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Blog maps out changes in STL P-D coverage

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jeremy Goodwin, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member


    Interesting post. I like the transparency. That could help help with readers bitching about lack of coverage. I'm not sure if I would have posted some of these things when they are still "in the planning process"

    Some highlights:

    "What we’re looking at is at least one notebook in the beginning of the week, and then perhaps a feature on Mizzou and/or its opponent during the week. We’ll also be doing a conference wrap that will appear on Mondays....

    You will, however, notice that some of the stuff I’m writing this year will be shorter. We lost a few pages in sports because of money issues and now I have to share a smaller space with all of the pro sports and sometimes Illinois (though we’re trying to alternate days for coverage)...

    But there might be a time, and I’m not saying it’s this year, where you’ll see more notes than stories and where you might see a variation on our game previews. Instead of stories, we might do preview boxes that give more direct and concise information in a more bullet-point format."

    Thoughts? Anyone else see any papers map out coverage like this? I know some papers get in the routine of notebook, feature, preview then gamer, but I don't think I've seen anyone publish that schedule.
  2. I'll go first. I didn't like this at all, and I don't like the "transparency." If I were his editor, I'd be pretty pissed with the guy airing out the details of the newspaper's shrinking coverage to his readers. Frankly, it sounds as if he was pulling a pre-emptive strike before getting a lot of calls and e-mails from displeased readers. That strikes me as unprofessional.

    It doesn't really matter what profession it is. I don't care how much coverage is cut, or even whether it's justified. You just don't make your superiors look bad publicly by sharing details of strategy meetings -- unless you want to get into trouble. It appears as if this guy did in order to save himself some heat. Swallow it. You're lucky to have a job, pal.

    I especially hated this sentence: you’re likely stuck with me as the Mizzou beat writer for at least another season. Boy, that sounds like a happy employee, doesn't it?

    And one other thing: Are we really so desperate for blog material that we have to write this kind of shit?
  3. I can't imagine how I'd disagree with your more, Ike.
    Assuming the guy did get the OK from superiors, I have no problem with this. You explain to the readers what is happening and why, it should be no big deal.
    Also, I'm guessing the Mizzou line was more self-deprecating, like, "You all might have gotten a better writer, but you have me instead."
  4. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    For what it's worth:

    Graham Watson is a she.
  5. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    And she has been very forthright and transpaperent with "inside baseball" info on her blog. In July, she told readers she (and the P-D) weren't covering the Big 12 or Big Ten media days.

    Maybe her editor(s) don't read her blog.
  6. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    This isn't the first time Graham has used her blog to inform readers why certain things are happening at the P-D. She did the same thing when the paper didn't pony up to send her to Big 12 media days.

    Personally, I think this is precisely the type of thing newspapers should be doing with their blogs - using them to provide some transparency and explanation of why and how we do what we do.

    As far as the line about "being stuck with" Graham as Mizzou beat writer, I think that was an attempt at self-deprecating humor.
  7. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    I'm fine with her writing what she did.

    And I think the "being stuck" comment is a bit taken out of context without the next sentence that followed:

    "We’re making a few staff changes toward the end of September, but I don’t think I will be among them. That’s what I know right now."

    A bit of self-deprecating humor, perhaps, but also, there are other changes coming.
  8. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    There is that.

    Graham is good people, and probably because I know her, I understand exactly why she put that in the blog. I also feel that Mizzou fans in St. Louis (where there are more than any other city) deserve an explanation.
    She gave it to them. Good for her.
  9. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Ike, I really doubt that she wrote that without her superiors' OK. They probably made a mutual decision to be honest and upfront with readers.
    And when a paper's going through buyouts and cutting space like the P-D is these days, that honesty is kind of refreshing. Certainly moreso than the typical "we'll just do more with less" horseshit you often hear out of companies who are forced to hack.
  10. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Refreshing? Yawn. If transparency is becoming another way to describe flatness and non-distinctiveness, then count me out. Breaking down the wall to such a degree makes the wall more of a sheet and the approach more peer-like than learned observer.
  11. I stand corrected. Graham is a she. I still didn't like what she wrote.

    I don't like the sugar-coating-the-hacked-coverage, either, STLIrish, but I guess I just don't think it's a good business for a newspaper to use any venue it has point out the inadequacies of its coverage.
  12. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    And the destruction of a great paper, little by little, continues.

    P-D should really consider moving some of those little extras, like starting lineups and expanded notes, online to Stltoday.com... throw a refer in there saying look online for this.

    Then throw a refer online to read the P-D for more coverage (more for people who see this online first).

    Space might be limited in the section (although it's usually 8-10 pages on a Monday through Friday, which isn't bad), but online your space is limitless.
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