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TJ Simers slams rival paper

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Almost_Famous, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I'll tell you why this column worked, and why many of his columns work.
    Because of the reaction. We're on the 5th board here. Letters pile in constantly regarding his columns. TJ has found a niche. A schtick. A niche in which he is one of the lone bridges between a reader, a journalists and an overpaid athlete -- the pompous/pretentious athlete.
    Even when he covered a beat, he understood the death of game stories. His "gamers" were analyitical and treaded that line very closely. Everyone knew the score. He was the next step.
    We can debate that all you want. But, if we're going to sit here and tell the reader who scored in the fourth inning in the seventh graph of a game story, then we can start etching the epitath now.
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Fishwrapper -

    All due respect, but we're the choir I mentioned. That we buzz about Simers is meaningless. We buzz here about all sports writers at one time or another, and about all sports writing in general - but we are a tiny, tiny specialty audience arguing the value, craft and aesthetic of one approach over another. We are not general-interest consumers of daily newspapers.

    Nobody, especially not I, suggested that we furnish endless, lifeless game stories. What I am saying is that if you choose to write entertainment pieces, which is what Mr. Simers does, then write them well. Nothing drives people away faster - from a dinner party, or a newspaper subscription - than bad stories, badly told. Which was the case here.

    Here's a shorter way to say it: When I lived in LA, everybody read Mr. Murray. Only a subset of sports fans read Mr. Simers.
  3. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    The "choir" you speak of is much bigger than you think.
    Without getting "too inside baseball," his reaction goes past subscribers from Southern California.
    And, the Jim Murray analogy is tired. Comparing any writer, much less a sportswriter, to Murray is apples/brussell sprouts. Different time, different audience.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Why would anyone care about this? What good would that do the LAT as a business?
  5. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Well, for one, according to second quarter earnings filed with the SEC,  the LA Times website earned $15 million in ad revenue.
    That now makes four major newspapers in the black online (NYT, WashPost, WSJ).
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I don't know how we consider that "in the black." Almost all the content is taken from the print product at no cost to the Web site, correct? If the Web site had to pay for content, there would be either no profit or fewer readers. So it is a faux profit, existing only because the print product props it up.

    And if you are suggesting that Simers' column helps drive Web traffic, I find that very hard to believe since it is a local column. I would think that the LAT's national and international coverage, and Hollywood coverage, would be more of a draw for people outside Southern California than a sports column that is focused on Southern California and breaks no news.
  7. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Frank, you're points are all valid.
    But, the Lakers and Dodgers (TJ favorites) are not (just) local teams.
    And, trust me, ad revenue is ad revenue. I don't care where it comes from. That was revenue that wasn't there nine months ago.
  8. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest


    Let's start with the assertion that the Murray analogy is "tired." How so? Good writing is good writing and can be acknowledged as such even as tastes and audiences and business models change. I wasn't saying that Mr. Murray - a rarity indeed and a genius in his way - should be the yardstick by which we measure quality across the entirety of the contemporary sports page. Rather, what I was trying to illustrate was the idea that the better the writer, the broader the audience. That you automatically discount the comparison, however, I find discouraging in the extreme. It says to me that you no longer care much about writing as an art or a craft of thought and poetry, but instead think of our business merely as a delivery system for whatever poorly assembled widgets we might sell to an easily bamboozled readership.

    And while I also understand the newly atomized web model of smaller and smaller niche audiences, I've been posting about the quality of writing in newspapers and you seem to be posting about the click traffic on websites. Or apples and Brussels sprouts, as you put it.

    Whatever the point of comparison, however, Mr. Simers seems to play to an insufficiently broad audience to be of much interest to anyone but fanboys and other sports writers. Hence my earlier comparison to sports talk radio.

    That the LAT website reports $15 million coming in is a useless figure unless we know how much is flowing out. But if you insist upon the figure, I'd ask this: How do we know that with better writers than Mr. Simers, they wouldn't have made $45 million?

    In the same vein, that the money "wasn't there nine months ago" doesn't mean much. If the LAT had lost that $15M in hard copy ad revenues prior to the 2Q of 2006, and the $15M was merely income being returned to it in the form of web income, then the net result to the company is to have broken even. Perhaps it would have been even smarter not to lose the fifteen million in the first place.

    And finally, if your guiding strategy for the salvation of newspapering is that "ad revenue is ad revenue," you have a splendid future ahead of you in network television.
  9. Barbaro

    Barbaro Member

    You guys can pontificate all day long about TJ and his value to the community or the LAT, but we're now on the fifth page of this thread -- another example that TJ is provocative, which is the whole point of his column in the first place.
  10. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    As has been said - we're sportswriters, not readers. It doesn't matter if we talk about him. We can also do forty pages on candy bars.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    The thread on The Sporting News has the same number of views as this one. And we all know how many people give a rat's ass about TSN. Your conclusion is ridiculous.
  12. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Ann Coulter is provacative too. If you saw pro wrestlers Hawk and Animal - the Road Warriors - walking down the street they way they would come into the ring, you would notice that too. (I liked the Road Warriors, don't like Coulter or TJ)

    I think TJ generates the more reaction on this board than he does anywhere else, mostly because there are some people who, for some reason, think he is a genius. I don't think any of the anti-Simers people have ever started a thread on him. I never make a point to read him, but when somebody posts something the genius did, I read it and laugh about what a fool TJ is.
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