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The Athletic layoffs

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by silvercharm, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    That has been my one consistent complaint about The Athletic — that the stories are too damn long.
  2. silvercharm

    silvercharm Member

    It's not just The Athletic. It's a lot of places. With the internet, there's no hole to fill. Overwriting has become an epidemic.
  3. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Agreed. But it's more than "there's no hole to fill."

    It's "time on page is a metric we use, and even if the story is less effective, the longer we keep them, the better it'll be for the metric." (Not sure if this is true at The Athletic but it is at other places.)

    My biggest beef, honestly. is the abundance of extended, padded ledes. I think this is done in part to differentiate the content.
    JimmyHoward33 likes this.
  4. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to think of a faster way to burn through money and having zero to show for it once the money runs out than hiring Jay Mariotti and Rick Reilly and I literally can't. Jay doesn't seem to realize how much the world has changed since he was barking for dollars on ESPN, before his personal woes torpedoed his lucrative gig of reading other people's reporting and have an opinion on it. Jay Mariotti's "brand" is worth literally nothing in the current marketplace. The explosion of Twitter and such has completely democratized inessential opinion makers like himself. If your only skill is a lack of tact or shame when it comes to calling for people's jobs, plus the volume at which you speak it or type it, no one gives a fuck anymore. People like Mariotti coasted and got paid at a time when the business had no discernible way to measure anything, and it turns out, the people in charge were unwittingly stomping on the accelerator, driving the bus toward the edge of a cliff, by paying Jay Mariotti huge sums of money. I love Sally Jenkins and Ray Ratto. I'd subscribe to a place to read them. I am the most niche reader I can possible imagine.

    I'm trying to come up with a monetary figure you'd have to pay *me* to read Jay Mariotti's empty, unreported tripe. I've settled at $50 a column. You'd have to put $50 in my bank account every time I read one just make it worth my time. Any lower figure and I'd pass. I might read one or two for $20 a pop, but anything beyond that would not be worth the time or effort. Sounds like an incredible business model. I'm sure someone who saw that Jay is killing it at something called "BarrettSportsMedia" would love to fund such an endeavor.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  5. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    It takes skill to tell a story in 1,500 words. It just does.
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I read all of Reilly's stuff and it was mostly mailed-in junk. He was also in and out in a flash, which makes me wonder what kind of deal he had. Maybe I don't want to know how much he got per story.
  7. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member


    Like a farm subsidy, we should all be paying Jay Mariotti not to write.

    Also, it's perfect 20/20 Mariotti retcon to look back on the Athletic and judge its 2016 business model using the pandemic that shut down sports entirely four years later.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  8. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Too busy making out in the LSU press box.
  9. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Did a Kansas City Star Monday A section a few weeks ago. 112-inch, 67-inch and 63-inch stories all crammed into one 8-page section.

    40-inchers more the norm in sports. But then that's usually a little more than 3 pages.
  10. ChadFelter

    ChadFelter Member

    I've never worked there, but everyone in the business should have been rooting - and should continue to root - for The Athletic to succeed. It's the only site in America giving sports journalism a shot at long-term sustainability. As newspapers die, those sports sections will die, and any blog site that is spewing content that isn't worth paying for isn't going to create any jobs for anyone. The Athletic came up with a model that brought in 600K+ subscribers. This pandemic caused Friday to be a step back, but it's not dead yet.

    And I disagree with Mariotti. I don't think many people would pay to read columns on various national topics. People reach for their wallet for niche coverage they can't get anywhere else, and The Athletic was providing superior coverage of a lot of topics (college football for one) and a higher quantity of coverage in markets where coverage is drying up from newspapers.
    sgreenwell likes this.
  11. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I think when it comes to people like Mariotti, and to a greater extent Stephen A., there can be some cause-and-effect confusion as to their popularity. (By this, I mean the whole "the arguing is the content" sort of performer.) Like, I don't think people are turning on ESPN because Stephen A. Smith is on there - he's not drawing in eyeballs. But, I think he's going to hold people's attention if people are channel flipping, if ESPN is the last channel you watched the night before, as opposed to Generic Morning Sports Program or Tape Delayed Sport. For similar reasons, I begged my parents to subscribe to the Providence Journal way back when because there was coverage of the Red Sox and Celtics, but I stuck around because I liked reading Bill Reynolds' Saturday columns. I don't think a site built around just "here's a take!" opinion pieces could work.

    (Small aside - Stephen A hasn't sent a tweet since June 6. Is he on a vacation or on "vacation" right now?)
  12. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    So get to the point please although I appreciate the last few pages of posts: How long does The Athletic have before it's sold? Somebody would buy it in an instant right?
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