This week, we’ve seen two people who are crying out for a blog: Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for the Vice Presidency of the U.S.A. and Joe Kinnear, the caretaker manager of Newcastle United Football Club. Both have been the targets what one could call “the media narrative” or hostile bias.
Mrs Palin, the Governor of Alaska, let off steam in an interview on Fox News here.
Joe Kinnear vented with a lot of “c” and “f” four letter words here.
In both cases, they suffer from the need to communicate to an audience in order to succeed. But both are people that the media has decided must fail: one for being a Republican, the other for being old and not photogenic.
They both need to break out of the media box and interact with the public. Joe Kinnear bluntly announced he will not give press conferences again and will offer exclusives to two local newspapers, as a way of communicating to Newcastle FC supporters.
I’d like to think that Governor Palin is much too nice, but may have fantasized, to have this exchange with Katie Couric:
Joe Kinnear: Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror’s north-east football writer]?
Simon Bird: Me.
JK: You’re a c**t.
SB: Thank you.
Funnily enough, I anticipated this sort of thing in 2003 when the Big Blog Company was starting up. I was asked by its founders to suggest some ideas for the types of businesses that would want to blog.
I said: “politicians and football clubs.”
I was very gently informed that I was completely wrong. Politicians could never tell the truth long enough to write a credible blog and football cannot possibly involve a communication, besides its sport and sport has nothing to do with blogging.
I regret to say that the Big Blog Company, despite some success, has never really made it as a major business. But, if instead of ignoring my suggestions, tBBC had taken the idea seriously, we can see where this could have led.
One cleverest use of blogging in the sporting world has been by the Association of Tennis Professionals to boost the popularity (and therefore commercial bankability) of tennis players. The ATP offered blogs for ALL ITS MEMBERS. Here are a couple of examples.
Today, the hardcore tennis fan reads the players views directly, unfiltered by the media. The media get their stories from the blogs too, but on terms dictated by the players. Someone, somewhere, has made a lot of money setting up these blogs.
It’s a shame that a silly bias against sport as a serious business meant that it wasn’t tBBC.
With politicians, to be fair, it would have been very hard to ignore the political blogging going on in the early 2000s. The business strategy I would have proposed would have been to offer all the political parties a deal to set up blogs for all parliamentary candidates. And I would have offered the Welsh Nationalists to do it for free as a demonstration for the other parties (about 38 seats in Wales last time I looked). But 633 seats in the Westminster Parliament.
As with tennis players under the ATP brand, a fair amount of standardization would have been possible. Lots of boot camps for politicians (tennis players I suspect don’t do group events quite as well).
But this wasn’t a business that tBBC wanted. Perhaps they should bid to do the PalinBlog and the JKblog.