By Paul Armbruster – KingsNewsDaily.com
After months of speculation, the position has finally been filled. Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West fame has been hired as the new LA Kings Insider, a blog first created and made popular by Rich Hammond back in 2006 when he was a reporter for the Daily News. The blog was eventually relaunched in its current incarnation when Hammond was hired by the Kings as their full time beat reporter in 2009.
At the time, much was made about whether or not a reporter could be truly independent if his paycheck came from the same team he covered. To his credit, Hammond remained virtually autonomus until he posted an interview this past summer with then Kings strongman Kevin Westgarth. The story violated NHL lockout rules which essentially disallowed communication between players and team personal. Hammond’s independence, it turned out, only went so far when the NHL demanded the story be pulled down by the Kings. Hammond soon resigned his position, jumping over to the OC Register where he now covers USC sports and occasionally the Kings.
On his hire, Kings VP of Communications Michael Altieri said, “Jon brings not only a great work ethic and passion for the game of hockey, but a diverse skill set that will allow him to cover the Kings on multiple platforms. Our fans continue to display an incredible appetite for comprehensive coverage of the Kings and we are confident Jon will use this opportunity and his unique access to deliver content that is objective, robust and deeply compelling.”
Said Jon, “I’m excited to continue the informative and accountable reporting that has made LAKingsInsider.com such a central part of digital Los Angeles Kings coverage. In recognition of the integrity with which Rich Hammond maintained the site, I’m looking forward to continuing the independent exchange of information while offering a passionate, informed fanbase a platform to share its views.”
Said former Kings Insider Rich Hammond:
Congrats/best wishes to new @lakingsinsider Jon Rosen. He knows and loves hockey and he’s a great guy. Don’t forget the hotel-window pics…
— Rich Hammond (@RegisterUSC) January 31, 2013
With more NHL teams adding ‘Insiders’ to their payrolls, this trend undoubtedly will continue to shed light on the question of whether or not team beat reporters can keep their traditional journalistic integrity and independence intact.
Each foray into this new hybrid of reporting will be an experiment of sorts. Just as the Kings’ Michael Altieri said above, Jon now has unique access to give fans “deeply compelling” content, but will it be objective too? Rosen’s experiment picks up the pieces of a failed attempt at independence during the first go around. Time will only tell if he will be able to reformulate a solution for what seems like an unresolvable problem called conflict-of-interest.
At least Rosen has a minimum of 8 years before another lockout on his side.