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Wash Post: With Readers, Sports Pages Can't Win

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Flying Headbutt, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member


    Seems like this discussion is going on here every day. So here's today's version.
  2. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Wow. Deborah Howell certainly has a flair for the obvious.
  3. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    All the news that fits the quarterly earnings report. That ought to drive newsstand sales.
  4. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    That's funny. I've heard editors claim that readers don't notice and/or don't care if a story is staff-generated or AP.

    Guess those Post readers are really loyal to their beat guys.
  5. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    For as obvious as it is, you have to hope that at least one reader who constantly complains would just stop and say, "Hmm...okay. Makes sense."

    But you know that doesn't happen.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Readers want results in the paper? Wow, we've been told for years that readers "already know the score" by the time the paper arrives. And, of course, since newspapers have been ceding more of the basics to the Internet, well, newspaper circulation has gone up, right? Right? Sorry, I don't know how to do that sarcasm font.

    I loved this:

    Ralph Blessing of the District e-mailed to say: "Gee, if I wanted to rely on the Internet for my sports info, why would I bother subscribing to The Post in the first place?"
  7. ECrawford

    ECrawford Member

    The sad thing about these discussions -- and the Warren Buffett observations discussed in an earlier thread -- is that they've been daily rants in every newsroom and sports department I've ever worked in for more than a decade.

    And the thing I'll never understand is that if reporters and editors get it -- that it's the quality of reporting and writing and photos and the news in the newspaper, on that newsprint, that defines the quality and worth of a paper (and not the stock price, profit margin, niche publications and any other number of things that can be manipulated with budget tightening) -- then why can't the geniuses who run these businesses, and in fact are running them into the ground?

    The wonderful thing that this piece shows (and no, it's not a surprise to any of us who have been saying all this for years) is that even READERS are telling papers that if they abandon the print product too soon, they're undercutting their efforts online and elsewhere.
  8. patchs

    patchs Active Member

    Anyone read the comments?
    Howell is taking shots for writing about sports when there are other issues to rail on.
  9. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    "Taking shots" might even be putting it lightly. She is being lambasted.

  10. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    That was my first reaction...'duh.'

    But I would guess that a majority of readers really have no understanding of what she's explaining (rationalizing?)---deadlines, costs, beats, reasons they cover and don't cover certain teams and events---and maybe her comments helped shine a light on the reality of the news business. I don't think her column was directed at those who already live and die by that reality.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Yup. And it's her job, to 'splain.

    Newspapers are kind of caught in a no-win, though. Readers do want the paper earlier -- my wife gets up early and if the paper isn't there, it does her no good. We live in an area where we have a choice of newspapers, and our choice for home delivery is decided entirely by the delivery people. Our favorite paper wasn't getting here on time, so too bad -- guess we'll just give the other paper the home delivery biz and I'll check out the others on the Net.

    But sports fans also want a complete product, and the only way to to manage that is more presses so the press run won't take as long. That's an expensive investment, especially if you don't believe the newsprint product has a future. But to not make the investment kind of ensures people are going to be displeased. It's like putting a doll under the Christmas tree that's missing an arm or a leg. Kid wakes up, goes downstairs with enthusiasm and expectations, and wonders why she can't have a complete doll. Does Santa not like her? Is Santa a lazy fuck? Did one of those goddamn elves screw up? Where's the damn arm? So yeah, I think the ombud was just trying to explain.
  12. accguy

    accguy Member

    The thing I can't understand is that despite technology that is supposed to be better than in the past, deadlines seem to get earlier and earlier. It doesn't make any sense.

    At our place, we went to a new deadline situation about 18 months ago. Our first deadline was actually later, but more people would get that paper. If the final paper got a grade of A, this was a B edition rather than the former C edition that the state edition folks got.

    Well, the deadlines keep creeping earlier. Essentially the paper that were getting a B paper are now getting a C paper. There are people who live 30 miles from downtown, who get a 10 p.m. deadline paper. The problem is that they have no other option for home delivery. I can't blame them for not buying the paper.
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