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AJ-C traveling with Thrashers on team plane?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by adamjames, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. adamjames

    adamjames New Member

    In the latest sign of the demise of my childhood paper, I hear they've cut a deal to travel with the team at a reduced rate. If true — I have it from a friend of one of the 7 or so people left in their sports department — that's pretty close to the line, no?

    Anyone seen this section lately? It's as though they're not even trying. A recent edition had three wire stories on the sports front, including GEORGIA basketball. It was a gamer from Knoxville. I know Georgia is no hoops heavyweight but it is Georgia. They travel with the Thrashers but not the Dawgs? Knoxville is a drive. Can't pony up for mileage, AJ-C?

    I know they've lost a ton of talent — including the best hockey writer in the biz, Craig Custance, to The Sporting News, awhile back — but it's gotten to the why-even-publish point IMO. Is there another sports section that's fallen so hard so fast?
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Forgive me but who are the Thrashers? I'm drawing a blank.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    One the one hand, you complain about a wire story on the sport front. On the other hand you complain about them traveling with the team.

    If you want to make a case about it being a conflict or too cozy of an arrangement, OK.

    But it's funny, the AJ-C used to cover everything in the South. I used to be amazed at their Sunday sections back in the day.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Didn't baseball teams used to pay for sportswriters' train tickets back in the old days?
  5. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    I'm afraid it would screw with deadlines, because often a team hits the airport before you've hit send. Do you finish your story on the plane? It'll be later since you've had to pack up right after getting quotes.

    If you pay the team for a seat, albeit at a cheaper rate than a traditional ticket, does that make it OK?
  6. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Rocky Mountain News
    Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  7. writingump

    writingump Member

    I read last week that their Hawks beat writer made their West Coast swing on the team plane. Apparently, the team wanted the coverage bad enough that they worked something out with the AJ-C.
  8. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    I want to say that 20-30 years ago, this was not so uncommon.

    I thought some of the Pittsburgh papers traveled with the teams. I could be wrong, though.
  9. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    I've stayed at team hotel at team rate. Writers used to travel with teams all the time, until teams started cutting off access. I love this story from the late Ralph Wiley about traveling with the old, fun A's teams:

    Charlie Finley hired a bus to take the Triple-A's from Chicago to Milwaukee, them not being worth the expense of a plane ride. To Charlie, no ballplayer was worth that expense, especially since he sold or traded off his three-time world championship club, just in time for me to miss their exploits. So we rode a bus, a city transit clunker that backfired and belched smoke into the bus halfway up I-94. I was the only baseball writer aboard, and had a clear field, We pulled over to the side of the road; the Chief, a starting pitcher named John Henry Johnson, got ill, either from the bus fumes or the loss he took in the first game of the doubleheader. Trader Jack McKeon was managing. Said I couldn't write about it. Of course, this convinced me to do so. Piece ran on sports Page 1, with kicker:

    "Perilous Travels With Charlie"

    Later, the bus company called the paper to complain about me; Charlie Finley called my boss Bob Valli in the sports department to complain about me, Trader Jack sat down with Mitch, Chief and a couple of other players to complain about me. That was when I learned when they complain about you, you've done good.

    Reggala complimented me, when the Yanks came to town. "Hey," said the slugger. "Mitch says you're OK. Funny guy. You ever need anything, you call me." Then Time stood still as Reg hit Three In One Night against the Dodgers in the World Series.

    I was pretty much hooked after that. What you don't want to deal with is a perennially .500 club. The A's weren't that. They were either good, very good, great, or absolutely rock-bottom terrible.

    Good stories, either way.
  10. times38

    times38 Member

    the smallish school where I attended college which had just made the jump to FBS football allowed the three or so papers that covered them to ride on the team plane with them to their many road trips. pretty sure they didn't pay.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I used to cover a Division I basketball team of marginal interest to the paper, so to help sell the trips I would get the team's room rates at their nice hotels, but I wouldn't go through the team.

    I would find out from a team manager where they were staying and would call myself and ask for their rate.
  12. I have no problem with the AJ-C or any paper traveling with the team at a reduced rate. It's a sign of the economic times. Mark Cuban has even gone so far as to posit that pro teams should underwrite locals' travel to ensure they are on the scene, because it helps sell tickets at home. Can't say I disagree. It's in the teams' best interests that we are there writing stories our local readers want, not the homogenized view that the AP provides. (No denigration intended to the AP, either, my former employer. It's just tough to be all things to all clients.)
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