Monday, November 19, 2007

No longer

Well, that's officially an outlet where I'll no longer be covering the West Coast MLS beat. Print media may be scaling back coverage and articles, but that doesn't mean online media gets more respect. Far from it.


FC Uptown said...

AC, does this report ( seem accurate to you and what are you hearing from MLS or it's teams to address gender inequities?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

On one occasion this year, we had it confirmed that we were a minor outlet, at the level of glorified fan sites and shouldn't expect anything past the basic in terms of access and credentials. On another, we were denied a credential for reasons that only discounted the years of work we've done covering Major League Soccer.

I wonder if this was by an individual team or the league itself. I somehow doubt it was by the league because of the following comment:

At the same time, we've been told by MLS staffers how much they like our coverage.

My guess is that Galaxy media relations is up to its old tricks....

Major League Soccer's media relations is not at the level of the other professional sports, even when it's staffed by people who have worked in those sports.

Hoo, boy, is that an understatement, especially on the team level!

Where the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball provide access, interviews, and raw materials well past Major League Soccer and still manages to run comprehensive league websites, MLS opts for one or the other.

It's called complacency, laziness and arrogance, boys and girls...

more to come...

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

We've spent considerable effort and money covering MLS, and hoped to be a part of the solution for better working conditions for ourselves and our fellow MLS journalists. The fans deserve a better product.

Damn straight, baby! The HDC press box is an OSHA complaint waiting to happen...

Andrea, any thoughts?

L.B. said...

I hate the HDC press box. That's a third-rate operation but nobody seems to care about it but us reporters.

It's MLS' loss that Andrea won't have a regular MLS beat to cover.

L.B. said...

Sometimes covering soccer in this country is hard, whether it's at the club or national level.

You would think that reporters would get a lot of access to things and a lot of things would be facilitated for us to get a story in a paper or on a web site but sometimes it seems that it's the other way around, that we're trying to do someone a favor by writing a story.

Sad, but true.

Nathan said...

This is a tragedy. There was no one site that brought together so many talented writers and covered MLS with good analysis and humor as the US Soccer Players site. I'm including Soccernet in that, by the way, and I don't mean any disrespect to ESPN's efforts.

The level and quantity of game and tactical analysis at the USSP site was consistently superior to anything else out there. Period. End of story.

This sucks.

Matthew Zimmerman said...

This is a bad situation, and it's embarrassing that a 12-year-old league cannot get it together PR-wise. But this passage:

"The result is the kind of coverage where writers chase press release material and the majority of articles are responsive rather than the kind of profile or investigative work you read or see with the other sports."

I can't speak to U.S. soccer players' coverage, but this mediocre coverage overall is largely due to many outlets having a lack of respect for the soccer beat. Even with better quality PR from MLS, you would still rarely see profile or investigative work at the traditional outlets in many markets due to space or staffing issues.

The Internet outlets largely escape this, but when a journalist like Andrea (or Luis) is trying to write a million stories for multiple outlets at each event, it's important to deal with a PR staff that is in the business of assiting in coverage, not running obstruction.

MLS must improve. Compared to other sports - and I would now include NASCAR among these - the league is still begging for coverage, and it needs to make it as easy as possible for reporters who are already in a constant battle to get news out there anyway.

Dan said...

I'm not too familiar with this site, except when AC and LB have linked to them, but it sure feels like they're about to fade into bolivia (to quote mr. tyson), right? I mean, how can they not cover the main league in the US?

I'm pretty drunk, so take this with a few (billion) grains of salt, but they seem like they're on their way out. Blogs like this are the way to go, guys. This is how reporters get their info straight to the readers. And either ad revenue or micropayments will get AC and LB their well-deserved cut. Unleash the hounds!

ghostwriter said...

A sad and self defeating attitude by MLS. To borrow from the current TV ad, it seems a step further into the dark.

Toddzilla said...

Luis & Andrea,

I'd like to know if you have any suggestions on who at MLS can be contacted by fans to complain about this sort of thing. Yes, I know it may be futile, but this stuff is ridiculous. This isn't the first time that I've seen a site/reporter talk about the pathetic relationship with MLS and the media outlets who try to cover them, and maybe if they hear from enough fans, we can keep from losing coverage from other great sites.

If you have any thoughts on who to contact, I'd appreciate it.

diane said...

Well that sucks. That was the first site I found when I decided to take my eyes off the rest of the world long enough to take sides on whether my country had a pub league or not. At the time I didn't realize who I was reading -- and agree that its a big loss for MLS, as well as her readers, to lose Andrea's coverage.

Do your columns elsewhere give you enough work to keep covering the league A.C.?

Not sure MLS media dept's sins of omission are accidental. There's a guarded quality that always makes them look guilty of something. Everyone screws up, they just look worse when they try to spin things--bad at that as they are. It's writers like you guys who make them look better with a little bit of transparency and something to read that isn't repeated often enough to put us to sleep.

A.C. said...

This decision was made at the editorial level of the USSP site, and while I've had issues with MLS press people at various points, I was surprised that elsewhere it had reached the level where they would cease MLS coverage.
The main complaints I have when covering the local teams is stuff that is often petty, but becomes a real inconvenience when one is on deadline. For example, this year, I didn't receive a Chivas USA season parking pass, which made it a hassle to cover the team. I don't make enough covering a match to pay for parking every game. Getting to games early still doesn't make it easy to find a parking spot in Carson. Nearby streets are parking restricted.
Galaxy games would often be a pain for different reasons. Locker rooms are supposed to be open ten minutes after a game, but more than a few times, it would take the Galaxy longer than that to open up access.
In general, though, I have to give the local media relations people props. A lot of times, they've flagged down players I want to talk to, set up phone interviews, given me temporary press box passes when I've misplaced mine, and generally been helpful.
There's a definite heirachy, though, because even the seating in the press box is based on who the big outlets are. I'm not sure what went down elsewhere to spur the USSP site move, but it's likely that it had to with someone deciding a website just wasn't worth their time.