In the wake of Liberty QB Josh Woodrum’s press conference last week, where he criticized LibertyFlamesNation.com, a lot of conversation has been had about our site, what we do, how we do things, and even who we are. It is interesting that more than three years after the founding of this project by Jon Manson and myself, we are suddenly the topic of discussion, rather than something happening within Liberty Athletics. Questions have been asked about our role, our level of access to the program, our motivations, and how we do business as a whole. It’s been a while since we have formally gone into these issues, and, after some thought, we decided to address some things.
Jon and I are alumni who have followed Liberty Athletics pretty intensely for years prior to the founding of LibertyFlamesNation.com. This site is a natural outgrowth of that passion, and we believe our passion does (and should) come through in what we do here. Our goal from the very beginning has been pretty simple: we want to provide our readers with coverage of LU you cannot find anywhere else. That means analysis, recruiting coverage, and editorial content which is passionate and emotional at times, but always accurate. We are humans, so the accuracy part is a constant work in progress. We can bring you coverage no one else can, because we are not bound by the old rules of journalism or the constraints placed on official university outlets.
This wasn’t a new or groundbreaking idea. We follow in the footsteps of so many sites that have been out there for years in the world of major college sports, such as TexAgs.com, GatorCountry.com, BamaOnline.com, KentuckySportsRadio.com, etc. These sites and communities have been doing the same sort of coverage LibertyFlamesNation.com provides for years, and are a big part of the media pie around major college sports. What is often referred to as “new media” is constantly changing and evolving, but these sites have been a staple of the game from the beginning.
We aren’t journalists, nor are we “wanna-be journalists”. Look at our individual Twitter feeds. Mine says “Follower of Christ, Husband, Firefighter, Paramedic, Triathlete. Proud Liberty University Alum. Co-Editor of LibertyFlamesNation.com”. Our bias is declared from the outset. However, like numerous other sites like ours, the athletic department has seen the value and professionalism LibertyFlamesNation.com brings to the table, and has been gracious enough to grant us media access equal to any other outlet for the past two and a half years or so. We are quite thankful for this, because it allows us to provide you with better and expanding coverage (things like live periscopes of post-game pressers). Perhaps it rubs some folks wrong that Jon or I get to sit next to trained journalists and official university media members. However, we have proven ourselves capable of conducting ourselves professionally, and have strong relationships with the other media outlets who cover LU Athletics because of it.
We do this because we love Liberty, and we love the Liberty Flames (and yes, in case you wondered, we ALWAYS want them to win). The vast majority of the time this means coverage from us which is positive, but when things go wrong we will provide honest analysis that is just as passionate, sincere, and accurate as when things are good. We aren’t journalists, but we believe this is just good business. Most of the time we are serious, but sometimes we like to have fun. Yes, we crack jokes about other schools and their fans from time to time. If that’s not your cup of tea, it’s okay. We do not want or expect for all of our readers to agree with us all of the time. Think about any analyst or columnist who appears on ESPN or Fox Sports. Chances are you find yourself disagreeing with their takes as often as you agree, but you are almost always interested.
Ultimately, LibertyFlamesNation.com, and our various associated outlets such as our Twitter feed or the FlameFans.com fan community are about you. Even in a relatively small market like Liberty, you have options in the coverage you consume. The various outlets, whether they be The News & Advance, local television channels, LFSN, or Flames Nation, all provide something different. This site has grown faster than either Jon or I could have imagined when we started. We hope our readers will continue to see the value in what LibertyFlamesNation.com brings to the table, and we will continue to provide you with passionate coverage you won’t find anywhere else.