Friday, February 1, 2013

I think this Boston Magazine article is missing the point

There's an article in the February edition of Boston Magazine entitled "The Fellowship of the Miserable" about the sportswriters in Boston.  Basically it says that this city is full of a bunch of old and outdated journalists that aren't very good at their jobs anymore.  It makes the argument that national sports media often has better coverage of local stories, and concludes by saying this:
"If channels 4, 5, and 7 at last did away entirely with their evening sports segments, who around here would care? Boston sports fans are more likely to turn to ESPN’s national SportsCenter broadcast rather than the local affiliates for television highlights and news. The same fate almost certainly awaits our local publications—print and digital alike—if they fail to adapt. 
Were the Globe to stop publishing sports tomorrow, how much loss would readers feel? Certainly some, but much less than even a decade ago. That’s because Boston fans have gotten increasingly used to following the ups and downs of their favorite teams in national outlets rather than local ones."

 I agree that I wouldn't even notice if the local network TV channels stopped covering sports in the evening news, and I probably wouldn't care if The Boston Globe dropped sports either (although that's because newspapers as a whole are dying, just like magazines.  In the facebook/twitter world, by the time news gets to print it's already old).  And it is true that I watch ESPN all the time instead of the channel 4, 5, or 7 news sports segments.

But, I think this article is getting the point all wrong.  It's not a local vs. national issue, it's a specialization issue.  The longstanding traditional media's sports reporting is being beaten out by dedicated sports only media.  Local cable sports channels NESN and CSNNE have better coverage than 4, 5, or 7 too, not just ESPN.  Similarly I'm more likely to read ESPN Boston online for sports news that the Boston Globe or Herald, but I'm not about to check out the USA Today or CNN.


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