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Golf coverage in the new newspaper world

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by accguy, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. accguy

    accguy Member

    So was traveling a bunch today and saw several Sunday sections (I am such an airport scavenger for stray newspapers).

    This year, my paper cut back on Masters coverage and sent only a columnist.

    Picked up the SF Chron and the SJ Merc at SFO. Also saw a stray Oregonian there.

    Was kind of surprised that neither The O or SJ staffed the Masters. SF Chron had only one person there.

    This comes on the heels of several people in my so-to-speak circle talking of how they weren't going to the Final Four.

    So when will we reach a point when only about five papers cover all of the truly big events?

    I'm guessing sooner rather than later.
  2. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    This is how newspapers are reinventing themselves.

    Stop covering everything.

    Fill pages with AP stories that were available online 12 hours earlier.

    Don't give anybody anything to read.

    Put out an empty, watered-down product.

    Hope for one more paycheck.
  3. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    The mandate from the publisher's office -- which takes its orders from the corporate boys -- is to be local, local, local. If Big Local University is playing in the Final Four on the other side of the country, you definitely go. But maybe it's with two writers, a columnist and a photographer instead of the six-person crew that would have been assigned in 1995.

    But for an event like the Masters, how local can that story be? Statistically speaking, you're lucky if you have one local guy playing the tournament. In this day and age, does an editor want to lay out $2,000 to send the columnist?

    That's not to say that I don't like what's happened to the decision-making process in the Internet era. And I'm realistic to know that for every dollar a publisher saves when he makes decisions like this, less than a dime gets reinvested into making the "local, local, local" coverage better. The rest gets mailed to the corporate office 800 miles away that doesn't have to see on a daily basis how the paper had become a shell of its former self.
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I have absolutely no problem with this. Most beat writers will go down there and write the same damn thing the AP would have: This guy won and Tiger didn't, blah blah, Gary Player, blah blah, tumor, blah blah, some other guy cried a lot.

    Go find the stories in your area, about people around you, whom nobody knows about. That's journalism.
  5. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    So now a lot of papers just make do with sending their columnists, who write the same damn thing the AP would have, just not on the same days. ;D

    But that's how it is going: Papers will staff their local teams on the road, and they might use the Final Four, the big golf stops and a championship round in a sport that their team doesn't have (say, e.g., World Series/Portland) as bones to throw their columnists, whose egos need occasional travel gigs. Most places where there is an NFL team will send two or more people on the road for that, otherwise it's single coverage at most for events that require flights.

    I'm still waiting for the day when a few APSE convention cocktails lead to a "We'll cover yours if you covers our" deal, where Paper A assigns its own beat guy and a second staffer to a home game, with the second person filing directly to the visting team's market. Then, when the teams play again in Paper B's town, Paper B does the same thing. Maybe they make the secondary guys talk to the main beat guys by phone before each coverage opportunity.

    Bottom line, two manpower days devoted to coverage of two games, for each paper. But no travel expenses for either. The old "Strangers On A Train" gambit: Criss-cross!

    Gotta figure chains already are doing this, or should be, or maybe even ought to be. But unlinked outlets where the SEs are buddies would be next up, and then it becomes a cost-cutting trend that sweeps the industry! (Goodbye, Marriott points. So long, air miles.)
  6. SilvioDante

    SilvioDante Member

    Readers like to see what the local columnist has to say about big national events. I truly believe this. It's just anecdotal, but the readers I know like to be comfortable with their sports section.

    "Local" is what local people are interested in.
  7. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    I've done that. I've been in contact with the other market's beat writer, told what to watch out for, then filed a story for them in addition to my own.

    It's an unnecessary amount of extra work, especially given that the other place is five hours away.
  8. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    Have to disagree about "local" being what local people are interested in. While the statement is not wrong, the fact of the matter is that AP, ESPN.com, etc., cannot cover Podunk, U.S.A., like you and your newspaper can. That's what you need to be doing while AP, NYT and the others are providing you decent material to run on national news like the Masters.

    I think it's akin to movie reviews. Yeah, it's nice to know what the local critic is thinking, but the version of the movie they show in Los Angeles is the same one they show in El Paso, Fargo, Akron and Athens, Ga. (Unless the movie is "Clue.") Few papers can afford the luxury of paying a local critic for something that one (or more) of their news services is already providing.
  9. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Have to disagree with the local angle, and some people's judgement here. Tiger makes the Masters a local story everywhere. When my mother -- who doesn't know which end of a club to hold -- asks me by phone how Tiger was doing in the third round, it's not about the golf but about the man.
  10. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    If anyone wants to save money on sending someone to Augusta next year, I'm an available stringer just for the Masters and will do it all for free. Just get me the credentials to get in. :)
  11. I get that you're joking around and being light hearted, but someone would probably take you up on it if they could - and people working for practically free because this is such a grand old time is what we really do NOT need in this profession right now.
  12. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    No. Not kidding. I would do it for free. I would use a week's vacation from work, stay with mom and/or dad and work the thing for free, for as many years as it would take me to win the lottery there and play the course.

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