert) they got a professional writer.

    i bet they would get better results if they got someone to keep there facebook page updated

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 4:53am

    IF...

    A reporter being paid by the team will not/can not report impartially. Its a good idea but management will soon be putting their own "spin" on the ball, or puck if you will. They will not be able to stop themselves as the old adage will always ring true: Managers must manage!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    dwind (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 4:56am

    So, why is this different from the radio and tv announcers that are employed by the teams?
    I don't expect unbiased or 'secret' breaking information unless it's authorized by the team.
    It does keep the team in the news.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Misanthropist (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    Re: IF...

    A reporter being paid by the team will not/can not report impartially.

    So? What exactly are the fans of the team looking for? someone to make unwarranted offhand insults at the players every time they win a game? Not likely... They want someone to tell them how awesome their favorite team is. They want.. EMPATHY! They desire a greater emotional connection to their team. (you know.. that whole CwF thing?)

    Oh, and the local newspapers reporting on their local teams for the past.. forever? They have been partial to their team too.

    You know what? That's what the fans wanted. That's why they read the newspaper.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Haywood, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    Isn't all sports reporting biased and hyped

    Seems to me that most sports reporters are really cheerleaders. The local economy benefits from sports teams being in their city, and sports reporters are PR men with a very few who behave as critics. I personally can't see why people spend money to see a bunch of individuals chasing a ball, puck or whatever around an arena, but they do. I suspect their lives are so empty any filler will do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    matt (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    Re: Isn't all sports reporting biased and hyped

    I think their lives are as full(or more) as someone taking potshots at sports fans behind the anonymity the internet provides. Try not judging everyone by what you like or think is fulfilling, (cliche coming) to each their own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 5:52am

    The sports media has always been in bed with the sports franchises and leagues. When was the last time your local newspaper, any of the 24 hour a day sports channels, or any of the sports magazines covered how terrible the NFL treats its players?

    The sports media in this country is nothing more than journalistic cheerleaders. Whether the reporter is paid directly by the franchise or indirectly through advertising dollars, the result is the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    imbrucy (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    MLB's done this for a while. On MLB.com each team has their own reporter who follows with them all season. As a Cards fine it's Matthew Leach. It really is quite cool because he writes summaries and previews for everygame as well as keeps the fans updated about other things about the organization like trade rumors and minor leagues.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Davis Freeberg, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    What about play by Tweet?

    The real question is whether or not pro hockey will see the benefit in letting him (and fans) live blog the games or if they'll feel their own pitch man is stealing non-existent coverage of their games by providing the casual fan with a way to get hooked on the sport.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Misanthropist (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 6:15am

    Re: What about play by Tweet?

    noone seriously cares about reporting via tweet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Mechwarrior, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 6:27am

    Are the Bloods going to get a PR agent to arrange drive by shootings now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Ian, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    I'm sorry, but are we really getting our knickers in a twist over fairness and impartiality in coverage of a ... hockey team?

    They're paying a guy to write for their web site, not subsidizing a reporter at the LA TIMES.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    CSGAS, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    NASCAR's done the same thing for decades...NASCAR reporters are not even respected by other motorsports organizations anymore (when was the last time you saw Jenna Fryer write about USAC or IMCA; or any other sport?) so "home of entertainment" is running a long way behind on this PR move.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    sublimation, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 8:21am

    NHL coverage or Lack thereof

    Without going into the poor life decisions the NHL has made for itself over the last 15 years or so, they are a fifth tier sport in the US and won't ever truly be more passing fancy to the average American sports fan. Don't get me wrong, I love hockey. However it comes as no surprise that he Kings would hire their own reporter. The media outlets that would devote a single reporter to an NHL team outside of pre-existing hockey centers of interest (generally known as "places where it snows") are far and few between. Heck, I live in the Bay Area and the San Francisco Chronicle uses the AP for their San Jose Sharks coverage. Hmm... wait a minute, maybe the Sharks could use their own reporter... Uh,... end transmission.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    Re: PR vs Reporting

    "So he is really more of a PR guy than a reporter."

    His blog is currently the LA Daily News' highest circulation blog. And his readers, Kings fans, love him to death for the in-depth coverage. His blog is the first place true Kings fans go for the latest news on the Kings.

    Believe me, he asks the GM whether trade rumors are true, etc. It's not a contentious relationship, but he will ask difficult questions if he has to. The reality is that no reporter can afford to be too contentious toward people he expects to interview every day.

    Luc Robitaille (VP of Marketing and Media) has given him "full rei(g)n" to continue to do exactly what he has been doing. He wants nothing to change with regards to his relationship with the team.

    This move was prompted by financial troubles at the LA Daily News where Hammond is near the chopping block despite the outstanding work that he does. Also, he hasn't traveled with the team much lately because of budget cuts, making it even more amazing when you see the quality of what he does.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re:

    "They're paying a guy to write for their web site, not subsidizing a reporter at the LA TIMES."

    Actually, if you knew the situation, this is subsidizing an outside reporter from the LA Daily News, who, although he now works for the Kings, is supposed to still act as an outsider and will be given the reins to do so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: What about play by Tweet?

    Actually, they have already requested (not demanded) that he not live tweet the games (while he was working for the LA Daily News). He honored their request.

    They also asked him not to let his commenters post live links to shady web sites with the games on them (again, while working at the Daily News). He has honored that request as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Re: NHL coverage or Lack thereof

    Hmm... wait a minute, maybe the Sharks could use their own reporter...

    If hiring their own reporter could somehow help them get past the first round of the playoffs, I'm all for it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    TW (profile), Sep 29th, 2009 @ 11:50am

    Not that uncommon...

    The Chicago Bulls went this route almost a year ago, hiring Sam Smith (a well-known basketball writer) away from the Chicago Tribune. When I first heard about the move, I definitely wondered about objectivity, etc. Smith hasn't always been a cheerleader for the Bulls. He wrote a couple of books on Michael Jordan back in the day, at least one of which seemed to rub MJ the wrong way. So, I wondered if he would still "call them like he saw them" while on the Bulls' payroll. Reading some of his recent columns, he seems like pretty much the same writer. Now, I'm not sure if he wanted to write something scathing about management or a player if it would still get posted on the site. But, as several people have noted, most sports writing is of the rah-rah variety and writers that go to work for a team's website probably do have to focus more on positive stories and leave the harsh criticism to their colleagues not employed by the teams.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Micah, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Just my two cents:

    I have been a consistent reader of Rich Hammond's Daily News blog "Inside the Kings" for a few years, and he has always been the best example to me of a journalist, in that he presents facts, withholds judgment, and let's his readers make up their minds.

    He has promised to continue doing this without fear of retribution from the Kings' brass, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because I truly believe he is one of the best sports journalists out there.

    I think it is a great idea of the Kings to do this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Dave, Sep 29th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    Could work

    This sounds as if it would only work with this particular reporter from the posts above. I admire the effort at innovation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This