Modern media publications review movies, television shows and rock albums, but no one reviews blogs, the question is why? Obviously, it’s easy to review static mass media items that aren’t changing once they initially are produced much more easily than the dynamic and the evolving world of blogs.
Of course, some aspects of certain blogs are pretty consistent, and with regular features running all the time, there is enough remaining the same so that one can accurately critique. Obviously, to do a feature like this, the number of blogs out there must be small, and the market size niche- like we have with Northwestern.
I could never take on this task for Ohio State because there are at least a dozen sites out there attempting to satisfy the insatiable thirst for “Buckeye knowledge” among the thousands of Buckeye NUTJOB SUPERFANS (Bucknuts, Buckeye Grove, the O-Zone, Buckeye Sports 247, 11 Warriors, inside the shoe, around the shoe, soles of your shoe, al bundy sold women’s shoes, I made those last two up…at least if those domain names do exist, I’m not aware of it yet.
Of course I cover OSU regularly for The Sports Bank, so I really don’t know why I’m even plugging these other sites.
For those of you unaware of what a fan site is, especially in this age of the internet superfan, I suggest you read chpater 13 of “Death to the BCS” by Dan Wetzel, Jeff Passan and Josh Peter. A snippet from page 136 “Nearly every major conference program has between two and four sites dedicated to it. Blogs- from the wry Every Day Should be Saturday to the hyper local MGOBlog that covers Michigan offer coverage at a depth never before contemplated.”
To aid in my quest to evaluate the NU blogs, I enlisted the help of Chicago Tribune Northwestern beat writer Teddy Greenstein, and the two Northwestern recruiting site proprietors: (Scout) Purple Wildcats’ Chris Emma and (Rivals) Wildcat Report‘s Louie Vaccher.
Is there a conflict of interest in having other news content creators review these sites? Yeah, probably.
But I myself provide NU news content, so we already know without question, LOL! what the two greatest NU sites are -The Sports Bank.net and Chicago Now.
Nonetheless, these three gentlemen are the guys who I always see at press row in Evanston, so they’re the three I trust the most in evaluating the three main NU fan sites.
Synopsis: For years, they had a banner that read something to the effect of “the definitive (read: only) Northwestern football site.” Well, they made a huge step forward when they got rid of that banner, (and removed the UGLY eblogger logo within it). They also removed the blogspot from their domain name which also increases their credibility in my eyes. Which is why I’m not reviewing sites such as Carmody’s Court or Fire Bill Carmody for this feature.
Not just because the name for those sites is LAME, but if your domain name and site layout is default, you’re not really trying. It’s bush league to not go the professional route of having your own unique layout and URL. It’s not even worth ripping on those sites beyond that.
LTP has gotten better as competition to cover the team expanded. Not being the only dog on the porch forced them to step their game up, and they have quality interview subjects regularly.
Greenstein: “LTP is $$. It’s incredibly thorough and well written. It’s written for fans and alums but doesn’t pander to them like sycophantic fan sites at other schools. Makes me proud to be an alum. I’m friends with Mr. LTP, whose identity might still be a secret.”
Emma: I do enjoy these blogs. Each provides an interesting look at Northwestern. Lake The Posts does a great job with its daily posts, covering all aspects of NU athletics.
Vaccher: Of course, I read those sites whenever I get a chance. I’ve never met LTP in person, but he’s been a WR subscriber for years and I check out his site all the time. I applaud him for all of his efforts to boost attendance.
2. Spread Far the Fame:
Synopsis: was independent, but has since moved to Chicago Now. Love the fact it references the fight song. Ryan, not sure if he’s revealed his last name yet, does a good job with humor and insight, hilarious and creative graphics. My main bone to pick with this site is they don’t post nearly often enough, especially in the offseason. On-season they post more, but could stand to post more regularly when news breaks.
Vaccher: Sippin’ on Purple is run by Rodger Sherman, who covered football last fall and this spring for me. He is a very funny writer. I check out Spread Far the Fame and Hail to Purple, as well.
Synopsis: Rodger Sherman leads the NU blog which was one of the final teams to fill out the SB Nation roster. You gotta love the name, referencing the ghetto fab drink to name a blog devoted to a school where tuition is over $55,000 a year. This site REALLY hit it hard during the whole “will they or won’t they make the NCAA Tournament?” time as SoP had non-stop updates that rivaled any bracketology nerd. They kept you informed as to how that tourney bubble was shrinking as that story grew in importance.
Of course, the reason that story became so big wasn’t because so many people actually cared if NU would get in or not, it was because so many prominent national sports media personalities happen to be NU alums, and they had no qualms about hyping up this story.
Emma: “Sippin On Purple is definitely one of my favorites. Rodger and Loretta8, the site’s operators, are always entertaining, especially during games”
Greenstein: “Sippin is cool, and that Loretta guy is a damn fine tweeter. I always think of Mark Loretta whenever I see that name. And then I feel guilty because I covered NU baseball for The Daily Northwestern in 1992 and have no recollection of ever talking to Mark Loretta. All he did was play in the bigs for 15 years.”
So there you have it. If/when I decided to do this feature for…Bears (too many, probably not gonna happen), Cubs (maybe the same story, we’ll see), White Sox, Blackhawks, Illini, DePaul, Bulls etc. which sites would you like reviewed? List ’em here below
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.