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Clay Travis on Grantland and Internet writing

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    Horrible sermonizing tone in this column- manifold worse than a Simmons disciple's most ridiculous cultural conceit.

    Nailed it again. You are killing it on this topic, and in the kind of language the Grantland crowd understands.
  2. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

  3. BrendaStarr

    BrendaStarr Member

    This is true at my paper. A story that's a bulleted list of five players with a corresponding explanation on who the team should target in free agency easily gets more reads/hits than a story on a big hiring/firing. People love it and creates reader engagement so I typically try to do a story like that once a month, even if it is a mindless thing to write.
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

  5. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    At your paper how many stories do you write exclusively for the internet? I don't work in the industry but my impression is that at many papers very little material is being produced by beat writers exclusively for the web. I do think that if a paper devotes a beat writer to a team that the writer should have something up every day in season, even if it is a mindless list, and that he should be writing opinion pieces.
  6. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    It also could be as simple as Disney welcoming ESPN to the non-monopolistic world, where a business owned by people seeking a certain profit margin can no longer make decisions in a vacuum. When Grantland was approved, the bosses were happy with their bottom line and and thus ESPN could justify the expense of such a product with a cursory nod to enhancing the brand or some such. But ESPN isn't looking as immortal as it once did, and Disney suddenly needed to address its profit margin, and Disney gave ESPN a budget number that it was too big to hit. So now ESPN had to look at everything in concrete (i.e. liquid) terms, and assign everything a utility factor based on its contribution toward hitting that profit margin. They cut, what, 300 non-Grantland employees? Everything had to be measured in usefulness. Whatever concrete revenue Grantland drove came from ads, and the ad market everywhere is collapsing, and Grantland just didn't have much to offer advertisers, both because of its incongruous content (there are no demographics for abstractions), and because its writers did not average enough words per man hour to drive the kind of eyeballs that those less concerned with craft can provide. And I suspect they may have begun to realize the growth limitations of a site with an anti-authoritarian, intellectual-populist slant whose two main topics happened to involve the coverage of 1) The sports leagues with whom they are business partners, and 2) the TV shows that ESPN's overlords produce and compete against. And all of that affected Grantland's utility per revenue dollar factor. And when it came time to make some either/or decisions, they chose something else over Grantland, and were thrilled Simmons made it a little easier for them. Grantland didn't produce enough revenue or show enough revenue potential to warrant getting rid of something else that provided more of either. It seems all rich people reach a point in their discretionary funds where the only thing they have left to buy is art. But if it it's a choice of getting rid of that art or getting rid of something with more utility, good buy Monet. ESPN suddenly could afford one less painting. Simple as that.
  7. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    So my thoughts were crystalizing as to why I took umbrage with the original Travis piece, and this kind of taps into it. Travis used the death of Grantland, an online-centric site heavy on people who cut their teeth in the online arena, to fire off at the old guard and pat himself on the back. The online-illiterate writers are out there, but Grantland's fall wasn't because Andy Greenwald or Bill Barnwell used to have exclusive access to something and now they don't (the periscoping thing is its own thing to rabble about).

    Had he written something about the perils about building something such as this from the top down instead of the bottom up, as his site was, that would be interesting. MGOBlog had an interesting piece, albeit SUPER long, that summed it up nicely. Instead we got a sort of all-purpose screed, some truth, a mess of self praise, some good advice and some obvious stuff even newspaper companies are doing.

    (I'm wondering if there's more than 15 ESPN writers actually earn their salaries. I mean, the amount of traffic based solely on scoreboard/stats/standing widgets and fantasy football has to be what, 75-plus percent of the traffic? I can't imagine most of the writing outside a few high profile folks pulls its weight)
  8. dirtybird

    dirtybird Well-Known Member

    It often does not, but usually there's only one hire, and having it first is only slightly less valuable than aggregating it. You can shit out a list and speculation daily, and people will drink it up for the most part.
  9. DSzymborski

    DSzymborski Member

    I have to admit, I actually love writing those kinds of things. They are simply an excellent delivery system for nerdiness and snark. As I cut my teeth during the early internet days, it's a permanent part of my DNA.
  10. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    A good point, and there's another angle to this. There are a lot of sportswriters who want to be hard workers, are not lazy assholes, but are terrible time managers. They work 15 hours and get four hours of production out of it.
  11. YorksArcades

    YorksArcades Active Member

    Effort is being made by some. But their effort is directed toward things that fail, even though they really, really, REALLY want them to succeed.
  12. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    Travis received an e-mail from a founder of Bleacher Report, Dave Finnochio.

    Bleacher Report Founder On State of Sports Media, Business

    I found the most interesting thing was Finnochio said publishers had no idea what their audience for sports pages. I think staffing still reflects this. At papers where traffic to the sports website is driven by one or two teams put an extra writer(s) on the beat(s) to write opinion pieces, lists, recruiting stories or whatever to drive web traffic. If the paper has to stop covering high school volley ball or intercollegiate softball so be it.
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