So here we go again with the annual guessing game of how more Boston Globe buyouts may or may not affect the Sports section of Joe Sullivan. With a lower threshold for minimum years, we’re now getting into an area where even some of the less gray, graybeards will be in the mix. However, the reported packages are also less attractive and the uncertain job market (despite a perception that Internet jobs abound) could cause quite a few candidates to stand pat and ride out the next wave of defections.
Last year’s managerial maneuver to reduce staff really only took Tony Chamberlain from Sully’s desk (with an editor or two) and there was also the calculated cut of Ron Borges. Speculation will once again turn to the Basketball Bob Ryan, the elder statesman of the page, but after not having Ryan for a few weeks there, we don’t even want to start contemplating a permanent reduction in Ryan reading. Ryan has consistently said he’ll continue to write for the foreseeable future. Dan Shaughnessy isn’t going anywhere as long as he has Curt Schilling to bully around and Jackie Mack won’t be hanging up the laptop bag any time soon. Once again, it appears the Sports desk’s impact from downsizing will be felt mostly behind-the-scenes.
We will say this though: The outright decree that the web side will be untouched is peculiar to us. It’s also a potentially giant mistake. Boston.com is still in huge need of a marquee personality and/or feature to lure a skeptical public. Since none has emerged beyond the Mike Reiss creation (please, spare us your DimDog – he’s about as relevant these days as Eddie Andelman) within the 1.0 version of the site, shouldn’t some of the “dot-com originals” also be encouraged to seek new adventures?
At least one Globie has indicated over the past six months to Shots that the dot-com is, sadly, showing signs of getting stuck in the same “ruts” that the print section has been experiencing for the better part of the decade.
Lastly, I’ve got a great way for the desk to save a TON of money (which is what all of this is about): Pare down the blown-out Olympics coverage and give the entire month of coverage to Sales to cut up and sell off any way they see fit.
Editorially, you send John Powers, but only as a Blog First/Paper Second analyst. Give him a young buck (Amalie Benjamin perhaps) and Shira “Destined for Beijing” Springer plus one of the dot.commers. Send Basketball Bob for the hoops medal round and supplement everything else with with home blog coverage by your Eric Wilbur and Chris Forsberg-types. Oh, and one each of a photo and copy editor, preferably from the web side for both, with HTML ability.
Get as much of the coverage sponsored as possible and don’t waste more than a spread of print coverage per day – unless the entire section can be sold at a rate matching the potential web rates for “Unique Content from Globe Writers.” Have the geniuses in the nice suits with the iPhones sell the thing as hard as they’ve ever sold anything and prove to the public that the Globe can cover a modern day Olympics the way it once covered the previous era’s competitions.
The Olympics are a completely Internet event and as such, the traditional print model for coverage of The Games needs to be blown up and re-shaped around Boston.com (and its partner sites).
How does a sports website (perhaps BSM, even) not get included in the first category? What a joke.
In the second category there is a cable access guy, but not one sportscaster in what is arguably the country’s most rabid sports city?
And finally, in the third category, there is no mention of TC’s on Haviland. And if you try and tell us it’s not a sports bar, you’re part of the problem yourself.
Worst. Poll. Ever.
• I don’t say this without careful examination, so take heed when I say the Ryan/Shaughnessy “Globe 10.0″ on Tuesday was the show’s finest 30 minutes to date. The categories were comprehensive and the combatants were lively. It was the closest to Korn and Wilby “The Point” has been and we almost think a full-time pairing of the Whitehead and the Redhead could be the answer that finally allows the show to spread its wings beyond the current incarnation. With Bob & Dan (in that order) and a steady “Five Good Minutes”-type segment from the paper’s experts – plus an athlete or newsmaker of note per show, the NESN creation will have fulfilled its destiny and will have its best chance of being must-see NESN TV. (Something the ‘Net’s Spring Training coverage has bordered on at several points.)
• Don’t get me wrong on this one. A story on Ex-non-Massachusettsian-cheerleaders who took steroids is really, deeply relevant to a Bostonian’s life. The focus of the story even lives in Freehold, New Jersey now, so there’s almost a local peg if you stretch out and count the Swamplands as part of New England. Rivetting stuff, really. So very New York Timesy!
But we sure would rather Editor Sully the Inconsistent Blogger deploy his investigative troops out to Amherst to get a look at the Gorilla Lacrosse situation. The Globe’s section – not to mention most of the locals – has already been behind on the story and in light of the post-Duke Scandal world of college lacrosse, it certainly is deserving of some reportage.
Or maybe we can get another thrilling Springer re-cap of the shot-put trials. Spare me.
. . . Oh, and Sully, we’re not buying your Hawks after dropping a Thursday night stunner at HOME to St. Louis. Definition of BAD LOSS. Here’s something we can surely both agree upon: The A-10 is the biggest disappointment of a conference in the nation after its torrid non-conference start that had some of us thinking of a Glory Days four bid season. It’s looking like two now, and I’ll be damned if it’s not going to be Xavier’s A Team and Xavier’s B Team that take ‘em both.
• Insert your own Bobby Knight-goes-wild-on-an-ESPN-PA joke, but more importantly, let’s start taking stabs at how much Disney money The General is robbing from the Bristol General Store? Take note, before you venture a dollar figure, it’s an across-platform deal and starts with Championship Week. “As part of the agreement, Knight will also appear on select ESPN shows and platforms, including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and ESPNEWS,” said the Network.
Can we start the bidding in the low six-figures for the month-plus?
• The NSSA awards were noteworthy for more than just Ryan’s inclusion, but also for the fact Steve Hyder (a Umie, of course) got some recognition for his great efforts. Hyder, come to think of it, would have been the better option for the Jon Rish limited PBP role that Entercom arranged in the off-season. Gives a bit of the “American Idol” aspect to the rotation as well. Bring up the AAA guy to the Bigs, move the Double AA PBP guy to AAA, etc.
Dr. Charles would see the beauty of that. Not sure if any of the re-configured front office would though.
Wow. We already miss Doc Chuck (who’s already weaving his magic in La-La Land) and a meaningful pitch hasn’t been tossed in Ought-Eight.
David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.
His work – and weekly college hoops report card – for CSTV.com can be found at Hang Time throughout all of March Madness, beginning with the Conference USA Tournament on March 12 and continuing through the NCAA Tournament in Little Rock, Houston and finally San Antonio for the Final Four.
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