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More cuts: ESPNHS unit

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by silvercharm, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. silvercharm

    silvercharm Member

    It's making the rounds on Twitter today that ESPN.com is shuttering its high school site, laying off 75 writers/editors. Story on SBJ, but its behind a paywall.

    A rough week gets worse, people.
  2. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Sad. When the NCAA shot down ESPN's little HS football jig with the Longhorn Network, I guess you could see this coming.
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Always sad to see someone lose a gig. I do wonder though, was this the same part of ESPN that was hosting those 7-on-7 camps and tournaments?
    Just seemed ripe for getting the network into some recruiting trouble by bringing together coaches, sponsors and athletes.
  4. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    A lot of really talented people are getting jettisoned in this.

    I know a few. And even in this horrible environment, I never envisioned the likes of them being without work.

    Four years ago, I banned myself from coming to this site because it depressed me too much. And starting tonight, I am reinstating that ban. Geesh.
  5. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I didn't write that to be flippant, either.

    ESPN's model is built on securing contracts to broadcast sports. While ESPN is able to overpay/overbid for many of those contracts, you worry about the day when the NFL and collegiate conferences simply stage their own football broadcasts. I fear that whole editorial departments that lose money (in part out of big salaries for newspaper talent) will disappear, poof, in the night.
  6. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Based on what it takes to put together a legitimate broadcast of major-college football, I'm not sure ESPN will ever want for programming. The Big Ten Network pulls it off pretty well, but other conferences simply don't have the national following to justify staging game broadcasts at their own expense.

    And why should they, when they can partner with the juggernaut that is ESPN and slap an "SEC Network!" logo on?

    That said, I do agree that while the cable arm of ESPN is printing money, ESPN's online operation will not take advantage of this forever.
  7. Provonian

    Provonian New Member

    As a newbie trudging through the high school sports writing scene for a few years, I got to know a few of the ESPNHS guys. Good reporters, solid writers, and definitely guys who will be moving up in the world.

    If a mighty juggernaut like ESPN can't support a HS Web site, what does this mean for the rest of us who are trying to jump into the field? Is there a place for prep sports news in the media landscape of the future?

    OK, so maybe that last one was a bit hyperbolic and excessively apocalyptic ... But I can't help but let my mind wander to what these cuts mean in a broader landscape.

    Best wishes to the unlucky folks. But I'm confident they can bounce back, and even stronger (at least, the few that I met during AAU tournaments, etc).
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Yes, at the local TV/newspaper level Where it's always thrived quite a bit. You may read pushback on what I just wrote, but that pushback may be a meme.
  9. Mulligan

    Mulligan Guest

    I see this more a statement on the model ESPN took than anything. Over the past few years, it's high school coverage has become more and more inline with college or pros.

    There's just not enough interest in national high school news to run a sustainable business. There's for sure no interest in game or event coverage, which is what that group did a lot of.

    And the audience interested in that coverage is already consuming ESPN's recruiting content, so more or less ESPN was likely fighting for the same ad revenue.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I remember talking to a friend at ESPN a year or so ago and he was telling me that the goal there was to have a beat writer/blogger for every major college, and every big four pro team.

    I told him it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard in my life and that if it lasted 2-3 years it would be a miracle.
  11. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    Pretty much what I was revving up to post.

    The five major stories on the ESPNHS front are as follows: national softball player of the year, preseason top 50 runup feature on one of the schools expected to be ranked (which I read because the school is within a mile of where my ma lives), a story comparing a HS point guard to Tyreke Evans, a water polo player feature and a 400 runner from Dallas hoping to make the Olympic cut. The only story that has anything other than local/specialized interest is the point guard story, and that's coverable in recruiting coverage. Who reads the story about the softball player of the year other than people in the community and hardcore softball fans? And that's just theoretical audience, presuming that everyone knows ESPNHS exists.

    All politics and all high school sports interest is local. Having a national HS presence answers a question that nobody is asking. They would have better luck signing a couple of permanent employees and hiring stringers (either double-dippers from local newspapers or true freelancers) to do low-budget but ESPN-branded state/local sites. But I'm guessing they're in no mood to dip into the HS coverage bin again past football/basketball.
  12. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Seems like there's a high schools section of every ESPN local site.....Boston Dallas NY etc. That's where the HS coverage belongs and can thrive, not on the national level.
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