Monday, February 23, 2009

The Works, sort of

OK, this is usually the part of the afternoon where I put together something Auburn-related to close out your and my blogging day, but I'm feeling just a shade under the weather and have some Real-Life stuff to handle. (Not that there's much going on: when Jay Tate comes out of his Gannett-mandated furlough and his first football post is a David Oku non-update, safe to say it's slow going news-wise.) So here's a quick handful of links, devoid of theme or much analysis or whatever, and then I'll be back tomorrow:

1. Dude, LaVoyd James missed nearly his entire senior season because he got hurt while holding an extra point? That's seriously unfortunate, particularly since we're talking about a broken ankle for a guy who's always going to have to rely on his speed to make a difference ta the next level. I aprpeciate the optimism from the story, but I don't think we're really going to know how well James is going to recover until he hits the training field this fall.

2. Ah, Nell Fortner, you're so, so awesome:
Auburn (26-2, 11-2) can win the title outright with a win next Sunday against Arkansas. The Tigers will share the crown if they lose to Arkansas and Vanderbilt wins out.

"I don't want to share it," Fortner said. "You want to win the thing. You don't want to share it if you don't have to."
That's right, ladies: your kindergarten teachers were full of it. Sharing is wrong and helping other people out is stupid. Keep playing like it.

3. More women's hoop: Charlie Creme dropped Auburn to a No. 2 seed in today's bracket projection, which isn't entirely surprising given that Auburn's previous two outings have been a loss and a less-than-impressive home win against a mediocre Georgia team. (It's noteworthy, that Creme cites the Georgia win rather than the Vandy loss for the drop, though.) Auburn would seem to be in competition with Louisville for that last No. 1, since the ACC's strong enough that whoever emerges from that league will likely land on the top line unless a sleeper takes the conference tourney. As for the Cards, they have slight edges on Auburn in RPI and schedule strength, and their second-place finish won't be held against them as much as it might normally be, since the first-place team is the UConn juggernaut. But their losses are definitely less explicable than Auburn's and an outright SEC title should still carry more weight than a runner-up finish in the Big East, 500-pound gorilla in the room or not. It'll come down to the conference tourneys.

4. Brian at MGoBlog (among others a little more receptive) responded to my prayer for the beat writers, and not entirely surprisingly for a guy with a historically tetchy relationship with his (our?) local rag, he wasn't quite so sympathetic to the beat writers' plight. His argument goes like so: if you've got six beat writers and they're all producing the same content and the content's all available for free on the Web, why have six when one will do? I have to begrudgingly admit there's something to this--there's a reason the three papers now share two Auburn beat writers--but I think it misses a couple of points:

1) Even if you assume one guy can do the job, who's going to pay him to do it if newspapers kick the bucket in their web form as well as print? Beat writing can't be the exclusive arm of paysites or the athletic department's sports info departments--the latter can feed us quotes and results, but they're not going to dig up contract details or player arrest reports--or fans will suffer.

2) If you're down to one guy wielding a monopoly on free beat reporting, that's not so good. Not only are fans limited to that single perspective--take the recent Track Rocker quotefest for one example of how that might be a problem--but that means that any sources who aren't inclined to work with that particular reporter for whatever personal/professional reasons are now completely shut out of the loop. The more guys are on the beat, the greater the likelihood someone who knows something will talk to one of them.

So, yeah, Brian and I will have to mostly agree to disagree on this one.

5. I gotta admit, I find those spots insanely catchy and appealing--where were these guys on the Juno soundtrack?--but that doesn't mean you ought to actually visit the site they're pitching. Take the word of this guy, who quite ironically could fill in if the original guys ever make too many outrageous contract demands:

Sweet. See you tomorrow.


cocknfire said...

One more thing to back up your point re: beat writers.

Just like everything else, competition leads to better journalism. I'm feeling a lot of pressure -- not from bosses, but from myself -- to step up my game here in Florida (as opposed to Georgia) because the capitol press corps is larger and more competitive. If you're constantly trying to get a better story than the other guy, you're going to eventually. And there's a good chance that a reader will get two great stories as opposed to one good one.

That, and there's only so much a reporter can write on a given day. Even if newspapers go completely Web-based (as they should), it's unlikely they're going to give reporters endless space. The original story length cuts, more than a decade ago, had more to do with concerns about readers' attention spans than available news hole.

So, yes, more than one beat writer is needed.

As always, thanks for the link.

Jerry Hinnen said...

De nada on the link. Not surprisingly, I agree with you wholeheartedly.