Our Daily Dread II: More exodus matters — Hammond joins the Kings as an independent writer, paid by the club

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The Kings officially announced today that Rich Hammond, who has been the Daily News’ beat writer for the team the last few years, has been hired as its own beat writer/columnist for LAKings.com.

The move means that the Kings guarantee coverage of their team on a daily basis — home and away — but also with the understanding that, while it pays the writer, it also wants to have the editorial content be “independent” of just appearing to be a team- or fan-based slant on the day-to-day happenings of the organization.

In addition to covering the team practices, games, write feature stories, commentaries and video pieces, part of the deal is for Hammond to continue his popular “Inside the Kings” blog on the team’s official website.

The move allows Hammond to travel with the team fulltime and start providing exclusive content to LAKings.com starting Oct. 1.

“In this changing world as it relates to the landscape and consumption of sports news content, we are making an organizational commitment to give our fans one place to go – LAKings.com – to satisfy their appetite for Kings news and information ” said Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille. “We feel this is a landmark step for us as Rich will have full editorial control in his new position. Kings fans deserve the best Kings coverage, and we’re excited that LAKings.com will be the new home for Rich’s insightful, objective and thorough reporting and analysis.”

Hammond, also the Daily News sports section’s deputy sports editor, leaves the paper after 10 years, covering the Kings since 2000, fulltime since 2005. The USC graduate also worked for the Orange County Register and the Daily Breeze.

Hammond announced his departure on today’s InsideSoCal.com/kings blog (linked here). In his comments, he wrote:

“I understand that this will raise some immediate, significant questions … To put it as plainly and simply as possible, I will draw a salary from the Kings, but none of the stories and/or blogs I write will be reviewed for approval by any member of the Kings’ staff. … This is not public relations. I have been told, pointedly, by the highest levels of Kings management, that I should continue to report and write as normal. … Be certain of two things: I will not “go easy” on the Kings out of any fear of retribution, just as I will not take gratuitous shots at the team and the organization simply because I have retained the right to be critical. Things will continue on course. Praise and criticism, to the extent I feel either is warranted, will continue to be distributed fairly.”

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