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Fan Vs. Reporter and Why Maybe Ray Isn’t Supposed To Get It

Admin IconWe set up penaltykill.net to fill that gap many hockey fans feel when it comes to the media’s lack of reporting on the NHL. Our vision is to have a huge source of quality, fan-based reporting where those passionate about the game can come and enjoy the banter that only other hockey fans can appreciate. But reading Ray Ratto’s article referred to in sharksfan’s entry, we may have to refine that vision.

Blogging is basically passionate commentary on a specific topic. As a fan I want to talk about the game from my side of the glass, where the love of the game and the game-time experience are the foundation of the fan experience. Fans love the game, they love their team, they hate their rivals. You can get completely absorbed and invested in your team but, come April through June, if your team gets eliminated it hurts but no one really GETS hurt. And at the end of the day, there IS always next year.

As a student of the media I was taught that reporters are supposed to be objective and simply report the facts. Anyone who reads an Associated Press article on hockey can see that yes, they are strictly reporting the facts. Many local sports reporters, mostly print, have sort of a hybrid job - some days they’re reporters and report the facts, other times they publish editorial commentary. Because they write both I think unconsciously we, the fans, interpret their commentary as news. There’s nothing wrong with that because, unlike real news, you can blur that line when it comes to sports.

When Ray ‘reported’ that the Sharks were guilty of selling themselves as better than they were my reaction was ‘guilty of what?’ If the Sharks put up 108 points, won their division and played some entertaining playoff games – I’d say that qualifies as pretty darn good. Ray underestimates a good sports fan. If a team tells us they’re good and you’re really not – we’ll know. Fans are better at evaluating expectations than you might think.

So even though we set out to provide a source of NHL ‘reporting’ written by fans what we’re probably going to end up with is more along the lines of fan commentary. That’s fine, because since our primary guideline is a community free of derogatory remarks, at ‘the .Net’ no one gets hurt.

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