Super Bowl week is one of the biggest sports media events of the year. Reporters from outlets all over the country have been flocking to Miami this week for America's most high-profile game.
When the NFL goes over its long list of requests for media credentials, there will be four names that should immediately pop out. NFL players Chad Ochocinco, Chris Cooley, Ray Rice and Darnell Dockett are in Miami, reporting on the Super Bowl, for the "Ochocinco News Network." (OCNN)
Chad Ochocinco and other prominent NFL players will be asking the questions and giving reports during Super Bowl week.
The media-savvy Bengals receiver plans to attend news conferences and parties leading up to the title game in Miami, gathering insights from coaches, players and celebrities for his array of social networks.
As much as this seems like your standard publicity stunt by Ochocinco - the enigmatic Cincinnati Bengals reciever who is as famous for his touchdown celebrations than his actual production on the field - it seems that this network is legitimate. Not only have the four athletes been filing reports; they've also been doing the social media marketing that has become so vital to journalism.
Ochocinco and his three helpers plan to function as reporters, updating a Web site and a Twitter feed during the week. The players have hundreds of thousands of regular followers on their personal Twitter accounts and other social network platforms.
They expect to attend media sessions where players and coaches are available, conduct interviews with guests at the media headquarters, and provide behind-the-scenes glimpses at the nightly Super Bowl parties in Miami.
During yesterday's media session, Ochocinco's lack of reporting experience clearly showed, when he couldn't get a question in to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning during a 45 minute interview session. He tried, but was cut off by other reporters accustomed to having to get their questions in loudly and quickly.
Still, if anyone can pull this off, athletes like Ochocinco and Cooley would be logical choices. Both are incredibly engaged to their fans and know what type of information draws eyes and attention.
It remains to be seen what type of success this network will have and if fans really want their news from athletes with little reporting experience. At the very least, it's an interesting test-model for this type of reporting in the future.
To check out OCNN, go to www.motorola.com/ocnn.