New media taking hold at Daytona International Speedway

Media credential for Speedweeks/Daytona 500 / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® videos produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina King Frederick / The award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper is poised to present unprecedented coverage of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, though NASCAR is cracking down on media outlets like ours shooting our own videos as shown above in the 2013 Daytona 500 won by Jimmie Johnson. But DIS officials did grant Headline Surfer® media credentials that make for a level playing field with print and TV media in terms of access to its main media center, direct contact with fans in the grandstands during the races and even more access to the drivers and teams. The credentials are shown below. A 'cold' pass means access to the garage area in between live racing events. This is the fifth year Headline Surfer® is covering Speedweeks and the Daytona 500 since its launch April 7, 2008, as Florida's first truly online newspaper. 
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Throw into the mix the growing list of social media and specialty websites that cover a specific sport and it's easy to see how we become lost in the shuffle.

Regardless, we do the best we can with the precious few resources available to us.

It has been an uphill battle, to say the least, but the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper has become a viable  source of news for Central Florida headed by a husband-and-wife team that features an experienced metro-trained journalist who, thanks to the volunteer contributions of a loyal and talented spouse has built up a video catalogue online that is second-to-none in hyper-local news coverage in greater Daytona Beach.

Regardless of the restrictions as they pertain to video, Headline Surfer® respects the mandates of NASCAR so long as they are applied evenly. We are not a website as much as we are an internet newspaper. We are Headline Surfer®. HeadlineSurfer.com is simply the portal through which our content is published.

And NASCAR spokesman Lenny Santiago did something today that has made a big difference in making us feel like we are welcomed at the table. For the first time, we have a designated seat in the main media press room in the infield as opposed to being relegated to a corner table in the dining room area. 

Of course, there were times during last year's Speedweeks where we literally flipped a garbage can upside down in the infield (making sure it was not full of trash) and set the laptop on top and filed stories. We also have access to the grandstands and the fan zone and the garage. This is the 21st century and the age of the internet -- the advent of digital media and immediacy. Make no mistake about it: We are as legitimate as any mainstream media and the online search engines and news directories bear that out.Like we did with the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Headline Surfer® once again will show why it is the better bang for the buck with real NASCAR fans around the world.

Loss of independent video coverage, but enhanced media credentials

When Headline Surfer® was informed earlier today that it was no longer allowed to shoot its own videos of the action on the track, that didn't sit well, but with NASCAR offering us unfettered access to its videos as well as enhanced media credentials, we are ready to move forward with what we do best -- cover the news.

Gary Ramsey / NASCAR / Headline Surfer®Gary Ramsey, senior manager for NASCAR video licensing, informed Headline Surfer® there are greater restrictions on video coverage at Daytona International Speedway and other NASCAR peroperties that means the internet newspaper won't have the freedom it has previously enjoyed in shooting its own videos.

This was the email Headline Surfer received earlier today from Gary Ramsey, senior manager, footage licensing for NASCAR Media Group, LLC:

Mr. Frederick, Thank you for your request and your coverage of our events in Daytona. Unfortunately our digital media policy is such that we do not allow internet sites to attend our events and shoot video. However, we do offer video from our events on our website www.nascarmedia.com, that you can use on your site for no charge. This will include various interviews and Video News Feeds throughout Speedweeks. If you are not already a member, sign up is easy thru information on the main page of the website. You will still have your media credentials for articles and stories but we are denying your request to record any video during the event. Thank you for your understanding and compliance with our policies. Best regards, Gary

And while that was disheartening to us because we take such great pride in our multimedia coverage where videos are as important as the written word itself, we did get some positive news later in the day from Lenny Santiago, spokesman for Daytona International Speedway.

Our request for enhanced media credentials had been granted. We now have access to the main media center as opposed to the dining area where we had set up shop on a corner table near the salad bar. And for the first time, we have access to the grandstands and the fans themselves, in addition to the fan zone, which we've had all along.

This is a big step that demonstrates we are being heard and that we are as much a part of media coverage as the local print media with all of its political ands insider connections.

And no media outlet in Central Florida can take us for granted, especially the Daytona Beach News-Journal under the new ownership of Halifax Media that has had a monopoly on coverage. Not any more. Not in Daytona Beach nor anywhere else in Volusia County, for that matter.

Even when the News-Journal relaxes its paid digital platform at some point during the week, it's not going to matter. The 24/7 internet newspaper is still going to rank higher in the news directories and the search engines. In fact, our coverage in 2014 will new unprecedented for videos, photos, stories, blogs, graphics, even if we are only allowed to use NASCAR's videos.

NASCAR, perhaps is beginning to see how popular our internet newspaper is with a legitimate global audience that accesses our headlines, photos and videos around the clock as we are among the few "new media" outlets recognized by Google News as legitimate press.

Headline Surfer® may not look the greatest with its multiple square boxes and rotators, but it is custom built to accommodate the online robots of Google, Bing, Yahoo and AOL.  And our headlines are read across the globe -- day and night. Nine out of 10 times, online users will find Headline Surfer® images in the Google news directories throughout Central Florida, especially in Daytona Beach, and that goes for the Orlando TV stations and the Orlando Sentinel, too.

We have two other advantages: 1. Quality award-winning journalism; and 2. The bulldog mentality to challenge the status quo and fight for our turf as the bigger media outlets know we're nipping at their heels.

Headline Surfer® video produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina King Frederick /  The 24/7 internet newspaper sets up shop in the dining area as shown in this 2013 interview with veteran racing broadcaster Ken Squier the day before the 2013 Daytona 500. 

Santiago, the Speedway's spokesman, informed Headline Surfer® earlier tonight that its request for enhanced media credentials has been granted and that the Speedway is only looking for fair and objective coverage, something we have prided ourselves on over the last half decade. 

"All I ask is that you be fair, see the story from all angles and report objectively," Daytona International Speedway spokesman Lenny Santiago told Headline Surfer®, in recognizing the internet newspaper's request for the same access given print media -- including the media facilities, fans in the grandstands and the biggest draw, the drivers and their teams.

Lenny Santiago of DIS / Headline Surfer®Lenny Santiago, spokesman for Daytona International Speedway, informed Headline Surfer® earlier tonight that its request for enhanced media credentials has   been granted and that the Speedway is only looking for fair and objective coverage, something we have prided ourtselves on over the last half decade. 

"All I ask is that you be fair, see the story from all angles and report objectively," Daytona International Speedway spokesman Lenny Santiago told Headline Surfer®, in recognizing the internet newspaper's request for the same access given print media -- including the media facilities, fans in the grandstands and the biggest draw, the drivers and their teams.

Headline Surfer video produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina King Frederick / The internet newspaper interviews State Rep. David Santiago in front of Daytona International Speedway, a year ago regarding his proposed legislation for funding for the Speedway expansion. The legislation was not acted on before the session ended. However, DIS has since proposed Daytona Rising, a $400 million renovation and expansion, which Headline Surfer® has covered extensively with stories and videos. Above are two videos and here is a link to the latest Daytona Rising story: http://headlinesurfer.com/content/413060-400-million-speedway-modernization-schedule-accommodate-big-crowd-daytona-500.

We've done countless stories on the renovation and funding requests by DIS of the Florida Legislature, even doing an interview with State Rep. David Santiago (no relation to Lenny Santiago) in front of the Dale Earnhardt statue and we went to Tallahassee with representatives of the Daytona Chamber of Commerce as well to speak with lawmakers. And we've shot countless videos on the $400 million Daytona Rising. We've covered every Speedweeks for the past five years as well as every Rolex 24 and Coke Zero 400 in July.

When the green flag drops for the Daytona 500, Headline Surfer® will be pushing its way to the front all day long.

Headline Surfer® videos produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina King Frederick /  Videos like the feature on the Samsula fan celebrating his birthday during the running of the 2013 Daytona 500, have been the hallmark of the internet newspaper's focus on the fans.

Headline Surfer® is looking forward to returning to the greatest racing facility in the world -- Daytona International Speedway, right here at the birth place of speed, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Editor's Note: In the wake of developments with Daytona International Speedway, Headline Surfer® killed its previous blog, which was especially critical, with this updated write-up that includes DIS' enhanced media credentials for the award-winning internet newspaper.

PostScript:
Even with a kinder, gentler blog, Headline Surfer® topped Daytona's NASCAR media coverage at the 11 p.m. hour in the online search engine/news directories directories for Daytona Beach, Fla., as shown here below in this snapshot graphic.

The Daytona Beach-Orlando internet newspaper leads Daytona racing coverage online / Headline Surfer®

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet in Daytona Beach, Florida, via HeadlineSurfer.com. Specializing in breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with dozens of journalism-industry awards.

View his stories archives here