In Today’s world, through the technological advancement of the Internet, we have the capability to access information like we never have before. Today, people always have a source for information right at their fingertips, whether it be through a computer, television, or a phone. And although the cheap, efficient, reliable source of printed newspaper will never be obsolete, its prominence and necessity within society and culture has subsided greatly. This is due to the institution of online news media and blogging into our lives, and our new found enjoyment of having an individual say in things. Today, people don’t have to trust in published journalists alone, and can receive their information from sources which we each find the most credible for us. Issues of amateurism and professionalism aside, blogging offers to all of us a voice, and possible influence, in any and all matters of discussion. Blogging then, is in essence a democratic process, and has a place in our nation, despite the many problems bloggers find themselves faced with. As Aaron Barlow (2008) explains in his book ‘Blogging America’, “ The ‘democratization’ of discussion broadens debate far beyond what can be found in traditional news media, where the only venue for most peoples expression is a letter-to-the-editor ghetto”(Pg. 4)
To represent this theory that blogging is bringing the discussion back to the popular control, you can look at a site like Profootballtalk.com . Profootballtalk is a news and rumor site focused on the National Football League. The site has only one creator and editor, Mike Florio, a lawyer and former employee of ESPN.com. Florio claims to “Hate all NFL teams equally”, which in return, gives to us his unbiased, relentless coverage of all teams and players, with no exceptions. Florio, as he’s known on the site, has no affiliation with the NFL. Through a network of league sources he covers all news on any NFL affiliates, from players and coaches to cheerleaders and front office officials. The sight is reportedly read by many NFL insiders and also acts as a watchdog for the league, reporting on inaccurate or biased stories from other media outlets. The sites feature ‘turd watch’, is a yearlong open NFL crime tally and competition, ranking teams based on the criminal activities of their members. The site also holds weekly live blogs for NFL games, provides a section for funny photo-shopped images, as well as providing a link to individual team news. Profootballtalk is highly active in users, and also well respected by other prominent sports columnists, most notably Peter King of SportsIllustrated.com.
Profootballtalk, underneath every broken story, offers an open blog for all net users and football fans to comment, a feature that is not offered by the hierarchal NFL.com or ESPN.com. These strings of conversation often spark commentary, arguments, and sometimes further elaboration or coverage from fans. The site is saturated with regulars who take it seriously and insist on commenting on every article covered by Florio. It’s also filled with diehard fans who strictly go to their teams news and information and comment strictly on their teams related stories.
Besides Profootball talk being fast to deliver information before other sources, it has also been known to cover on controversial issues first, while the NFL sanctioned news outlets are hesitant to. For instance, a New England Patriot cheerleader was kicked off the squad due to degrading pictures posted on her face-book page. This story was up and commented on before NFL.com and the Patriot official team site, while ESPN.com didn’t report it at all.
Profootballtalk is just as careful of protecting the NFL’s good name as the League itself, but does so in a more open and democratic venue. Rather than protecting it by withholding stories that would decrease the leagues face, Mike Florio and the users try to improve upon the league by providing feedback for and from fans on all issues surrounding it. The truth is, there are more way important matters in this world than football players and Sunday games, that blogging now allows us take part in. Politics and economics are just some topics that now, through getting the voice of the people into the discussion, we have broadened the terms and ideas of democracy. But outside of our everyday struggle as low, middle, and mid upper class citizens to fight the established order of things, we also have a right to get the most out of the things we derive pleasure from. Football is entertainment, and through Profootballtalk.com, we as fans are offered yet another time consuming way to entertain ourselves with that forum. Because Sunday and video games just wasn’t enough.