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, 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.

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Companies: los angeles kings, nhl

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Comments on “The Los Angeles Kings Hires A Reporter To Cover… Themselves”

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PRMan (profile) says:

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.

Misanthropist (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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

Misanthropist (profile) says:

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.

Haywood says:

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.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

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.

PRMan (profile) says:

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.

sublimation says:

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.

TW (profile) says:

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.

Micah says:

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.

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