Over the next week or so, Josh will recap some of his adventures at Blogs With Balls 2.0, the new sports media conference held last weekend in Las Vegas, presented by FoxSports.com, Yardbarker.com, ESPN.com, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, Diageo Liquors and CarbonPoker. This is one of those anecdotes, including a recap of the two days of panel discussion at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
I was expecting Blogs With Balls to be some sort of an in-Blogfrica circle jerk, where the panelists talk about how great they were, and then pretend to offer their “expertise” to the masses. Instead, I was treated to solid discussion and insight from a terrific blend of media people, from bloggers to journalists to a variety of other professional people that use media in any conceivable way. The HHR Media Group and its partners put on a terrific event. It was beautifully paced and well-attended, with the outstanding panels were the foundation for that event.
Some of the more notable people at the conference include:
Greg Wyshynski, Yahoo!’s “Puck Daddy.” Greg mentioned during his panel that he got his start in print media, but it was clear that he was displeased about how professional teams are treating bloggers. As Greg stated in his recap of the event:
9. While I don’t think it’s fair, bloggers providing free labor to massive media organizations is obviously a name-recognition, foot-in-the-door sort of thing. But for that organization to refuse to even attempt to credential a blogger providing free labor is unprofessional; and yet it’s the norm.
I argued that even though I write at the Washington Post’s NFL blog, that I’ve never asked for credentials, and honestly think they would serve no benefit to the quality of my work. This was just one of the many positive debates that transpired over the conference.
John Kralis, Red’s Army [Celtics blog]. Sat on the panel with Greg and, as I recall, asked a question during each of the panels, and even allowed his blog to serve as a case study during the “Building Your Brand and Growing Your Bottom Line” panel. Seemed like a cool guy; I wish I would have introduced myself to him.
Andrew Bucholtz, Sporting Madness. I’ve jokingly called this British Columbia native the Canadian Ninja because of his stealthy style of networking, but Andrew was one of my Twitter pals that I never would have met had I not made the trip. He wasn’t on a panel, but I thought he was a neat guy.
Ron Wechsler, ESPN VP of Content Development. Ron had a lot to say about how the monolith is adapting to this new information age; one of the things I took away from his contribution was how ESPN juggles its need to verify information in a journalistic sense and still compete in what’s now literally an instant news environment.
Kevin Blackistone, Fanhouse. The veteran of ESPN’s “Around The Horn” iterated that ESPN’s venture into local markets has created more (and better) opportunities to write about sports for pay. He used the term “talent war” to describe how ESPN and traditional local media are creating higher wages for sports columnists.
I actually spoke with Kevin at length at the ESPN 30 for 30 party, and he is a seriously cool dude, although I’m pretty sure that he caught me trying to record our conversation, which I regret doing without asking him first. I guess you can take the blogger out of guerrilla journalism…
Of course, the only issue with this is that Blogs With Balls 3.0 will almost certainly be a disappointment, unless they have it on the moon. Yeah, that’s the big obstacle that new media faces: too much gravity. If anyone else has a recap of BWB, email me and I’ll link it up here. Thanks.