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Why do the national media now own sports scoops?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dick Whitman, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Versatile made this comment on the Boston media thread, and I thought it deserved its own thread. Feel free to reject the premise as part of the discussion, but I think he's onto something.

    Is it the ubiquity of ESPN that has brought us to this point?

    Is it excusable because of that?

    That being the case, what is the value of daily access?

    My own observation from my days on the beat - and this was college football - was that the national media was granted, in some ways, more access than us daily grunts. Pete Thamel could probably waltz right into the head coach's office, or get a one-on-one with the starting quarterback, while the day-in, day-out crew was really carefully restricted.

    I think that the SID and coaching staff innocently thought of it as crowd control - and fairness to everyone. I'm not sure that it dawned on them that they were putting us at a disadvantage.

    Or: Are national guys (and gals) simply better at their jobs than the local hacks, overall? And that's why they are, frankly, national guys (and gals).

    Peripheral to the main discussion: When did the national media begin to own sports scoops?
  2. Justin Biebler

    Justin Biebler Active Member

    Maybe a little of both. I don't think SIDs or coaches even think about putting the local beat guys at a disadvantage, they just do it. But lets face it, national guys have much more reach than the local guys and gals have,
  3. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Resources, prestige, access. In that order.

    They've owned scoops for a couple of decades. Regardless of who gets a story first, ESPN can claim ownership through the factors listed above.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I also wonder how many scoops originate at schools other than the ones being reported on/exposed.

    Adminstrators and coaches are probably much more likely to gossip about places that are not their own. And who talks to administrators and coaches at multiple schools? National guys (and gals). Even if local beatsters do chat up opposing staffs, you have to think that the opposing staffs have to be somewhat cautious thinking of the beat person as essentially an arm of the school he covers. Which is true in some cases.
  5. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    David Brauer tweeted, wondering if agents want a bigger splash for their clients on big stories so would be more likely to chat with national guys and leak info to them. Obviously that's just in the pros. Well, in theory.
  6. bhmccorm

    bhmccorm New Member

    I thought about the same thing reading that Boston story. I covered an SEC football program this past fall and found the exact situation you were talking about with re: to its star player. Despite being his hometown paper, we'd have interview requests turned down when national outlets wouldn't.
    Frustrating, but I think the school saw it as preferable to get national attention, while there also seemed to be a lack or respect or regard for the player's hometown paper. I don't really blame them, but they certainly could help out the locals
  7. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    National guys are necessarily better. Trust me on that. They tend to get preferential treatment because they have a larger audience.
  8. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Do most "scoops" come with any helps from the PR staff though?

    Having been on both ends of the equation, local and national, I'll happily acknowledge that PR staffs sometimes bend over backward for you if you're writing for a big outlet, and will treat you with something bordering on annoyance if you're one of the daily beat guys.

    But again, those are mostly requests for sit downs so I could do a takeout. I doubt any PR guy is going to say "Hey, who wants to break this 'Cam Newton got paid!' " story. Those are the result of work, contacts, talent and hustle. Passan's scoop about the Red Sox team meeting, which is what kicked off this discussion, certainly wasn't approved/leaked by the Sox PR department.
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Precisely. That's why I wondered in a subsequent post about how often scoops actually originated from other schools or organizations. Because, like you said, they aren't leaking negative stories to anyone, national or local.
  10. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Do scoops even matter any more though? Someone's scoop is copy-and-pasted and reported by a hundred outlets seconds later anyway.
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Another interesting dichotomy is book reporting vs. publication reporting.

    I thought that sources would be more helpful when it came to book reporting. I was wrong, mostly. They are more suspicious. Two reasons, I think: First, they think that book these days automatically denotes "expose." I don't know how many times I was asked some variation of, "What's your purpose here?" Second, I think that they think that authors, as opposed to newspaper, Web site, or magazine writers, are getting rich from the endeavor, and they don't like that.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    If you think about it that way, no.

    But it's vital that somebody breaks the stories. Or else we basically just cede our work to team and league Web sites.
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