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Hal McCoy's run is ending...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by hpdrifter, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    I didn't think it could get any worse in this business. Hal McCoy is the authority on the Cincinnati Reds.

    True to form, Hal musters up a great lede -- The hammer fell today and it hurts like hell.
  2. Sad day. ... Read Hal every day while in college. ... And sad to see how far the DDN, which once was so proud of having its people seemingly everywhere, has apparently fallen.
  3. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I don't want people here to take this the wrong way, but things like this really make me think, "maybe newspapers deserve to die."
    Other times, I limit that thought to the people who own them.
  4. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    Wow, what a shock. I've read Hal for many years and I only consider myself an average baseball fan. He was an excellent read and he will be missed.

    Sad to see things slipping away.
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    There's no world in which "Hal McCoy not working for us" is a better decision than "Hal McCoy working for us." Not a better business decision, not a better financial decision, not a better editorial decision, not a better community relevance decision. On no level is that a better decision for a newspaper or any other company. There's just no other way to spin it.

    Don't blame the economy or "repositioning" or anything else. It's just idiotic, greedy, short-sighted management. Simple as that.
  6. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Hmm. His blog entry was changed from "not home or away" to "not the same way". Hopefully he changed it, not some dopey-ass flunkie worried about the beancounters.

    A shame, a real shame, but I am not surprised, which is sad in itself.
  7. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    I was thinking just now that the DDN staff, out of protest, ought to band together and threaten to resign if Hal is not reinstated. I know that would be incredibly unusual, but it's certainly a gesture that would be appropriate given Hal's incredible run at the paper.

    Just one problem with my idea: the DDN would probably fire all of them, too.
  8. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member


    Who next? Edwin Pope? Criminy.
  9. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    One variation of a famous quote said by many is, you can tell a lot about a culture by how it treats its elderly and its children.

    I think, from three decades on the inside, I have a pretty good idea of how the newspaper biz traditionally treats its veterans. It uses them up and then picks them off when it feels like it. Except for those few who seek and gain the shelter of a cushy management job, I have seen way too many terrific journalists treated like yesterday's fast-food wrappers when ... hell, whenever some boss who doesn't have their backs decides to.

    This is a bad business for a lot of reasons, but this is one of the biggies.
  10. MrBSquared

    MrBSquared Member

    It’s not often you get the chance to work with a “hall-of-fame” talent.

    Me? I was lucky enough to work with three.

    In my first days (and first stint) at the Dayton Daily News (back when it was the “evening” paper and the “morning” paper, still, was the Journal Herald), Si Burick was in the final days of his career as Sports Editor for the DDN, Ritter Collett still held the Sports Editor post for the Journal Herald … and Hal McCoy was the DDN’s beat writer for the Cincinnati Reds.

    There aren’t many papers like Dayton – a paper without a major professional franchise in town, but with a hall-of-fame writer on the staff … let alone three of them.

    But, the fact that Burick, Collett and McCoy are in the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame made Dayton solely unique.

    “Made” … in the past tense.

    The reason? Simple. Money. For McCoy to do his job – and do it at the level that earned him a place in baseball’s shrine – would mean, in addition to his far-too-modest salary (considering his talent, his output and in comparison to what some overrated people make in the industry) the DDN would have to spend about $250,000 in expenses.

    That’s the cost of sending McCoy on the road with the team.

    Not gonna happen next year.

    That’s the cost of keeping a writer whose reputation, body of work and stature raised the profile of the paper across the nation.

    Nope. Not worth it.

    That’s the cost for 162-games worth of pithy insight, institutional knowledge and award-winning stories – in other words, the kind of stuff that <i>sells</i> newspapers.

    Hmmm … uhhh, nah.

    <i>Bean-counters 247,431,216 … journalism 0</i>

    The short-sightedness of this decision could fill, oh, about 15 books … and would still fall short of listing all the reasons it is wrong, not to mention fall well short of the long list of insipid decisions that have, essentially, raped the industry of any shred of dignity or credibility.

    But, let’s not dwell on that. It’s not worth wasting the time and not worthy of the man.

    Instead, let’s talk about how McCoy handled the decision.

    Instead of throwing a prima donna fit, or calling people names, or whining about how it is unfair to force out someone who has devoted, literally, more than half his life to doing a job better than, well, just about anyone else has done before … Hal McCoy said he understood why it had to happen.

    Yep. He showed class – and, I pray to God above, that the people running the DDN (and other papers) were taking notes.

    McCoy wrote that he understood, in these tough economic times, that the money spent sending him on the road to cover the Reds could be used to save the jobs of other people.

    And he thanked the paper for the chance to spend 37½ years doing something he absolutely loved, for giving him the chance to continue when his eyesight began to fail him – McCoy is legally blind – and for providing him with help getting to and from the ballpark.

    He asked that no one hold the decision against the paper, and he thanked his loyal readers for their support over the decades.

    Anyone who has met McCoy would not be surprised. He is a class act. Always has been. There was plenty of reason to have a huge ego, but no desire to develop one. McCoy was cordial, professional and friendly to everyone … even wet-behind-the-ears wannabes who followed him around like a puppy at the ballpark.

    The DDN, apparently, will not replace McCoy on the beat. It will, instead, cover the team – long a staple of the paper’s Sports section – with wire reports and stories/features from other papers.

    Good. Pity the writer who would have to fill McCoy’s shoes. Not possible.

    Better to go ahead and surrender and not insult the man’s legacy.
  11. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    out of respect for Hal, the DDN should have done this when Hal was ready to give it up, which probably was in just a few more years. should have been his call, not the asswipes running the show.
  12. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Spot on.

    I've never shared a press box with Hal McCoy, nor have I read his coverage of the Cincinnati Reds. But a sad day in the business is a sad day in the business.
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