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Thursday, March 25, 2010

WSJ Adds Sports Beats to Take on The Times

The Journal’s New York sports section will assign beat reporters to the major local sports teams, including the Mets, Yankees, Jets, Giants and the Knicks, sources said. They’ll be credentialed for home games, and they’ll travel to road games.

In the old days, a young Journal reporter may have dreamed of a day when he landed a Citigroup executive as a source; now, for a portion of the staff, victory is breaking through with the third-base coach. The Journal has hired Jim Baumbach from Newsday as their lead Yankees reporter and Mike Sielski of the Calkins Media newspaper chain as their Mets reporter, said sources.

...Though the sports section in The Journal will be unaffected, there will be a different approach in the New York section: Reporters will now be going to the games.

Sources familiar with the plans said that The Journal will not be covering games in the way that, say, the tabloids do.

Instead of rehashing what happened the night before, the Journal sportswriters will be looking for news features and interesting stories from within the locker room.

That would, of course, fit it nicely in competition with—who else?—The Times.

Thanks to Susan Mullen.

Repoz Posted: March 25, 2010 at 12:05 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, media, mets, online, yankees

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   1. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 25, 2010 at 01:29 PM (#3485595)
The Times sports section is both the best and the worst sports section out there. It has more of its own writers filing more stories than any paper in the country, but in terms of what they cover, it's as if it's being run by a combination of a Style section of a newspaper and the Sociology department of an Ivy League university. On Sunday and Monday it can have the best baseball coverage you can imagine, but then for the next two or three days completely drop baseball. The only comparison that comes to mind is Sports Illustrated in its first few years, when it was aimed at the country club set and (literally) had more animals on its covers than it did professional ballplayers.

That said, it's hard to imagine that there are too many readers out there, even in New York, who are likely to switch from the Times to the Wall Street Journal just for the baseball coverage. I doubt if sports is exactly the highest news priority for readers of either of those papers.
   2. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 25, 2010 at 01:32 PM (#3485598)
I've got my fingers crossed that this means sports pictures that are handstakingly produced by pen and ink pointillism.
   3. GGC Posted: March 25, 2010 at 01:45 PM (#3485605)
Handstakingly; a penguinmobile original, IIRC.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 25, 2010 at 02:12 PM (#3485625)
handstakingly produced by pen and ink pointillism.

"Handstakingly produced by pain" does sound a lot cooler than "painstakingly produced by hand".

That said, it's hard to imagine that there are too many readers out there, even in New York, who are likely to switch from the Times to the Wall Street Journal just for the baseball coverage. I doubt if sports is exactly the highest news priority for readers of either of those papers.

I'm guessing the calculation is, if people are going to drop one of the two, try to make them drop the times.
   5. Susan Posted: March 25, 2010 at 02:23 PM (#3485636)
Maybe they'll pick up some of the great sports writers from the Washington Times who were thrown out of work when the Wash Times dropped its sports section.
   6. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: March 25, 2010 at 02:23 PM (#3485638)
I find that the WSJ's current one-page sports section is already a more compelling read than the Times' daily eight-pager. The problem with the Times is that too many of its writers have "shticks" that make their columns utterly predictable. (Wilbon and Vecsey are the worst culprits - if you can't predict where their columns are going after reading the first paragraph (hell, the headline most days), you haven't been paying attention). The WSJ's sports section shows me something fresh and unique almost every day.
   7. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 25, 2010 at 02:35 PM (#3485656)
Most columnists have shticks. Back when I used to read my grandfather's Wall Street Journal, the sports section was usually a column by Allen Barra and then something about the economics of building stadiums and then something about horses or golf. I don't know if Allen Barra is still contributing 1/2 of the WSJ's sports content, but he was certainly predictable in his beliefs and messages.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 25, 2010 at 03:21 PM (#3485688)
I find that the WSJ's current one-page sports section is already a more compelling read than the Times' daily eight-pager. The problem with the Times is that too many of its writers have "shticks" that make their columns utterly predictable. (Wilbon and Vecsey are the worst culprits - if you can't predict where their columns are going after reading the first paragraph (hell, the headline most days), you haven't been paying attention). The WSJ's sports section shows me something fresh and unique almost every day.

It's kind of hard to imagine that someone who reads the Times would ever think that Michael Wilbon has switched over from the Washington Post, unless he's confusing him with a Times columnist who shares little with Wilbon other than skin color.

That said, if you meant William Rhoden instead of Wilbon, I'd have to agree with you about both him and Vecsey. A. J. Liebling once wrote a brief polemic which makes me think of all too many sportswriters and other opinionators:

There are three kinds of writers of news in our generation. In inverse order of worldly consideration, they are:

1. The reporter, who writes what he sees.
2. The interpretive reporter, who writes what he see and what he construes to be its meaning.
3. The expert, who writes what he construes to be the meaning of what he hasn't seen.

To combat on old human prejudice in favor of eyewitness testimony, which is losing ground even in our courts of law, the expert must intimate that he has access to some occult source or science not available to either reporter or reader. He is the Priest of Eleusis, the man with the big picture. Once his position is conceded, the expert can put on a better show than the reporter. All is manifest to him, since his conclusions are not limited by his powers of observation. Logistics, to borrow a word from the military species of the genus, favor him, since it is possible not to see many things at the same time. For example, a correspondent cannot cover the front and the Pentagon simultaneously. An expert can, and from a New York office, at that.
   9. GGC Posted: March 25, 2010 at 03:52 PM (#3485708)
I don't know if Allen Barra is still contributing 1/2 of the WSJ's sports content, but he was certainly predictable in his beliefs and messages.



He isn't there anymore. As far as predictable goes, I find him unpredictable. He's not as beholden to the numbers as you'd think, but nor is he old school.
   10. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: March 25, 2010 at 04:47 PM (#3485762)
You know, as I wrote "Wilbon," something felt a little off to me, but I ignored it. You're right; I meant Rhoden. It was a simple error to make: both names are two syllables, end with an "n" and include an "o". And that is the ONLY reason I made that mistake.
   11. DL from MN Posted: March 25, 2010 at 05:19 PM (#3485797)
Good move for the Journal. Media coverage of New York sports teams has been neglected. It is difficult to get any information at all on the Yankees, for example.
   12. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: March 25, 2010 at 05:21 PM (#3485800)
The same reason I get Alcides Escobar and Asdrubal Cabrera mixed up sometimes. Also Alex Avila and Randy Ruiz. Their names are similar.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 25, 2010 at 05:33 PM (#3485814)
Good move for the Journal. Media coverage of New York sports teams has been neglected. It is difficult to get any information at all on the Yankees, for example.

I know that was tongue in cheek, but I subscribe to the Washington edition of the Times, and from Tuesday through Saturday in the middle of the baseball season, it's very common for two or three consecutive days to pass without a single mention of the Yankees in the print edition. Strange, but true. They really are aiming at the country club and sociology crowd with that section these days, and it's doubly irritating because on Sunday and Monday they show what they're capable of in the way of baseball coverage, when they summon the will to to do it.
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 25, 2010 at 05:37 PM (#3485819)
You know, as I wrote "Wilbon," something felt a little off to me, but I ignored it. You're right; I meant Rhoden. It was a simple error to make: both names are two syllables, end with an "n" and include an "o". And that is the ONLY reason I made that mistake.

In that case you should go online and read Wilbon in the Post, who's probably the best general sports columnist around today in any MSM outlet. Baseball's his weakest sport, but for someone whose primary claim to fame is his association with Kornheiser, I'm continually impressed with his reporting and his columns. He puts out less BS per column inch than just about anyone.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: March 25, 2010 at 05:45 PM (#3485831)
They really are aiming at the country club and sociology crowd with that section these days, and it's doubly irritating because on Sunday and Monday they show what they're capable of in the way of baseball coverage, when they summon the will to to do it.


Wait ... you're saying you don't breathlessly await the latest updates from the world of bridge?
   16. J. Michael Neal Posted: March 25, 2010 at 06:03 PM (#3485854)
I'm guessing the calculation is, if people are going to drop one of the two, try to make them drop the times.


I cancelled my subscription to the Journal two weeks ago and switched to the Financial Times. I don't like where the WSJ is headed under Murdoch.
   17. phredbird Posted: March 25, 2010 at 07:50 PM (#3486000)
In that case you should go online and read Wilbon in the Post, who's probably the best general sports columnist around today in any MSM outlet. Baseball's his weakest sport


i'll take your word for it, i don't read the post, but i find him unwatchable the few times i've stumbled on PTI. actually, i don't much like either of them since they don't seem to know the first thing about baseball.

we get WSJ at home, and i read the sports page off and on ... i don't read a whole lot of sports coverage anymore. i get all i need to know about baseball here and i have less and less interest in other sports these days ... i think i'm becoming an eccentric old man.
   18. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 25, 2010 at 08:35 PM (#3486041)
In that case you should go online and read Wilbon in the Post, who's probably the best general sports columnist around today in any MSM outlet. Baseball's his weakest sport

i'll take your word for it, i don't read the post, but i find him unwatchable the few times i've stumbled on PTI. actually, i don't much like either of them since they don't seem to know the first thing about baseball.


Yeah, baseball's not his sport. He sort of half keeps up with the Cubs but that's about it. But on basketball, hockey and football he's excellent, and on the off the field issues he's as good as there is. Old school but in a good way.

And I'm talking about his Post writing, not PTI. If Kornheiser had his way they'd take up that entire show discussing American Idol, which is a bit like seeing Terry Bradshaw in a toupee.

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