I think they know there is a line and sometimes a story must remain untouched because it is appropriate. We strive to be the first to break the news, but sometimes that is not possible. We work inside the doors, and we are a team that extends beyond the coaches and the players.
In less than a month, we will embark upon free agency season. As a team employee in our content department, I have no contact with agents. The agents represent players and they can be sources for stories. That is the business and the media can touch on very topical issues. You can visit NYJets.com and read the clips, but the only official team word will come from GM Mike Maccagnan or a member of his staff once a deal is finalized.
For outside opinions, we continue to seek out wonderfully talented folks in the media. Who might the Jets target? What makes dollars and $ense? How can they get better? We want to be real to our fans, so that means honest assessments from the outside.
We used to report on reports, but that is why we have a clippings page. Depending on the situation, the team might be the first to announce that we have agreed to terms/in principle with a player or even signed a player to a deal. Regardless of the acquisition, our plan is to always give our website the first access to a player or a coach.
I think our fans appreciate that approach and have come to expect it from our organization. We are not a media outlet - we are part of the team. Our questions are different and they should be. If Percy Harvin just got off a plane and hasn't even spoken to most of his coaches yet, that isn't the proper time to ask the dude what happened in Seattle (even if I tried to slip that one past the line).
Credibility is important to us, but so is rationality. I use questions fans literally ask me @eallenjets or call in to discuss on Jets Talk LIVE. What do the fans want? That is who we serve. When you work for a team (as I've done for 15 NFL seasons now and 14 with the New York Jets), you root for the club. Facts are facts, but I'm not neutral and I'm not impartial. I want the Jets to win every week and I would imagine every fan knows I'm hurting too whenever we line up for a postgame show after a loss.
Why go to NYJets.com? Why follow @eallenjets on Twitter? Well our charge remains - cover the news while bringing you inside One Jets Drive. Without the fans, we have no pulse. So we attempt to obtain more content that is unique like mic'ings, film reviews with players & coaches and behind the scenes, provide the daily word from the locker room and the podium, learn about a Jet off the field, sprinkle in third-party neutral opinion and engage the fan with live programming and via all our social outlets.
For someone internally, you always want to support your co-workers while providing fans with as much access as possible. Sometimes that means topics are mutually exclusive.
We have to walk a fine line.