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Q&A w the Daily Bruin: Why We Blog

As mentioned in the BN walk today, Blair Angulo and Kendall Salter from the Daily Bruin has written an article on the emergence of fanblogs, which includes some quotes from the frontpagers of BruinsNation. The quotes were taken from the following Q&A with the Daily Bruin, which represents the collective responses of all the eight frontpagers on BruinsNation.

1) Why was the site started? What are the goals that the writers/admins hope to acheive in their posts and overall? is a daily online journal/scrapbook (aka a "blog) started by a group of UCLA alums, who bleed blue and gold and obsessively follow the pristine athletic programs of the greatest university in the country. A number of us started BN after we had worked together on other projects. The main goal of the administrators for maintaining this daily journal/scrapbook on Bruin athletics and blog on a regular basis is to have fun writing/talking about UCLA sports, while at the same time increase awareness of the greatest collegiate athletic program in the nation.

2) Who is your target audience? How do you cater to them?

We are not really writing to build an audience. We write to connect with alums, students, and fans of UCLA. And naturally we do it by writing.

3) Do you have limits to what you can or can't post? Ethical concerns, accuracy concerns, etc.?

When it comes to posting what we primarily try is to do our best to stay on topic. In other words, during the tournament, we stayed on the tournament. We try to be accurate, of course. But we aren't reporters. When we make an error, we correct it.

We believe that blogging, especially in a community-based setting such as BN is actually more likely to be accurate than traditional MSM reporting. This is because the stories are posted and our readers have the instant ability to question our opinions, post countervailing facts, and point out any possible factual accuracies.

We also respect original work and try our best to cite accordingly and encourage all of our readers and diarists to do the same while writing on BN. We don't allow full "cut and paste" jobs that fans are often allowed to get away with in other online sports communities.

Additionally, when we make a correction, we update and correct the post in the same prominent position as the original story, unlike a newspaper which may publish a correction on page C13.

We are not neutral. We are advocates for what we believe is in the best interest of UCLA athletics.

4) How big of a role do readers play in the discussion of topics and posts on BruinsNation? How important is the comment section, and what do you feel are the expecations of your readers?

Readers/diarists/posters are an integral part of the BN community. In many cases they drive the discussion on various topics related to Bruin athletics in our diaries and comment section. The creative and aggressive participation from our community members led to college football bloggers award BN as "Best Community" for the 2007 college football season.

Please note that our readers and contributors are (primarily) UCLA fans -- but not necessarily UCLA alumni. But all of the front page contributors are UCLA Alumni and or students,  and that's by design. Some of the most loyal fans of Bruins sports didn't go to school in Westwood, but alumni have a special bond.

5) What does BruinsNation offer to UCLA fans that is different than the conventional newspaper or online news? What are the benefits of this type of fansite as a medium, and are there any negatives?

You can always ask our readers. This idea is really part of the answer.  We take a point of view, but we also are a community.  It's sort of an online version of going down to the local bar to watch the game with other Bruins fans.

We don't do recruiting. We don't really do game recaps. We offer opinions. We are advocates. It's like the difference between Time Magazine (which is theoretically objective) and or (which are overtly partisan and make no bones about it).

Another thing.  The conventional newspaper is not doing so well these days.  Just look at the stock prices of newspaper companies if you don't believe me.  It's been dead probably since the early 1990s, but those in the industry just don't know it yet.  Reporting is realtime now.  Even though we're not primarily reporters, we can report in real time, the printing presses don't need to be running and we never run out of newsprint.  Online news serves a different purpose.  How much space does the LA Times devote to UCLA stories in a given week?  We cover the depth and breadth and we have unlimited space and we, including the community, can write about whatever interests us, from the reemergence of the baseball program, to the Pauley redevelopment to an in-depth analysis of next season's football depth chart.

6) How do you respond to criticisms of the blog/fansite as too subjective? Do you feel that the subjective nature of the website in beneficial to readers looking to share opinions?

BN is an unabashed UCLA partisan site and will make no apologies for it. We don't consider that a criticism.

Also, please note the question conflates partisanship with subjectivity.  We certainly have opinions, but we have taken great pains to base our opinions on fact.  Indeed, we have crunched numbers on repeated occasions to give us an objective basis four opinions.  Here are four quick examples:

  • Using hoops defensive statistics at the end of Pac-10 regular season to show how the concerns about Bruin's defense heading into the tourney season didn't have a lot of merit. [See Link ]
  • Undercutting the conventional wisdom of the mainstream media that Floyd's basketball team was "younger" than Coach Howlad's squad in 07-8. [See Link]
  • Building the case for Neuheisel as UCLA's head coach by looking at his numbers in Washington. [See Link]
  • Showing how Coach Howland is doing "more" with "less" in 06-07. [See Link]

7) Do you aim any posts toward players and coaches? Do you think any athletes or coaches read BruinsNation material, and would you like that, or is it mostly geared toward the fan?

We usually don't -- except for an occasional "Thank you, thread."