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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Media is a funny animal

After another great weekend of watching some ‘grass roots’ racing at ThunderHill Raceway featuring the TSRS (Texas Super Racing Series) and the Nascar Grand National Camping World West Series, there are still some that will complain. This year it seems that the complaints are coming for Media members who were denied their media access to this event due to not filling out the proper paper work in advance.

What the writer omits is that while this event was held at a ‘local track’, there were procedures put into place that were dictated not only by the race promoter (Full Throttle Productions), but also most likely by Nascar itself. So the writer’s statement of;

“I can understand if this happened maybe at Daytona, Talledega or Texas Motor Speedway. But we are talking about Thunderhill Raceway, a 3/8-mile short track in Kyle, Texas.”

is moot. The reason is simple, and because this was a Nascar Sanctioned event, one could assume beyond a reasonable doubt that media procedures would be different than a normal race weekend at THR.A couple of years ago, David Poole got on one of his whining-blogs about how the treatment of the media has changed over the years. He went on to complain about the free food offered, and even one time went so far as to complain about the live entertainment at the ‘press banquet’ in NYC during the awards ceremony week.

Sometime these guys (and gals) need to step back, and spend some race weekend as ‘just a normal race fan’, which includes making sure that they understand the tracks rules before ever leaving the house. Paying to park (if charged) and not parking within a stones throw of the venue, Paying the admission price, and even going through the sometimes hassle of pre-ordering tickets, Paying for refreshments, waiting in line. Their perspective and their coverage might change a bit.

I also found it funny that this writer also later stated that he was hired at the San Antonio Express-News in 1987, he was instructed by his editors at the San Antonio Express-News to never pay admission for an event that he covered for the paper. While that maybe the newspaper’s policy, it as just a further example of the arrogance sometimes shown by the ‘professional’ media. I wonder what the reaction of the San Antonio Express-News might be if one of their advertising sponsors who are paying big bucks for ad space, decide that they don’t have to follow the newspaper’s pre-ad rules. Then want to renegotiate the ad price because this newspaper does not ‘pay admission’ to cover events.

The writer in this case is taking much for granted and by writing the article is deflecting the real issue at hand. His lack of pre-race preparation. Asking most ‘regular fans’ just how much preparation they do before setting foot on a speedway property and they will tell you that it starts, weeks, and sometimes months in advance. Why? Because rules change and ignorance of those rules is not a very good excuse.

Like I said, I am just a regular race fan, but here is what I got for my admission price ($30.00). Two very competitive races, and 15 minutes after the race was over, full access to the pit and crew areas. I watched and listened to post race interviews from just a few feet away from both print and TeVee media. I watched post race inspections and was just as close to the ‘action’ as any other media person with full credentials. I guess what I didn’t have access to was the ‘media room’ in the press box, with the catered food and drinks.

Late in the race, I had a passing conversation with the track owner and was able to express my thanks for all her hard work putting an event like this together. It was refreshing that she was willing to walk through the masses and speak to the fans. Maybe that is just the different set of priorities that some of the local media took exception to where the race fan’s efforts came first, not just catering to someone with a press credential.

The track owner, the race promoter, Nascar, TSRS and everyone behind the scenes should be commended for their efforts. I’ll surely be back from Dallas next year for this event, and frankly will be down for a couple of ‘weekly race series’ events at THR as well.


Anonymous said...

If the title of the news article had read "Communication Breakdown Prevents San Antonio Express News Coverage" it would have been more appropriate....tell the whole story, and let the people decide.

Anonymous said...

I also found it funny that this writer also later stated that he was hired at the San Antonio Express-News......
very nice...

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