Jay Mariotti, Lisa Olson and Kevin Blackistone: New Additions to the FanHouse Masthead

Two years ago, the

idea of so-called mainstream and new sports media bleeding into one

entity seemed as natural as a Hatfield-McCoy wedding. Yet here we are, five days into 2009, and newspapers are shifting budgets toward their online blog content rather than print; private blogs are making efforts to professionalize their operations.

But the sports blogging counterculture was always about a mindset rather than a medium, just as punk is a concept that extends well beyond music. At FanHouse, our group of talent is made up of writers and editors from both sides of that old battle line -- newspapers and the Internet -- as well as independents (we are not bi-partisan, after all). Everyone has built this site not on labels or histories, but on a few basic tenets -- independent thought and having not only the courage to say what you feel, but the conviction to stand by it.

Jay Mariotti is one of the nation's most noticeable sports columnists. His background and credentials are well-known. Yet, as we welcome Jay to AOL Sports/FanHouse, it is his attitude towards sports writing that we're most excited about. Jay has a history of remaining true to himself and maintaining an original voice even when it's an unpopular one. He's been everywhere and seen everything in sports, and captured it in a voice that is sometimes provocative and sometimes controversial, but always authentic. He is an individual.

Likewise, Lisa Olson put her career and safety on the line in order to knock down major barriers for women in sports journalism. Her refusal to cave in to the patriarchal traditions she suffered under make her a pioneer and icon in the field on top of a fantastic writer. Finally, Kevin Blackistone is a well-known sports writer and a face on ESPN's Around the Horn, but his career in sports emerged from a tradition of probing and challenging investigative reporting and commenting on political, racial and social issues.

We welcome Jay, Lisa and Kevin, and look forward to agreeing and disagreeing with them, and vice versa. Because that's what this is all about.

Jay Mariotti, Lisa Olson and Kevin Blackistone: New Additions to the FanHouse Masthead originally appeared on FanHouse Back Porch on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 03:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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