Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp
The people issuing credentials don't think there is a difference. If you're given a credential, you're expected to act like you have a credential.
As much as we'd like to think that there are only two options -- serious, unbiased journalism, and mere fans/bloggers -- there's a middle ground and it's existed for a very long time. Nearly every professional or big-time college team has publications or web sites whose sole reason for being is to cover that team. Some of them, if trusted, get media access to that team. Teams have radio and television partners whose business models depend on attracting fans of that team. They get credentials too. In all those cases, it's understood where the bread is buttered and that embarrassing the team is a good way to lose your access. So yes, they function somewhere in between the daily newspaper and the sports-information office, and everyone understands the arrangement. Or is supposed to.
In this specific case, I think firing was a little harsh based only on what the article said, but the parallel would be a WLW reporter ("WLW, your home of the Cincinnati Reds!") wearing a cap of some other team in the NL Central while interviewing Dusty. Something's going to be said.