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New Post-Dispatch sports columnist ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BurnsWhenIPee, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Interesting to see Benjamin Hochman as he tries to replace Bernie Miklasz as the main columnist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Doesn't seem to be hitting the ground running, and not making many friends with readers - though to be fair, it's a little bit of an impossible job to fill the shoes of a columnist who was there as long as Bernie was, and is as beloved as Bernie is.

    Here's an example: The reports are that Hochman is "close to" Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and he has yet to dive deeply into the Rams-to-LA possibility from the Kroenke angle. Bernie was all over this story, with everything but talking to the hermit-like owner, and here's what Hochman checks in with today: Hochman: NFL should make Redskins change name : Sports. An old topic and not really on the front burner for St. Louis sports fans.

    The Post-Dispatch reader forums are where Bernie really seemed to make a connection with readers, with interaction, answering questions and making readers think their opinion is being considered.

    Since taking over more than two weeks ago, Hochman has a total of 11 posts in the forum (Bernie would have that amount in a half-day), doesn't answer any questions and started a thread today titled "Let's talk" about the Redskins column, and his totality of the "Let's talk" seems to be his initial post. He put it out there and checked out. View topic - My Redskins column. Let's talk....

    I don't know if he's being pulled in a thousand different directions and is having trouble handling it all or what, but definitely not the start he needed to have.
     
  2. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    It would be a bit much to ask a guy who's 2-3 weeks on the job to untangle and unpack the Rams/moving mess the way Bernie had addressed it, even if Hochman is originally from the area.

    I know St. Louis a little bit from back in the day, it is my sense that folks there are hyper-local fans who aren't necessarily real worked up about talk radio-style debates.
     
  3. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Then he probably shouldn't have time to weigh in on the Redskins name controversy that hasn't exactly riveted the St. Louis sports community. If he has a relationship with Kroenke - which apparently no one else in the media there has - he's wasting a prime opportunity.

    Miklasz was awesome about being active on those forums daily, discussing things with readers who both agreed or disagreed with him. With Bernie still in the market, it's a big failing to have a columnist refuse to do the same. And for him to start a "let's talk" thread and then ignore it is almost stunning.
     
  4. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Now, 89 posts in, and he's yet to respond to anyone. Maybe he should change the title of the thread to "You talk about My column."

    Wow. Just wow.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    1) Do we know he does, or is that just what message board fanbois say? I know one writer who is an alum of at least five different schools according to the forums.

    2) Why is he wasting a prime opportunity? Maybe he is going to write next week. Or the week after. Or when the timing is right or he has a better feel for a complex issue that most of the locals don't even fully understand.
     
  6. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Here's from the story introducing him as the new columnist.

    If he's easing into it and will write when the time is right, that's fine. But with taking over from a very well-connected, well-respected journalist who is still in town working for another media outlet, it's a pretty big risk to not hit the ground running, IMO.
     
  7. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Frankly, that intro writeup sounds like bullshit. Stan Kroenke does not have any media relationships -- his comments are extremely rare and only serve his pre-set agenda. So if that's what people are latching onto, that is the fault of the editor making the columnist sound more in the know than he or anyone else actually is with that family.

    Regarding the column on the Redskins' name, I don't know what the P-D has done on it, but it is worth noting that they play the Rams this week, and peeking in at something involving the other team isn't exactly out of bounds either.
     
  8. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    I agree it sounds like bullshit. But ... I'd also be very surprised if the editor or writer of that piece pulled that "he has a connection with Rams owner Stan Kroenke" thing out of thin air.
     
  9. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    I've read his columns and have been underwhelmed. He might be better on the podcasts with Goold, but I don't watch those (or any podcasts, for that matter).
     
  10. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Ben isn't going to do things like Bernie. That's just the way it is. Ben reached a younger audience in Denver that Woody and Kizla don't. He's a younger columnist, makes younger references and approaches things differently. Hasn't traditionally been a hot take guy, and that's a good thing. Features and making you laugh/feel with columns is where Ben shines. And I highly doubt Ben will be deep into forum engagement unless he's pushed from the powers at be. Twitter is his second home and he's great at engaging with readers and growing an audience there. To expect him to come and be Bernie is ridiculous. Why would a guy three weeks on the job be as entrenched in the St. Louis community as a longtime columnist? He was hired to be himself and not emulate the person who held the job last.

    Look at Gregg Doyle in Indianapolis. Does a hell of a job, but he doesn't do it the way Kravitz does. And there's nothing wrong with that.
     
  11. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    St. Louis is an old school town. The "wit and whimsy of the millennial" hits a bloop single there. If we're honest, Bernie shined there precisely because he was neck-deep in the details and forums. It's what people want in STL. It's a baseball town - the craziest on Earth, probably - and baseball fans are insane human beings.

    Which makes money for Twitter. Or doesn't make money for Twitter, because Twitter doesn't make money, but it doesn't make very much money for your employer, leveraging that place. It's good for fielding questions and then writing about that on your site, but Twitter is largely a waste of time for journalists. As in, they waste their time there, for fucking hours, when they could be doing something much more useful. It does not drive generally traffic. The same 9 people care about your opinion on there. Most journalists are not nearly as funny or witty or insightful as they imagine themselves to be on there. I don't mean this specifically about Hochman - I've never seen his Twitter feed and wouldn't have any cause to - but as a universal truth. That's because, with the rarest of exceptions, they serve little more than the individual ego of the person in question. It does not make journalists better. It turns them into, as it has turned Clay Travis into, a mindless strip mall of words.

    Twitter should be no journalist's content home, second, third, summer cottage, or otherwise. It is, again, truly overrated.
     
  12. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    I agree with almost all of that. I don't get the infatuation with Twitter. It's a good place to link stories or photos, but as a news tool/content home? Nah. The only time I really follow it is I need info on a live game I can't get on one of the major sites or I am expecting some news to break or need an update on breaking news.
     
    BurnsWhenIPee likes this.
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