Friday, June 27, 2008

We few, we far too few

I'm sure our readers are aware that journalism is struggling as print media losses pile up. As news departments make cuts, soccer coverage is often one of the first beats to go.
On a personal level, it's weird to turn around in the press box and see the empty chairs of those who used to sit there. I miss the different perspectives of Larry Morgan (who covered soccer back to the LA Aztecs) Miguel Melendez, Jaime Cardenas and Billy Witz. Now the OC Register is axing their Galaxy coverage (Yep, in the middle of the season!), so Damian Calhoun won't be coming out for practices or games any more. I didn't know Paul Oberjuerge as well as Luis, but I read his soccer stuff all the time - he was let go from the Daily News Group.
When Frank Del Apa was out for the U.S. versus Barbados match in LA recently, he wasn't actually covering the game. He'd stopped by on his own, because he loves soccer, but he had to leave the game early to cover the Celtics. They are his new beat, not the Revs or U.S. Soccer.
According to LA Observed, hundreds of jobs are getting cut at the LA Times this week. It's just sad. I guess we'll have to wait and see if the number of soccer reporters continues to dwindle.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

So would you say it's probably a good idea to change my major from Journalism to something else? :(

Andy said...

I'm a little torn on this. As a consumer, I can get better journalism
on the web than I can in print (Hi Grahame!), and besides the cost of my internet connection it costs me nothing.

On the other hand, I'd like for the good journalists to get paid for what they do. That seems only fair.

Anonymous said...

the thing is to take a cue from the likes of Ives and figure out a way to get paid to do what you are already doing...

and yes, I am getting much better coverage of MLS from blogs like yours than I get from the newspapers (with the notable exceptions of Goff in DC and the guy at the Chicago Tribune-name escapes me)

I do think that if you are looking at journalism as a career, make sure you are comfortable with all formats-print, broadcast and web-and develop a long-suit in an area that can transition to entrepreneurial ventures, as jobs at big newsrooms will become more scarce all the time...I also think that local will grow, as it is one place where the web has not done a good job...

Leah said...

There is no question you are getting better coverage on the blogs -- like this one -- but how long are the bloggers supposed to give this great coverage without getting paid? That, I think, is the key.
It's not so much web vs. newspaper ... All these writers mentioned no longer get paid to cover soccer -- in any forum.

Adam Spangler said...

soccer is going to be a test ground for journalism. I really do believe as noted above that people can take their sources and skills away from the newspapers and magazines and do what they do online. And make a living. maybe not a fortune, but a living. Ives and the SV crew are examples of at least the move in that direction.

In five to ten years we will find out if I'm wrong.

A.C. said...

Ives may be a good example, but Sideline Views is not, because we're not making any money on the blog. I'm not sure how to change that, either.
But I do know that if I wasn't getting paid for my ESPN.com work, Futbol Mundial, Soccer 365, USSoccerPlayers (where I pick up extra info for the blog when I'm on assignment) there probably wouldn't be much first-hand stuff on the blog at all.

Anonymous said...

Andrea:

I may be able to help Luis and yourself with the advertising question-please send me a private email (targetmedia@cox.net) and lets discusss.

I've been in the consumer/b2b ad sales business for a long time and may be able to help...

Raffi said...

Well, I don't know how to help you but to say if you post links, etc. and get click through revenue I at least try to buy through links on sites like Ives so long as the merchant is a good one w/reasonable prices.

It is all about getting paid for attracting the eyeballs these days and good journalism can/will do that. And the first hand stuff is great.

It is no fun seeing people losing their jobs in any line of work. But I think all the posters are right -- it is unusual to find print pieces that are actually as good/interesting as the online blogs, etc. Plus, on blogs, you actually get to feel like you know the writer through the blogs and the comment replies, etc. I'm more invested in the bloggers I follow then I ever was with reporters in the paper.

I do wonder though if blogs won't kill the in-depth story. I hope not. I still really enjoy a nice, deep article on a player/team, etc. A long time ago SI used to do some great stuff. Good example was the recent article about the basketball player in Brazil who on ESPN.com. I don't even follow basketball but it was a great human interest story. Hope those don't go away totally....

Matthew Zimmerman said...

It's depressing and sickening that the number of different voices continues to dwindle.

And for newspapers, it only starts with pro soccer. Hockey coverage will continue to be minimized, and some major paper somewhere will take a chance by not covering NBA or MLB road games. And readers won't care.

Then the floodgates will open. It's such a sad time for journalism.

Arelcao Akleos said...

My brother is in the newspaper business, not as a journalist but in the technical side of things. The last 10 years or so have left him increasingly dispirited as to the future of mass newpaper publishing. He thinks it will survive, at a smaller and more niche dedicated level, but the internet has been as much a revolution for the publishing world as the advent of cars was to horsepower or, at least, rail based transportation.
I think there will simply be fewer professional journalists, and a partial return to the 19th century model of the "amateur" journalist, where a man or a woman had some other primary means of income and did journalism as avocation......