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Why fans and readers need unfiltered media

Posted May 2, 2011 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated May 2, 2011 at 06:04 PM

A quick time out here before I finish off my story to advance Game 3 against Washington, to pass along a thought here about something that is becoming increasingly more common.

The Washington Capitals are at the forefront of team generated stories, blogs and videos to provide fans with plenty of content to feed an appetite for the fan base. And in many ways, the Caps do a great job of this and their fans love it. And Washington is not the only team to do it, by any means. Tampa Bay has started to generate plenty of videos, hire freelance writers to produce stories for their official web site and have used Chris Dingman quite a bit recently to provide insight and ask questions to players from a players perspective.

But here is a bit of a problem when fans rely solely on team generated content, which is the way many teams would like to have it, the content/message is filtered. You get to see and hear what the team wants you to see and hear. That’s a rosy world the team wants to create, they don’t want controversy, they don’t want negativity to cloud the mind of a fan who might otherwise look to buy a ticket or team merchandise.

And this is what I mean . . . 
Most teams will put out quote sheets after games as an aid to reporters who are unable to talk to everybody they want after games, but are still able to add in a comment from a particular player or coach. These can be tremendous aids for us to do our job at times, and it’s something I have often used.
But the validity of the comments can not always be trusted, as evidenced by this last night from Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, who was asked about how the Capitals are going to deal with a 0-2 hole in the series against Tampa Bay.

Here is what Ovechkin said: ““We’re going there, and we’re going to win two games,’’ Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said. “It’s going to be hard, but right now in this situation, we have to win.’’

On the quote sheet provided by the Capitals, here is how they quoted Ovechkin: “Well, the series is not over.  We’re going to go there and going to have to win two games and it’s going to be hard. We have to win.”

Do you see the difference?

Now, I’m not saying this was done intentionally, it could have been an honest mistake. Or, it could have been the team trying to protect Ovechkin from a negative light, where they want to avoid controversy after Ovechkin said the team was GOING to win two games in Tampa, which is just short of saying a guarantee of two victories. After all, if a player makes that kind of bold statement, and it doesn’t come through, well, they he would be painted in a bad light.

But imagine if Joe Namath had been filtered? Or Mark Messier, all in the name of a team trying to protect a player.

And the audio of Ovechkin can be heard, were it is clear what he said listen here

I’m sure Washington is not the only team to do this, and I only know because I’ve seen the exact quote in other newspaper stories today and wanted to use it for today. But when I went to the quote sheet the team provided, I noticed the difference and went back to the audio file to listen again for myself.

I’m sure you guys will let me know, but if I’m off my rocker, or you just don’t care, I would be interested to hear what you have to say on the subject?

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