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Fifteen Years Ago Today...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Fenian_Bastard, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    It was the day before the U.S. Open at Hazeltine.
    Deford called and said, "We're folding."
    He asked me not to tell our guys for a couple hours. I told them, anyway.
    Wrote a how-much-fun-it's-been-with-so-many-great-people column.
    Caught the next plane home.
    I'd do it again in a minute.
  2. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    Dave K ... glad to see you chimed in on this thread.

    The concept of a daily sports-only paper works well in one- or two-time-zone European countries like Italy or France. Here? Not so much. :-\
  3. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    As Frank Deford wrote later on, it might have had a chance if the U.S. was shaped like Chile.
    As Inc. reported, the Mexican media mogul who owned it expected to go through $100 million before it hit break-even. It lost $133 million in 18 months.
    Got a big stack of 'em; including the central area first edition. It had Michael Jordan on the front.
  4. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Please tell me you gave Sid a pat on the ass before you left and said "See ya later, Gramps..."
  5. DrewWilson

    DrewWilson Member

  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I bought it almost every day it published. It was a great product for people like us, but my thought at the time was that the literary quality was probably wasted on most people who were obsessed enough to care about sports to that degree, and then the fact that the deadlines were too early to get in many results ensured it would be only a supplemental read for serious sports fans. For a time The National did run one page of general news outside sports, which was weird.

    I had zero interest in working there, but I was among the many people who benefited from vacancies created when The National did its hiring. And in some markets the dailies reacted to The National by increasing space and trying some new things, although I think the creation of USA Today had a greater impact on sports sections trying to become more complete.
  7. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    Funny, one of mine is the day after Richmond upset Syracuse in the NCAAs, I was in NYC and had lunch at Mickey Mantle's, Jim Brown was doing a radio show there and I asked him to autograph my copy that said "Spiders upset Orange."
  8. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    That, my young friend, was a great day in sports history. F--- Rickey Henderson. Thanks for the memory.

    The National was a fantastic publication, but just a bit behind its time and published in the wrong medium. Imagine that level of talent assembled at espn.com or Yahoo. THAT would be a daily must-read.
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    National alums of my acquaintance have told hair-raising tales of its business practices, which were, uh, improvisational. It had problems there unique to itself besides the horrific generic challenge of distribution, and, most of all, competition everywhere it went from papers with things like news besides sports, the funnies, classifieds, etc.
    And yet, Deford's vision was only 15 years ahead of its time, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things. Were he to take a do-over now, of course, the National would be an on=line product, with no distribution problems and only one competitor, the admittedly formidable ESPN.com.
    One on one is a fairer fight, and one the National could survive, if not win. It could hype literate reading rather than the events its network broadcasts, the banal hi-jinks of page 2, and the musings of on-air personnel.
  10. danhawks

    danhawks Member

    I wrote a good, and pretty exhaustive, paper about this subject last year at this time as a mini-thesis for my master's degree at a school with a round orange for a mascot. If you're interested in checking it out, PM me.
  11. Pete Wevurski

    Pete Wevurski Member

    Every National alumnus or alumna I've spoken with about this agrees with our esteemed colleague, Mr. Kindred: Even knowing then what we know now, we'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

    Still, it's one helluva fraternity to have been a part of.
  12. wheels89

    wheels89 Active Member

    One of my former Managing Editors, who used to work there, gave us National shirts as a Christas gift last year.
    That thing is about 12 years old, but still wear it proudly. Even today, that publication was still ahead of its time.
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