I’m a big sports fan and love to get as much information as possible. The web is a goldmine and quality blogs are a constant source of enjoyment.
Truehoop is one of the big daddies in the sports blogging universe. Earlier this year, the blog, written by Henry Abbott, was acquired by ESPN. The move clearly was a bid for traffic and street cred on ESPN’s part, and Abbot was able to create some security for himself, as well as get more access to more places.
The transition has been pretty smooth, and the blog has kept most of its good points. (Sometimes now it gets carried away with longer-form journalism, but that’s a matter of personal taste.)
Earlier this year, TrueHoop launched the TrueHoop Network, a collection of blogs about specific NBA teams. Loyal followers of TrueHoop have been grumbling about the blog lately, and a touchpoint has been the introduction of the network. Abbott took time today to try to answer the critics.
In his explanation, he elegantly summarized the challenge facing the content creators in this new media paradigm. It is the other side of the coin from the worry that traditional journalism will go the way of newspapers.
The underlying reality of the network is not offensive. There are, out there, passionate and talented writers churning out high-grade basketball content essentially for free. They are driven by a love of the game. What’s sinister about shining a spotlight on that?
I think there’s a sense that somehow ESPN may have corrupted TrueHoop by forcing me to get involved in this evil scheme for global media domination. The truth is the opposite: I was rallying bloggers to the idea of a network before I ever got to ESPN. I’m thrilled to have convinced people at the mothership to take this idea for a spin.
The TrueHoop Network means the world to me, and as long as I have any say about it, it’s not going anywhere.
Remember, the model of old local media — the way most of you follow your team — is almost completely broken. If you want reliable coverage of your team day in and day out, it’s going to come from some a business model that is new or not yet existent. The TrueHoop Network model — independent writers, owning and potentially profiting from their own sites, while having their best work rewarded with attention from one of the web’s busiest sites — is a decent place to start.