Schilling on the new Media

The new Red Sox ace (two aces? Full house?) was up late Thansgiving night, the night before the contract talks deadline, and decided to log into a chat room on Apparently he proved his identity (to some) and made some predictions about the talks (that an extension would be filed to continue talks until Saturday).

Just amazing stuff. What guided him to the chat room was a desire to feel out the Boston fans, to clear up some distortions foisted and amplified by the media, and to just air his thoughts, unfiltered. He gives really long interviews, and watches them get chopped into soundbites.

Now, think about it like this: a good fraction of sports fans are 'rabid', ie very informed, very opinionated, and can essentially go on reading about small facets of sports for days and days. Kind of the same with politics, with music, with movies. To these rabid fans, even ESPN isn't good enough -- SportsCenter can only give so many minutes to covering Boston pitching deals. When they do cover it, there's too many soundbites, it's too glib, and there's too much missed. Basically, if Theo spends 20 hours talking to Schilling, there are fans who need about 20 hours of coverage.

So, Schilling bypasses the media and talks directly to the rabid fans (at the only place they can congregate -- online), at least for a few hours. Tells them what he thinks, gets their ideas, gets their attitude... The rabid fans win, and Schilling wins. The media look slow, bloated, self-important, and even unnecessary, except to serve The Nonrabid Fans... (like me, I guess...)

Give credit to big media to making it part of the way -- Sports coverage, politics coverage, entertainment coverage is all 20x what it was 20 years ago, both in magazines and on cable. For the casual fan, that's plenty. But the rabid fan wants more, far more than can be profitable for a major network to provide. Fortunately, the internet has the infrastructure to accomodate the rabid fans, and now the stars themselves are tuning in. Sure, there have been AOL-sponsored celebrity chats, etc, and artists have been using the web to reach out to fans, but Curt Schilling has, to my knowledge, performed the first Big Media Bypass in breaking real news ... at least, that I can recall.

Will the politicians be far behind? Will Dean's blog release campaign news to Dean fans, and let them inform the media (and by extension, the casual politics followers)? Why not? The Dean followers care the most, contribute the most, and will accurately propagate the news (probably..) Reward them by telling them first, and in the most detail -- let the media break it into soundbites later, for the casual fans...