Welcome to the world of the media elite, you so-called NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Group. No cheering in the press box, no asking for autographs, no photos with the drivers, and be careful around the professionals. They might bite.
It's a changing world out there, even in the bastion of redneckness known warmly as the NASCAR circuit. Newspapers can't afford original, on-site race coverage, and meanwhile, Jeremy Mayfield admits to doing meth while circling a racetrack faster than he turned on his mother. The obvious solution: Dole out press passes to bloggers! NASCAR, to its credit, is anything but square.
Which is how we end up with the NASCAR Citizen Journalists Brigade To Save The Future Of Journalism, or whatever it's called today. But don't worry, newspaper reporters, because these bloggers are professionals. Some of them were your former co-workers. They're the ones who aren't wearing Tony Stewart's face.
After a lengthy review process, which included evaluating independent Web sites on professionalism, reporting and commentary, and use of social networking tools, 28 sites were invited to be part of the new media corps.
Members of the corps will have the opportunity to apply for media credentials but like all media, will be expected to abide by the standards of professional conduct (i.e. no autographs, photos with drivers, etc.) They will also have access to other media-driven events and teleconferences and NASCAR's media-only Web site. NASCAR will provide access to the information; it's up to the journalists to tell the story.
And no, we are not one of those 28 storytelling outlets in the NASCAR Amateur B-Loggers To Tout NASCAR's Awesomeness with access to free food on Sunday, provided you pay your way to the racetrack. Helicoptering in only when a methed-out driver calls his mother a gold-digging whore, it turns out, is neither professional nor social networky enough to merit a credential.