Before I begin, I'd like to thank Kirk Bohls for taking the time to chat with us. I'd wager good money that no small number of columnists would have brushed aside our request to chat with them. That he took the time to answer, and answer thoughtfully, speaks very well of him.
I think Kirk made several points with which I agree wholeheartedly. The one that I found myself nodding most vigorously to was his point about basketball season ticket holders. It's a tricky problem, but an urgent one. "Holding season ticket holders' feet to the fire" is something that's got to happen for the Erwin Center to be filled. Rick Barnes has put a terrific product on the court for Texas fans. There should be far more fans in attendance.
I admit that I was most interested to hear Kirk's thoughts on the evolving sports media landscape and his opinion of blogs. I do tend to share his frustration with the rumor-mongering and anonymous armchair quarterbacking that can define certain internet websites. That's why the HornFans.com message board is something I avoid like the plague. I rarely learn anything of value.
I wonder, though, whether what Kirk said about Rick Barnes may not be true of bloggers and journalists. Kirk said that Rick understands that football and basketball can happily co-exist. To me, that's precisely how journalists and (reputable) bloggers should be - happily co-existant.
After all, those of us who take our blogs seriously value greatly the role that reporters play. We rely on the terrific work that they do. And the hard working among us do in fact do reporting of our own. We dig up facts, crunch numbers, and report verifiable news.
And we also offer serious analysis. You won't find many instances on this blog where we set out to destroy the work of others. If somebody writes something which we vehemently disagree with, we take note, but you're even more likely to find us calling attention to someone's opinion we like than someone's we don't.
And as Kirk notes, with the rapidly changing electronic media landscape, the sooner that journalists come to understand the difference between a reputable, hard-working, non-anonymous blogger, and a rumor mill gossip site, the better they'll be. The fact is that our reputation is as important to us as Kirk's is to him. We value the quality and growth of this website, and if our content is not up to a certain standard, the readers will leave. It happens every day, and with the wealth of quality blogs out there, it's a vicious competition to earn (and keep) readers.
I like to think that the new media landscape has a role for both; in fact, I'm certain it does. The smartest media businesses out there will understand that, and they will be among those that survive, and yes, thrive. The Austin American Statesman, in fact, is one such paper that is taking positive steps. On the Statesman's Texas Longhorns page, in fact, the posts from this very blog are syndicated. AAS readers can read all the terrific stuff that's on the Longhorns page, and have access to the analysis and news that we dig up here on BON. This is the kind of synergy that works well for all involved, and we're happy to be partnered with them.
Once more, special thanks to Kirk Bohls for taking the time to respond.