1. a plural of medium.
2. ( usually used with a plural verb ) the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely: The media are covering the speech tonight.
The two definitions of Journalist and Media as laid out in the Oxford English Dictionary are broadly vague in their definitions as to who is entitled to label themselves as “Journalist” or “Media” member. In this article I will be trying to break down the barriers within the “UK MMA media scene” and ask the question which often touches a soft spot between many of the “media” crowd… Do the majority of people within press row at UK MMA shows justify their seats?
Now to lay the scene I by no means describe myself as a Journalist nor do I or have I ever claimed to be part of the UKMMA media circle. I am a fan of MMA and started out writing blogs on the sport and since then have been lucky enough to get my articles/blogs/reviews branded on some great MMA websites. By producing various articles for the sites I have been nominated to cover the shows as a member of “media” at a number of UK MMA events ranging from UCMMA, CFC & BAMMA (to name but a few).
It’s fair to say that as a huge fan of the sport it doesn’t really get much better for me than to be given a free ticket to an event which I would have paid for anyway. On top of that not only are the seats “free” but they are usually pretty awesome seats and to pay for that level of seat would be anything from £80 upwards. But with the “free” seat comes the responsibility of spending the whole show with your head going up and down as you flick between the action in the cage and your laptop in an attempt to get as much content for your report as you can, and also often tweeting live results throughout the show. So it’s not all fun and games and certainly requires an element of focus and the ability to type, watch and tweet.
Now the most frustrating thing for those of us who are working at these shows is looking around at the other members of the press row and seeing people casually sitting back, enjoying a beer and not even attempting to follow the show. I think it’s fair to debate that there are and always will be an element of people/groupies who are sophisticated enough to gain press credentials to most sporting events that they wish and then sit in the press row, drink beer, eat food and do little else. In a way it’s a debate I suppose in which there will never be a right or wrong answer and for those members of the press row who are more interested in the free tickets “Shame on you”.
I can’t make comment on whether or not this is the same throughout all sports events as I must admit my love of sport doesn’t extend much further than MMA, however as a general rule of thumb I don’t often hear my football mad friends telling me about the time when they were in the press section at the last Manchester United football game. It just seems to me that as the sport continues to grow there are more and more taking grasp of the opportunities to get themselves to the fights for free and enjoy the coverage which many of the real media members would love to grasp.
Having spoken with a few MMA promoters they are fairly diligent on the applications they receive and tend to categorise them into the following sectors prior to approving them;
1. Just how established the media outlet is that the application is coming from
2. The reach and amount of coverage the media outlet will give
3. Type of coverage (i.e. Results, interviews, photos, videos etc.)
From my perspective the promoters can only do so much in terms of diligence and screening towards the press applications. There will always be an element of goodwill and faith in the applicants to carry out their duties as media members should they be lucky enough to be allocated a pass. To all the respectable journalists/media members/bloggers/show reporters working hard, keep up the great work!