Image Credit: Adamos Maximus
NASCAR announced the formation of Citizen Journalists Media Corps last month, but named the members of this group in a press release on July 17.
“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response since our initial announcement to form the NASCAR Citizen Journalist Media Corps last month,” said NASCAR managing director of corporate communications Ramsey Poston. “More voices speaking about NASCAR is good for the sport and is fan-friendly. We intend to make the most of the changing media landscape.”
So what exactly is the Citizen Journalists Media Corps? It’s a group of 28 sites that will have the opportunity to apply for media credentials in addition to access to NASCAR media teleconferences and their media website. NASCAR still views traditional media as “the cornerstone of NASCAR news and information,” but they understand that they need to have other forms of media to supplement the traditional media to satisfy fans’ thirst for information.
The members were decided through a “lengthy review process, which included evaluating independent Web sites on professionalism, reporting and commentary, and use of social networking tools.” As I discussed in my recent developing a blogger policy post, it’s important to thoroughly investigate blogs and websites before issuing a credential because not every blog/site is the same.
As members at the SportsJournalists.com forum pointed out, some of the site members are actually run by former journalists on the NASCAR beat. They were laid off due to the struggling newspaper industry and decided to start their own independent websites covering the sport. This move looks like NASCAR saw the number of traditional media members covering their sport shrinking and wanted to take the initiative to ensure fans could still get the coverage they wanted.
What I find ironic is for many years NASCAR wanted no part in dealing with many of these sites, nor were tracks interested in granting them credentials — mostly for reasons that dealt with their “legitimacy.”
So now, we are to understand to be granted access, these sites will be reviewed for their “professionalism, reporting and commentary and use of social networking tools.”
Does anyone believe that these sites have improved recently in these areas, which prompts their invitation? Or is it more likely NASCAR’s definition of “legitimacy” among media outlets has expanded in proportion to the empty seats in media centers?
What do you guys think of this move by NASCAR? I believe we’ll continue to see more and more bloggers in press boxes and media centers in minor leagues, NASCAR, NHL, and any league/team that is not getting the media coverage they want and have room in the press box to credential bloggers.