The Kept Press: An Ill Wind Blows Hard Through Tournament Reporting

by Lou on September 12, 2007

Everybody has a dancing partner, or so it seems. Over the past few months, it seems as though each major tournament series has entered into an exclusive arrangement in which they’ve partnered with a magazine or media group to provide exclusive coverage for their events.

The World Series of Poker has their arrangement in place. So does the World Poker Tour. While the tournament sponsors may have good reasons for trying to control, direct, and manage tournament reporting, the act of doing a deal to get that done turns what once was a free and competitive press into mere public relations arms of the tournament providers.

When you grant exclusivity, it tends to water down the quality of the coverage. And when that happens the coverage is first diluted, then tends to disappear altogether because there’s no room for differing points of view and unique reportage to elbow their way to the table.

The practical side of these kinds of arrangements is greater inaccuracy in reporting. The bigger issue is that exclusive arrangements tend to drive competition away. An even bigger problem is that a kept press is not much better than no press at all.

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