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Volume 26 No. 5
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Are Blackhawks Snubbing Local Media By Breaking News On Own Feeds?

The Blackhawks have been breaking news this season via Twitter and other various mediums, and the practice "doesn’t sit well with beat reporters who think they’re being cut out so the team can provide its own coverage," according to Jeff Agrest of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. When the Blackhawks fired coach Joel Quenneville and traded C Nick Schmaltz, the team was the "first with the story" on Twitter. But the Blackhawks "don’t see themselves as competitors" for team news -- "only a conduit." It is part of a "full-service, multimedia operation that might be the best content-producing force among Chicago’s pro teams." Blackhawks VP/Digital Content Adam Kempenaar said, "We understand we are sometimes first, but we understand that we’re not always going to be first. It’s not so much trying to one-up anyone else or that kind of agenda. It’s more we’ve recognized that that’s what our fans expect from us, being this one-stop shop for all the news and behind-the-scenes content." When he was hired in '07, one of team President John McDonough's "first priorities was to bring the hockey operations and the business operations together." Part of McDonough’s mantra from the beginning was "making the players accessible." Through Blackhawks TV, there is a "virtual library of videos putting the players in settings fans never would see," and players are "more than willing to participate." Maintaining a connection between fans and the team is "important anytime, but perhaps more so" with the Blackhawks near the bottom of the standings. The abundance of content "gives fans a reason not to tune them out" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/14).