Is It Really A Problem That 'Only' 31 Newspapers Sent Reporters To The World Series?

from the really? dept

Earlier this year, we had a discussion on the changing nature of sports beat reporting in the internet era, and one of the points we made is that there really is an awful lot of overlap and duplication in effort in some cases (such as the NY media). And yet, as pointed out by Jay Rosen old school baseball reporter Murray Chass is complaining that about half of the newspapers that have baseball beat writers did not sent a reporter to the World Series this year, calling it a “sign of a dying industry.” Apparently there are 60 newspapers in America that have beat reporters who travel with the teams they cover, but only 31 of those papers sent reporters to the World Series.

I’m really searching to see how this is a problem. First of all, those 29 other papers are all papers whose local teams are not in the World Series, meaning less interest. Second, those beat reporters are equally capable of watching the games on TV from the comfort of their own home and getting their quotes from the televised press conferences afterwards. It’s not as if a player on the Yankees is going to break an important story to the Braves beat reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. All they’d really be doing is adding to the media scrum around the players before and after each game, adding absolutely nothing of value. On top of that, the count of papers also leaves out the national media reporters — such as those from ESPN and Sports Illustrated — as well as the the reporters employed by I’d argue that the fact that about half of the papers decided not to send their own beat reporters is a sign of (finally) smarter newspaper management in not wasting money on a boondoggle for a baseball reporter.

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Comments on “Is It Really A Problem That 'Only' 31 Newspapers Sent Reporters To The World Series?”

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Joe (profile) says:

I may be wrong...

But it sounds to me like his claim it’s a “sign of a dying industry” is referring to baseball, whether he knows it or not. I mean, outside of a few markets (Chicago and Boston come to mind), are there even that many people that care about baseball anymore? I’m surprised that there were even 31 reporters that were sent out there. Seems like a really high number honestly.

anonymous jew says:

Baseball Schmaseball....

I have so many better things to think about these days.

This game is for children, as are all sports. If you are still watching and caring who wins the WS past the age of 18, you probably still live in your parent’s basement; either physically or emotionally.

Give your baseball cards to a 10-year-old and join the rest of us adults in the real world. The lessons you were supposed to learn from *playing* sports should have been learned by now. There is no longer any value in sitting in a sportsbar, swilling MGD and *watching* other grown men chase a ball around like my dog enjoys doing so much.

Get a car, get a job, get a girlfriend, get a clue, and start contributing something to society other than “BOOYA!”

anonymous jew says:

Re: Re: Baseball Schmaseball....

You’ll be happy, I hope, to know that I do not have a WoW login to trade you. I’m glad you used that comparison however, because it shows that you get my point. I too pretty much equate an avid baseball fan with an avid Wow player. Same comments apply.

Yes, it is *just* entertainment I suppose. And yes, there are all sorts of entertainment. And yes, everyone is free to enjoy whatever they enjoy…

But I was appealing to the inner voice is these people who place *so much* value on baseball, or , or whatever, that they stop paying attention to everything else going on in the world.

It’s shameful when you can tell me who won last years championship, but can’t name all the candidates for the last Presidential election. (I know that sounds crazy, but BELIEVE ME, there are many who fit that shoe)

Huh? says:

Re: Baseball Schmaseball....

If you have better things to do, why are you even spending the time to comment here?

I’m sure your a successful CEO or ladder climber, married to a model, and have a penthouse apartent next to Bernard Madoff- seeing you have so much time to make stupid comments on things you don’t care about–being in the real world and all.

Have you been hanging around the frat house too long, hanging around the “Booya!” crowd?

It’s not our fault that your still dealing childhood memories of athletic failure like coming in last all the time running the track, getting picked last for dodge ball, or getting rejected by the girl you sat next to in freshman English.

Stop worrying about other people and take a look in the mirror.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can remember a time not long ago when pretty much every baseball city would have a print reporter and often a TV news team at the world series games. They would be in there getting the ‘scoop’, and would be a feature part of the paper or the local TV news. After all, if you are a fan of baseball and followed it all year, then the world series is important, similar to the superbowl… but it takes longer.

However, as the local market for news (print and TV) has been rocked by losses of advertisers and whatnot, it has become way more economical for them just to run the wire stories, perhaps getting a local reporter to do a standup for them for TV news, etc.

It should be noted that baseball in many cities is starting to look like a third rate attraction. Way too many games, way too long of an attention span for younger viewers, and a system that has pretty much 80% of the teams out of the championship race by June. The world series doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere near the hype or coverage anymore, in fact I would not be able to tell you who is in the world series this year, nor would I care.

Baseball is past it’s prime.

MonicaS (profile) says:

I don’t think this is as much a problem as it is a sign of the times. There really is no need for everyone and their mother to be at a game covering it. Technology makes everything instant. No need to cram everyone in a room, or a ball park when we can stream just about everything now.

As for the game! I think fewer games would help greatly! Its just too diluted right now.

Monica S
Los Angeles Computer Repair

cryptozoologist (profile) says:

but what _is_ a sign of a dying industry...

is what is implicit in the following excerpt:
“First of all, those 29 other papers are all papers whose local teams are not in the World Series”

what is implied is that each town has only one newspaper. while certainly the norm these days it was not that long ago that most cities of reasonable size had a ‘morning’ and an ‘evening’ paper. if one goes back even further in time the larger cities likely had even more than 2 papers. sigh.

King Kaufman (user link) says:

I don't like milk, ergo, milk is FINISHED!

I love how people are responding to this interesting piece about the changing nature of newspaper coverage by taking the opportunity to sniff at baseball, and then wildly extrapolating their own lack of interest in it to mean that baseball is dooooomed. Snappy analysis, commenters!

“I mean, outside of a few markets (Chicago and Boston come to mind), are there even that many people that care about baseball anymore?”

Well, considering baseball sets attendance and revenue records almost every year, I’m going to say yes. There’s a little city called New York you may have heard of. About 7 million people went to major league baseball games there this year. That’s about 43,000 a night, every night from April to October. Yeah, it’s just dying on the vine, baseball.

“Way too many games, way too long of an attention span for younger viewers, and a system that has pretty much 80% of the teams out of the championship race by June.”

There’s been 162 games since 1961, eight more than there was for the half century before that. They added a layer of playoffs in 1969 and another in 1995, adding a max of 12 games to any one team’s schedule, and then it’s only two teams that can play that many. I missed the link to your figures on attention span, kids and baseball.

And the 80 percent figure for teams out of contention is true, except for the fact that it’s false. Considering that 27 percent of the teams make the playoffs, it’s kind of absurd to say 80 percent of them are out of it by June. As of Aug. 1 this season, just to pick a random date and year, I would say 18 of the 30 teams could reasonably say they were in contention for the playoffs. That’s 40 percent out of the championship race, by August, not June. In contention for the playoffs is in contention for the championship. The playoffs are a crapshoot. The best team involved doesn’t have much better odds to win than the worst.

On the subject of the piece: The thinking at newspapers has traditionally been that if you don’t send a reporter to the World Series, the Super Bowl, the heavyweight title fight and so on, you are bush league. It’s a sign of failure, of small-timeness. Advertisers notice it. Competitors, back when there were multiple papers in a town, would harp on it. It would endanger your ability to be taken seriously when you applied for a credential next time around. It was not a stupid thing to do. You have to keep in mind the tremendous margins newspapers operated with until very recently. I worked at newspapers in the late ’80s through mid-’90s, I subscribed to this theory, and while I think it no longer applies, I don’t think it was wrong then.

Newspapers have been a little slow to adjust to the new reality here, as they’ve been in other areas, of course. But it’s not simply a matter of their being stupid. It’s not a straight, simple, dollars-cents analysis — it costs more than it makes back to send a reporter, so we shouldn’t send one. There are benefits to sending a reporter to a big event even if it costs a paper money, and even if the reporter comes back with the same story as 59 other reporters, which you’d hope he wouldn’t. In the scheme of things, newspapers being a few years behind the curve on this particular question isn’t even in the top 100 stupid things they’ve done as an industry in the last 15 years.

JustMe says:


The lack of interest from newspapers could also be attributed to the extending of the MLB season. Baseball season lasts eight months, and hockey, football and basketball have already started. What we could be seeing here is that newspapers no longer have the resources to dedicate a reporter to every sport, so they have chosen to focus on other events which have more interest for their local readers.

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