Sunday, February 28, 2010

Too Much Coverage?

I've had a few thoughts about the coverage of the Nats, but haven't really been able to rattle 'em around in my head long enough to hammer 'em into something coherent. Here's my basic question though: is there too much coverage of the team.

On one level, the answer's obviously not.

But on the other hand... if you're tracking what's going on via twitter and the reporters' blogs, you're seeing that 98% of the time they're saying exactly the same things. And 67.4% of that time, it's pretty uninteresting stuff.

So that leaves the question: Is the preponderance of banality making it too damn hard to find the 2% of stuff that's actually 1) unique 2) valuable?


  • On some level it's very disappointing. It certainly raises the question of what exactly the reporters are doing down there in Viera. If they're all just moving in a pack from pre-arranged media availability to BP or bullpen photo shoot, then the Times was on to something and the Post, MASN and should have all just gone in on a single pool reporter.

    One of the things I was really hoping for with the Zuckerman experiment was a different perspective and an independent voice. I don't think we've seen that yet (though breaking the Detwiler surgery was a hopeful sign.) Of course, the other possibility is that there aren't that many relevant storylines in Spring Training.

    By Blogger Nate, at 2/28/2010 11:30 PM  

  • Covering the same things on the same days is a time-honored tradition.

    At any rate, I think there's too much emphasis on 'breaking' stuff. Yes, I know that's one major goal in that game (timeliness, to the point of breathless absurdity), but the problem is that no one out there is really willing or able to piece together what everything means with much coherence or clarity. They'll quote some people, or they'll toss around some stats, but at the end of the day none of the reporters really engages the reader's critical thinking skills.

    It's all just a mash of surface-level nothingness.

    (And yes, I realize that the broader audience is not obsessives ...)

    By Blogger Basil, at 2/28/2010 11:56 PM  

  • I work for a major sporting organisation, and I can tell you, you only hear what we want you to hear. I think Mark's coverage is great, it's my new MUST READ everyday, but he'll get the same as everyone else. Welcome to 2010, this isn't a sports club, it's a business, with a brand to protect (or at least try to), a legal team and plenty of PR people.

    By Anonymous Gus, at 2/28/2010 11:57 PM  

  • There cannot possibly be enough coverage until I find someone somewhere to ask the probing questions and get the answers I know are out there. Mark why did Dukes only have 10 ABs in the Dominican...what's the real story there...Ben please take a poll of all the players and find out whether they think Riggleman is 100 times or 500 times better than Acta...Chico did you know that this team made 143 errors last year...why did Acta suppress Tim Foli he could have prevented that...Mark your my independent voice give me some ansers...

    Oh why oh why won't anyone help me?

    By Anonymous ntr JayB, at 3/01/2010 7:41 AM  

  • I do agree somewhat with Chris here; he's probably noticing that the 4 really active "beat guys" are all reporting very similar stories to each other. Zuckerman, Goessling, Kilgore and to a lesser extent Ladsen. It has to be because they're all going to the same press conferences and hearing the same sound bytes. I'm guessing that once the season starts and there's not this insulated spring training environment, the quotes and stories will start to be more original.

    Btw, there's NOT too much coverage. If you think so, move to NY or Boston where the newspapers all have multiple beat writers chasing the same stories.

    By Blogger Todd Boss, at 3/01/2010 8:33 AM  

  • I think the Chico Harlan's Flores interview was a good example of the kind of thing that rises above the standard "The Nats are the best team ever!" coverage.

    That said, Zuckerman's been doing a good job too, I think, and Nats320 offers a different perspective. But even without twitter, it is a lot to read through. No complaints, though.

    By Anonymous cass, at 3/01/2010 8:34 AM  

  • Too much is better than not enough. Although seeing the same story on multiple sites gets boring. As Todd Boss commented, hopefully this changes once the regular season starts.

    By Anonymous TonyC, at 3/01/2010 9:10 AM  

  • I'm guessing that once the season starts and there's not this insulated spring training environment, the quotes and stories will start to be more original.

    If anything, once they get out of spring training and into the regular season, the environment will become more insulated, not less. And as for the constant calls for "independent" reporting on the team, what the hell are people expecting anyway? There's no conspiracy involved when all the reporters are operating in lockstep, attending the same press availabilities, interviewing the same guys on any given day, etc. This is just reflective of the fact that certain guys talk and others don't. But guess what? None of them have to talk, ever. Okay, maybe at the standard pre- and post-game media availabilities they do, but that doesn't require them to actually say anything - and often they don't.

    The place where you team critics and coverage analysts constantly go off base is when you expect the environment around an MLB team to be totally transparent like, for instance, the government, and when you expect the media to keep people informed about the inner workings of the team and to hold ownership, Kasten, Rizzo, Riggleman et al "accountable" for what they do or don't do, or for how they do what they're doing. This is a pipe dream, folks. MLB is a business, an entertainment business to be specific. Its inner workings only need to be as transparent as those of any other business - which means basically that unless they're doing something illegal, what they do is their business alone, or the business of their stockholders if they have any. If they don't want to talk, they don't have to. They can't be held accountable by what they say or don't say, they can only be held accountable by the product they produce. If you don't like their product, then quit buying it. That's the only right to "accountability" you have. No matter how much or how little coverage there is, that's never going to change.

    By Blogger TBC, at 3/01/2010 9:22 AM  

  • Oh, it's quite clear there is too much coverage. But, I don't think you are asking the right question. Why read or follow all of the reporters? Years ago, most people would only subscribe to one newspaper. I've sort of carried that philosophy into the digital world. Pick one source (Kilgore for now) to follow. Anything interesting form the other yahoos will be retweeted or reblogged 500 times anyway.

    By Blogger Greg Pultorak, at 3/01/2010 10:03 AM  

  • I don't know Chris. I could go for a few more predictions on who will make the 40-man. That kind of abject speculation is what makes this time of year so exciting!!!!!

    By Blogger Rob B, at 3/01/2010 10:10 AM  

  • Chris --- I want more.

    Daily Riggleman interviews, updates on Elijah's arrival, Willingham's baby news, stories about Nyjer Morgan's surfing hobbies and Screech's visit to the Moo Cow just aren't enough.

    By Blogger Nattydread, at 3/01/2010 10:56 AM  

  • Do you REALLY listen to the Riggleman interviews?

    What most of this stuff demonstrates to me is that sometimes having a filter to weed out this crap is worthwhile.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/01/2010 10:57 AM  

  • Ummm... I hate to say this, but actually the REAL PROBLEM is that we are all lifeless losers with too much time on our hands to read every single media outlet available. People with REAL lives would probably only being seeing these stories once.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/01/2010 2:28 PM  

  • Although there's alot of repetition right now, I definitely don't think there's too much coverage. Sometimes it's interesting to see the different takes on the same interview or news release. And sometimes new information comes out -- Ben was the third to post about Flores' shoulder, but the first to give the date of his first MRI -- Aug. 12. Hopefully the competition, independent blogs, and the comments from fans will push them to ask the followup question that's needed after Riggleman's largely content-less soliloquies. I'm enjoying having something new to read most times that I decide to click around the blogs instead of just constantly refreshing NJ, and with you, FJB, and others to keep them digging, I think the work can only improve.

    By Blogger Section 222, at 3/01/2010 2:56 PM  

  • AMEN

    By Anonymous Kyle, at 3/01/2010 3:49 PM  

  • The biggest problem with the coverage in my view is that there's not enough analysis and debate. Here in DC, we get Boz on the one-hand, with his wishy-washy high-level columns. And then on the other hand, we get a bunch of beat reporters who all report the same things, like Chris pointed out.

    Go to another city that does coverage well, and you see there's a huge middle ground. Guys who are not "columnists" in the highfalutin sense that Boz is, but guys who write every day and do original reporting and mix it with their own opinion, argument and analysis. Guys who stir the pot and spark debate. For example, look at the papers in New York. You won't just get articles reporting that Manuel has decided that Reyes will bat third, with a few vanilla quotes. You also get guys digging deeper, interviewing players and sources across the league, as to whether Reyes should be batting third, and offering their opinions. Here, we don't get that.

    By Blogger CoverageisLacking, at 3/03/2010 11:48 AM  

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