There has been a lot of talk in the NASCAR community including by NASCAR (as in the sanctioning body) itself about how to make the sport better. How to increase race attendence (um lower ticket prices) and television viewer ratings and the like. A lot of suggestions are being talked about and batted around by various media and fans and guess what? NASCAR is starting to listen. First they recently created the NASCAR FAN COUNCIL a tool NASCAR will use to survey their fans about opinions on all sorts of topics and ideas regarding NASCAR and how to make it better. I think this weekend we saw the first baby step towards that with the new double-file restart (shootout style- so drivers will NOT have to worry about battling lapped cars for position).
Even more recently, NASCAR has announced that it will start giving more access to citizen journalists (and by that I am going to interpret it as bloggers). I think this will be an awesome opportunity and all I can say is “How do I sign up?” Seriously. Sign me up. I don’t know what would qualify one to be a “citizen journalist” but it sounds like a great idea to me.
There is some grumbling from traditional NASCAR media that this is NOT a good idea- that allowing us mere “bloggers” to have a little bit of the inside stuff will make their readership suffer and honestly I really don’t see how that could be the case. I think there is a different standard and a different expectation of information coming from a site say like mine that has a bent for a specific driver when compared to traditional media coverage. To me it’s like apples versus oranges. Obviously my posts focus on Tony Stewart. I mention other drivers and other happenings within NASCAR because I love the sport and it is all intermixed. However I am not going to write articles like the ones you are going to find at NASCAR.COM, FOXSPORTS.COM, YAHOOSPORTS.COM, ESPN.COM etc. My articles would still have a bend towards Stewart. They would also be more personal experiences less reporting of news. They would be more the human story type of thing.
When I think of a NASCAR Citizen Journalist I think of people like Valli at TheFastandTheFabulous.com. I absolutely love it when Valli makes it out to a race because I know that she will write about it the following week. But its more about her experiences and less about rules and standings and points and that kind of thing. Its more about what it was like to stand with the traditional media at Kasey Kahne’s hauler. Or what it’s like as a fan to stand in the garage area and watch drives buzz in an out. What it’s like to to interview someone like Kyle Petty or David Gilliland. Or about experiences at a track she hasn’t been to before. I think you get my drift.
I think that both traditional and “citizen” journalists have important things to say about the sport and I really think that NASCAR is doing an awesome thing thinking about this seriously. I don’t know yet what kind of exeperience NASCAR is looking for in a citizen journalist or what kind of access they would give that blogger…but its an interesting idea…and I am still raising my hand to volunteer.