NYI Fan Central Goes Professional?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2008 10:28:00 AM |
For my vacation project before I depart I thought I would share something I did Friday with my readers.

I have no idea what the response will be (if anything) but on this day I contacted the current President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America, Kevin Allen and asked how I can become a member?

In this instance I told Mr Allen I would only print his response only if it was ok with him, as many know he does some very informative articles on the club in USA Today that are linked here often, I told him about my background covering hockey in cyberspace the last decade and invited him to view this blog.

No, this is not about me all of a suddenly wanting to do interviews or receive credentials to go into lockerooms, that has never been my interest but after a decade plus writing about hockey and over thirty years of being a fan of hockey and the New York Islanders reading articles why would I not be qualified to make my viewpoint on this blog professional?

At the very least the answer could help others who would like to know?

Why now, some may ask?
I always try and draw the line between Professional Writers and Independent amateur writers or folks with blogs which is a somewhat of a new name for an old practice of writing about hockey. I thought it would be a fun project to do some ground work on the subject for everyone.

I also stumbled onto an old article from the Islanders website back in April of 2006 where Miroslav Satan was cited by the Association for professionalism or the good guy award, what caught my attention was who made up the Long Island Chapter (Mark Herrmann notes he is a former President) of this association.

One individual was listed as a member off a website where basically anyone could write if they applied with some basic qualifications, the others were Mr Botte (Daily News) Mr Hahn (Newsday) Mr Grossman (Post) and two AP writers at the time.

So I visited that website and looked at their qualifications to become a writer. I will leave out the site and the writer because it's not about them or their site but how someone could become a member of the Association off of a website that had the following credentials to join:

From 2006:
Team Correspondent -
The site is seeking professional individuals who will be responsible for covering and reporting on a specific hockey team throughout the hockey season, as well as writing articles/columns on the specified team for our monthly publication. Each Team Correspondent must reside in the city of which he/she covers. The ideal candidate(s) must be a motivated team player, have a strong passion for the sport of hockey and solid understanding of the sport and the National Hockey League.
• Create monthly written material pertaining to the team assigned and covered.
• Reports to the Editor-in-Chief.
• Past or current sports journalism experience a necessity.
• University Degree and/or College Diploma in the field of journalism/media a plus.
• Excellent sports and hockey knowledge.
• Excellent verbal communication and written skills.
It should be noted outside of two Islander website/Newsday reports this site does not list a current article or writer for the New York Islanders to the best of my knowledge and even then they listed about a dozen clubs needing a writer.

About a decade ago I did a little inquiring on this subject and it led me to a site called McKeens Hockey which I'm sure a few of you know that does some fine work about prospects.

We did a phone interview after some e-mails and basically they wanted me to moderate their information forum and write articles but I declined at the time because it was also about generating revenue for the site and looking for advertisers while I only wished to write about hockey and the Isles prospects.

That led me to Hockey's Future where my qualification was they needed a writer and I guess running Islanders-Sound Tigers was enough after the other writer left.

From Jim Smith to George Vecesy to the days Mike Lupica covered the club and called the Nassau Coliseum Fort Neverlose there is nothing I have not seen written about this team. Marc Berman did a fantastic job on the beat for this team for the Post as did Doug Gould, Joe Gergen and sure folks like Larry Brooks were around in 1980 and of course Mark Herrmann and Jay Greenberg had a more active hand in hockey coverage in those days but back then hockey was a bigger player in the New York media.

Where will this lead?
In the best case scenario I guess New York Islander Fan Central submits an application and somewhere along the way can stamp the word " PROFESSIONAL " over everything I write here but because there is no spot for that on this blog and I'm not changing the header unless Garth Snow trades someone, I suppose I can put a sticky on my keyboard reminding me from time to time but that's about it.

Having written that maybe it could help a few other folks and a hockey market that desperately needs more professional writers and space for content as they ask why they cannot become a member?

I keep my opinion of amateur content off this site aside from noting their effort (on occasion) to bring us information but I can tell you the work from the Islanders blog box members and a lot of other fan sites writing about the club currently would be a vast improvement to what little coverage we receive now.

Anyway that's my pre-vacation project.

Time for a little summer color tweaking of the blog look, the traditional colors of NYI Fan Central will return. I guess we can call this look the road whites in an era where the sport badly needs a return to home clubs wearing white.

Home dark uniform looked out of place in the sixties and early seventies, it still does today.


  1. Professional: Something you have NOT been when commenting or understand other professional media.

    Just ask Mr. Logan, WHO WAS ON VACATION. Newsday Sports Editors decide who is assigned, where and when. Not Greg Logan.

    This was the same when you bitched about the the Post.

    Professional: means educating yourself and communicating with those in your field. Not sitting in judgment of others with not even a clue.

    Professional means showing up to games, being at stake, and interacting with others.

    Professional is in how you conduct yourself and provide your content.

    It is time to stop judging others and start judging yourself. Because the tag: Professional means you have a lot to go, my friend.

  2. Anonymous.

    You are welcome to e-mail any time you like to discuss this in more detail.

    To answer you as best I can:

    I feel even as an outsider I have been completely professional with this blog and it's content regarding it's media coverage, what I have not done is simply accept everything written because someone puts it in a newspaper or on a website.

    As to your points:
    1) Countless times I have made the made the point here Mr Logan writes when he editor tells his to and provides him his space. Having written that anyone who follows local hockey coverage does not see the same absences from their writers or their clubs at critical moments and when the other newsday beat writer constantly outblogs Mr Logan and even provides information for his readers on vacation I think it's more than fair to question why the New York Islanders in the only newspaper with a blog is constantly outworked and out blogged while Mr Zipay's coverage generates more page views and interest?

    It also begs the fair question where is the passion and motivation for our fans from this writer which only seems to come out when it's time to dig up dirt. Not for major club events or in this case a coaches press conference, in my estimation we have seen far too much negative while no hype for the positive.

    Regarding the NY Post your going to have to be specific but having written that...

    2) I have contacted the Post Phil Mushnik on at least two questions and asked about coverage and put the answers here for everyone. I also contacted Dan Martin and printed his response. Maybe you have not noticed but the Rangers and Devils have a dedicated writer and full time coverage while when Evan Grossman left a thirty year relationship of full time coverage ended in season.

    If you want to label my asking fair and hard questions about this or Mr Brooks perspective where he launches blind and unreasoning assaults on the club that do not support the facts about the Islanders by even his past articles, the long line of folks doing likewise forms to the left and stretches around the block.

    3) From what I understand of professional outside media who do articles a handful of times a year on the Islanders they do not even get a single quote from anyone much less educate themselves about the current state of the club. I do not sit in judgment, however I do ask fair and reasonable questions about the content and after someone does one paragraph on current events and then jumps right back to the late nineties it's clear that person has not done any research and has no knowledge and it's fair to ask why they have not educated themselves.

    4) Funny but you think Scott Burnside, Adam Proteau, and these days most of the city writers show up at games or interact with one another? From what I understand of Larry Brooks and John Dellapina by their past comments they mix like oil and water and in other sports many beat writers are cut-throat with the competition level 10x higher for exclusives and scoops among themselves then anything they report on happening in the game. I have no idea what you mean by being at stake and I do go to the games.

    Professional is in how you conduct yourself and provide your content.

    NYI Fan Central from day one said it was going to go in a somewhat different direction with hockey media and hold their articles and content under the microscope. I have been completely fair and professional in doing this and you do not have to be professional to display professionalism.

    Perhaps you should read the many other hockey sites that do likewise in a much stronger tone than this blog does but what I have done is bring this to coverage of the New York Islanders.

    5) My friend, no one sets a higher standard than myself when I ask these tough but fair questions and professionalism will always be the standard here when doing so.

    What's written determines the reaction and it changes as quick as the next article. Mr Fornabaio has been covering the Sound Tigers from day one and at no time I have asked questions of his content besides asking if his editor will allow coverage. He writes on every game his editor allows and blogs even when he is not attend games and he tells the players and the teams story, the work is outstanding on every level.

    Your entitled to write what you like about your version of my professionalism, just make sure your asking some of the same questions of yourself and as always everyone is welcomed to
    e-mail and discuss anything.

    Thank You

  3. You do have a tendancy to harp on Greg's ability to be there at certain times. And due to the nature of the Newsday sale, his vacation time was dictated. (And to cover Scott Gordon, he worked during it.) Newsday is our Long Island vehicle and if Greg is not available then Katie Strang, Mark Herrmann and Erik Booland(sp) are. All of whom do a pretty good job. No press conference has gone uncovered, no event unattended. When it comes to "passion," please understand that I have had conversations with Managing editors of major papers who have told me passion has nothing to do with sports writing. They are there to be objective and follow any lead and spill any information. (I was also basically told "... and you could never work for me." because I am too close and far from objective. That being said... Dear God! Let's see what happens now that the Evil Dolan empire is in charge!!!
    PS... I kinda like the home whites. These older eyes find it much easier to read! Thanks!

  4. Hi Dee,

    Thanks for letting me know what other managing editors told you.

    I will tell you what I think and put it all on the table out of respect knowing you will likely not agree but hope you will at least consider some of it.

    I'm afraid my harping on a lack of coverage is going to continue regardless of who or what publication it comes from unless it improves. When the work is good you can bet I will give out the credit just as quick as I always do the criticism as always.

    It would be very easy and no doubt more popular for me to sit back and ignore this but I promised I would put the media under the spotlight as part of this blog.

    I have noticed you have been critical of Newsday writers as well at times for the content. I can appreciate the bond and friendship you may have with Mr Logan but this is strictly about coverage and for me he has to be treated like everyone else.

    If Mr Logan is going to be around for the negative things and to dish the dirt he should be around for Arbour night, DiPietro making the all-star game and when the coach is hired or at least he should be blogging like everyone else in the media does for their fans if he is not allowed the space by his editor.

    This team is covered in one newspaper and the beat writer for the other team outworks and out blogs him constantly unless there is something negative to stir up regarding the Islanders, then he's all over it.

    Truth is I have gone easy on Mr Logan who seems to mix with DiPietro like oil and water and would rather sit silent than give him any hype when he earns it. No doubt Mr Logan plays favorites among these players and did not run down Guerin when he played hurt or was ineffective or Comrie/Sillinger who struggled for long stretches playing hurt.

    Meanwhile Zipay and other writers were hyping Lundqvist for playing with his father sick and excusing or ignoring his struggles for months. DiPietro lost a family member and it was turned into a fire storm where he was portrayed as selfish and Greg Logan wrote the word hard-headed about him on 3/20 even though Nolan never said that.

    Right there that tells me Greg Logan does not like Rick DiPietro and has issue with him.

    DiPietro had a few poor games after his grandmother passed away and not one writer gave him a pass despite him not making one critical comment about anyone.

    As for blogging Mr Logan can blog as often as he likes just like Mr Zipay and should take it personal his blog is less popular that the other one due to lack of updates given it's the only paper with a blog for our club.

    Mr Zipay is never off for major coverage, neither is Mr Brooks, Dellapina, Ms Zinser in the Times or Sam Weinman in the Journal News or Mr Foranbaio in the Ct Post and many of them have been in the media business as long as Mr Logan.

    Mr Logan feels no obligation to do more for us knowing our team is covered in one paper and when Mr Zipay blogs during his vacation, I think it's fair to ask where is he and why is the only paper with an Islander blog not the most active with the most updates when Mr Zipay is thanking his readers for making his blog the most viewed because of dedicated updates?

    I'm insulted and all Islander fans should be by this, Greg Logan should be too but he's outta here and could clearly care less.

    Mr Botta ripped Newsday a few years ago in April 2006 for poor coverage on the club's website, nothing new happening here and there is past precedent for team problems with the paper.

    I'm far from alone in asking these questions.

    I'm insulted when our beat writer is AWOL when a coach is hired meanwhile he was around for every bit of dirt and gossip he could report on the previous one and even slammed the club's media policy and was not off when it came to interviewing Gandler which produced another misleading headline and retraction in June?

    I have never seen one of the writers I listed above miss a major team event for their fans, I post the daily articles and they rarely miss a day of coverage.

    Greg Logan did not miss them when he was on the Ranger beat which is selectively left out of his Newsday profile.

    It's not acceptable on any level nor should our fans sit back and sit silent on it. Someone has to write about it so I guess it will be me whether it's popular or not because it's the right thing to do.

    Frankly I hate having to do it.

    As for Mark Herrmann he never would have pulled on Garth Snow
    on another gm in this town, he lives to make the Islanders viability an issue whenever he can and even made it his theme at the PC while he clearly did not like being taken to task by Snow.

    Meanwhile Mark Herrmann needed a lobster bib for all the drooling he did for Jagr and the Rangers last season despite how mediocre they were. Jagr scores a goal to make a 3-0 series 3-1 and could not stop raving about him meanwhile Yashin did the same (with a lot less talent) and reporters like Herrmann were running him out of town because he could not get more out of Kvasha and Randy Robitaille?

    Can you imagine the public beating Wang, Snow and this club would have gotten if they had paid Drury and Gomez that kind of money and Yashin did not play with them?

    Media gave it a total pass for Jagr and the Rangers, Mr Logan could only tell us last summer the Isles made the same offer but omitted the front-loaded part of those contracts and bonus money.

    Fans can write for papers too and editors are fans of teams themselves and they do play favorites for the same reason Martin Brodeur will always be considered under-rated and kept under the radar.

    When the Rangers went out in five Mark Herrmann completely ignored it
    and reported on some fans in California not how they spent 90m on two centers who could not play with the star right wing or how brutal Drury was for his paycheck.

    When the Isles lose come playoff time Wang, DiPietro, Snow and the Isles take the usual public beating. The Rangers lost eight years in row and did not take this kind of beating spending 80 million and Sather's past here is not even mentioned anymore.

    Sorry Dee, for me it's a double-standard.

    It's not even a Ranger issue for me but I use them in comparison because they are the other team covered in the local papers.

    My guess is we will begin to see the Cablevision effect when winter sports season begins unless he outright sells his teams.

    Would not shock me a year from now if Dolan sold the Garden and bough the Isles from Wang, they tried to buy the Isles from Pickett before they looked at Msg.

    Thanks again, I will try and tweak the colors to make the white
    bolder when I switch back to the blue background.


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