One-horse town

DMZ · January 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I’ve been chewing on this since Hickey posted about the PI’s looming closure.

Any reasonable observer knew that having a one-paper town was inevitable when they signed the Joint Operating Agreement. Sharing functions meant it would be extremely hard to break away. Having the Seattle Times Company run the parent web presence (nwsource) probably didn’t help, either. If you followed Baker, you’ve seen him pushing the Times blog into different media forms with audio and video snippets in his posts, while the PI has… blogs. One of those two had a budget (though, in fairness, it’s worth noting that the Times cut costs by not sending Baker or a Times reporter on the road for some series late in the year, which is inexcusable).

This is going to suck. I mean no offense to the guys at the PI, but strictly in terms of game coverage there’s not a lot of difference between the papers, ESPN, the wire services. This is an opportunity lost. One of the things I see blogs doing a lot better than print is following season-long developments in more depth than papers can (or are willing to do). Anyway.

The problem is first, the columnists. The print columnists do a lot more to drive discussion and define the common views of fans than almost anyone outside of the people who broadcast the games (“Oh, no question…”).

Art Thiel’s a better sports columnist than anyone at the Seattle Times. He’ll be out of a job soon, while Steve Kelley inexplicably continues to collect paychecks. Thiel wrote a must-read book for M’s fans, Out of Left Field. Thiel’s the only person to repeatedly put the screws to the M’s ownership representatives and ask them difficult questions.

Second, though, it’s the competition. I’m sure that on the Times side, this will be met with howls of protest at their intention to continue to cover all issues with integrity and professionalism. I’ll skip my side rant on the Times’ spotty record on those counts for now. But the equation now becomes

value of running story in potential papers/page views and increased reputation
vs.
damage to relationships, future access (and so on)

Here’s an example from our own experience. When the M’s were throwing up their crappy bleachers in the beer garden and hoping no one would notice, I screamed and hollered until my throat was hoarse. USSM readers wrote letters and called the M’s. Only the PI picked up the story, covering it a couple of times. The M’s backed down (mostly). The Times never covered it.

It’s a lot easier to run a story if you can say “if I don’t, Bob over there on the other paper will…” And while it’s easier for someone to favor one side over the other in terms of access, information, and so on, it’s also a lot easier to get something quashed if there’s only one person who has to be convinced.

Take payroll. Every year the M’s have made a huge deal about how they’re spending a bazillion dollars, and it’s so awful for them, so painful, but they’re willing to make the sacrifice for us, the fans. And it’s the most transparent malarkey.

Or instead, look at the team’s deal with the city, and the PFD. How is the coverage of Mariner finances, and especially complicated issues like the revenue-sharing agreement, going to get better with fewer people covering this? Jim Street’s not going to put on a fedora with a little “press” card in the band and go start knocking on doors to see if the M’s are cooking the books to avoid giving money back to the city. Who will?

Last year we also saw the benefit of competition, particularly in Felix-related coverage, where relying on one source would paint a very different picture than if you read several. The fewer perspectives we have, the more one account determines how a player or event is perceived.

I’m (obviously) a huge proponent of blog coverage, but there’s no way it fills the gap of a major paper. We don’t get press access. We can’t go talk to Wakamatsu or anyone on the team unless we know them personally. We don’t have the ability to spend eight hours interviewing people about a breaking issue and turning around something insightful for the next day. The research and analysis done here or on Lookout Landing or anywhere is done essentially for free (well, not Lookout Landing, obviously, as they get to bathe in a hot tub of Kos’ money every night). There’s a lot you can’t do as a writer when your budget is zero.

So here’s where that leaves us, press-coverage-wise:
* Times: unless the go the SF Chronicle route and bulk up post-PI, more of the same.
* Tacoma News Tribune: same. Particularly good Rainiers coverage, Times coverage.
* KIRO: Shannon Drayer’s hiring is great news, especially if they let her do some more of the KOMO-style blogging we saw last year.
* Pravada: MLB.com doesn’t break news, doesn’t say anything negative about players or teams, and the M’s team site prints what are possibly the laziest Q&A mailbags of any media outlet anywhere. Pretty much worthless.
* FSN: not a lot of value add here unless Senior Key Analyst Bill Krueger starts providing actual analysis of any kind, or something similarly crazy happens.

And then of course there’s the national press. You know how that goes.

As enthusiastic as we’ve been about the upcoming season and the prospects for the M’s future, this is bad for fandom, especially if Thiel winds up leaving town.

Comments

50 Responses to “One-horse town”

  1. Graham on January 24th, 2009 3:05 pm

    We get paid for LL?

    I’ll have to have a long chat with Mr. Sullivan.

  2. DMZ on January 24th, 2009 3:06 pm

    I didn’t say you got paid, only that you get to bathe in the hot tub of money.

  3. seattlesundevil on January 24th, 2009 3:36 pm

    We are the same way here in Tucson, Ariz. The paper that we share a JOA with is going under at the end of March. It’s certainly a sobering thought to say the least.

    Good luck to everyone at the PI, it’s never fun to see colleagues get put in those positions – no matter where they are in the country

  4. jwgrandsalami on January 24th, 2009 3:37 pm

    I’m no fan of the Joint Operating Agreement but I did want to point out that it’s been in effect between the P-I and the Times since 1983 — so we did have two papers for another 26 years under the JOA…

  5. msb on January 24th, 2009 3:53 pm

    there is also Kirby Arnold at the Herald

    According to Jim Moore, among the classes offered for the likely-soon-to-be-laid-off PI employees was an introduction to blogging. He claimed there were a lot of blank expressions

  6. diderot on January 24th, 2009 3:53 pm

    Yes, we are worse off with just one daily paper.
    And no, you are dead wrong in your Art Theil fanboyism. There is not a good sports columnist in this town, and particularly him.
    Being angry and being good are two different things.

  7. msb on January 24th, 2009 3:58 pm

    Art Theil wrote in his column on the subject:

    “Civic gadfly David Brewster, once the main man at the Weekly and now at Crosscut.com, has made a hobby of forecasting the P-I’s demise ever since word came in 1981 that The Seattle Times and P-I were attempting to enter a joint operating agreement. Well, he might be right, finally, only it took 28 years and a bases-clearing recession.” to do it.

  8. msb on January 24th, 2009 4:00 pm

    And no, you are dead wrong in your Art Theil fanboyism.

    When did admiring a writer become ‘fanboyism’?

  9. joser on January 24th, 2009 4:03 pm

    As bad as this may be for sports coverage, there are much bigger things at stake. Every time I think about the demise of the big city newspapers I get depressed. For all their flaws, they (mostly) employed people who practiced Real Journalism — tracking down sources, getting second sources, getting people to go on the record (or go on the record with obvious lies / obfuscations / denials), checking facts. People like to slam the press (particularly those people who don’t understand the practice of actual journalism, and think random opinion postings on the internet or a 30 second sound bite amount to the same thing), and of course it’s easy to do when they screw something up, employ a liar, or miss a major story. But there’s a reason why a free press is constitutionally protected: the proper functioning of democracy depends on it. It’s more important than the (now seemingly endlessly-bailed-out) banking system. That doesn’t require dead tree media per se but it does require the continued existence of professional journalists (vs paid PR hacks and unpaid folks posting things in their spare time).

    What kills me the most is that it didn’t have to turn out this way: the newspapers could have survived the physical disintermediation of news without vanishing as going concerns. They had in their hands the infrastructure to be Ebay + Craigslist. All it would’ve taken was some cooperation (to merge their databases and take them national) and — most crucially — some vision to get out and take advantage of this intraweb thing. They already had the business model, and they let it get built on the internet without them.

    I do hope someone figures out a way to financially support vigorous e-journalism, and I suspect it will happen eventually, but I fear we’re going to endure years of government and industry running increasingly amok without any independent investigation before we really comprehend what we’ve lost and find some mechanism to pay to get it back.

  10. xxtinynickxx on January 24th, 2009 4:12 pm

    There is a saying in journalism that seems to become more prevalent as the years go by “The more things change, the more things change.” As hard as it is to swallow I have very little sympathy for those companies that go under that do not change with the times quick enough. People loosing there jobs sucks but that’s how it goes in media. Another saying in journalism “You have never really had a job tell you have been fired.” Godspeed to all!

  11. jwgrandsalami on January 24th, 2009 4:37 pm

    MSB wrote:

    “According to Jim Moore, among the classes offered for the likely-soon-to-be-laid-off PI employees was an introduction to blogging. He claimed there were a lot of blank expressions.”

    Another good thing about the P-I going away is no more Jim Moore! Is he still writing columns about Jeff Cirillo?

  12. Johnny Slick on January 24th, 2009 4:59 pm

    I’ve read where the Times isn’t that far off from closing up shop either. Seattle could be the first big city without a major daily paper. You’d think that somebody would jump in there to fill the gap if the Times can’t use the loss of competition to recover, but you never know…

    * FSN: not a lot of value add here unless Senior Key Analyst Bill Krueger starts providing actual analysis of any kind, or something similarly crazy happens.

    I’m still holding out hope that Jamie Moyer retires soon so someone like FSM can hire him.

  13. SeasonTix on January 24th, 2009 5:36 pm

    PRINT newspapers are dead.

    In 5-10 years, I’ll be surprised if there are any newpapers that still print out a daily edition.

    I think the “newspapers” that survive will be online only with maybe a Sunday PAPER edition.

    Frankly, I’m surprised it has taken this long for the papers to die off. The Internet is where the action is for news, not 19th century print distribution technology.

    But some papers may not even survive as websites if they don’t get their act together.

    For about 10 years, we paid for a banner ad in the SeattleTimes.com real estate section and it used to get great results. But over the last couple years we noticed that we weren’t getting the amount of calls from that banner ad that we used to. Then, last year the Times had the guts to say they were increasing our ad rate by 50% while they were decreasing the amount of ad views we would get!

    Needless to say, we cancelled our account. So did another real estate company that had been a long time advertiser on the site.

    The “Seattle Times” brand ain’t what it used to be, there are many other places online to get news and information, so they better move fast to improve their site or they could be following the Seatte PI into the dustbin of history.

  14. The Ancient Mariner on January 24th, 2009 5:56 pm

    I particularly don’t think saying that Thiel’s a better columnist than anyone at the Times qualifies as “fanboyism”; that’s sort of like saying that President X was a better president than James Buchanan and Warren Harding. You could hardly be worse than those two; it still leaves a fair bit of room for badness, plus the whole broad spectrum of mediocrity. At least Thiel’s willing to push and ask the questions the owners don’t want asked, which is worth a lot.

    And on the bright side, at least the metro area still has the TNT.

  15. diderot on January 24th, 2009 6:14 pm

    Joser,
    Some excellent thoughts. But I’m not sure the newspapers, employing even heroic foresight, could have survived. The loss of classifieds hurt deeply; but ad revenue overall is done in every market (and starting long before the economic crash).
    I feel sorry for those who say, in effect, they got what was coming to them, because that just isn’t so.
    The fragmentation of media (like this very good site) allows people to enter echo chambers, to listen or review what they already know/believe/like. What’s lost in the process is running across a story or a point of view in a newspaper that you would never seek out voluntarily. The loss of the P-I is sad not just for Seattle, but for what it represents to democracy as a whole.
    Sorry…my two cents…

  16. JMHawkins on January 24th, 2009 9:41 pm

    The fragmentation of media (like this very good site) allows people to enter echo chambers, to listen or review what they already know/believe/like. What’s lost in the process is running across a story or a point of view in a newspaper that you would never seek out voluntarily

    But that’s not really true.

    Unfortunately, most “journalism” outlets have already become echo chambers, and frankly, that’s one of the reasons they are losing their audience. Jay Rosen at Pressthink had a recent column where he discussed a diagram and theory by Daniel C. Hallen. The basics are that journalists have been taught (either explicitly or implicitly) to categorize everything into one of three spheres: the sphere of consensus, the sphere of legitimate debate, and the sphere of deviancy.

    Consensus is what “everyone” already agrees on – don’t need any stories there. Deviance is the realm of nutbars with dangerous or antisocial idea who must be shunned. Legitimate debate is where journalists focus their efforts, but because it is “legitimate” and journalists must be objective, it becomes the typical “he-said/she-said” Crossfire (or Hannity and Colmes) format of duelling talking point.

    That journalists affirm and enforce the sphere of consensus, consign ideas and actors to the sphere of deviance, and decide when the shift is made from one to another— none of this is in their official job description. You won’t find it taught in J-school, either. It’s an intrinsic part of what they do, but not a natural part of how they think or talk about their job. Which means they often do it badly. Their “sphere placement” decisions can be arbitrary, automatic, inflected with fear, or excessively narrow-minded. Worse than that, these decisions are often invisible to the people making them, and so we cannot argue with those people. It’s like trying to complain to your kid’s teacher about the values the child is learning in school when the teacher insists that the school does not teach values.

    Journalists have been the primary builders of the echo chamber. Maybe not intentionally, but that’s what they’ve done. Rosen’s piece is more about politics, but the same thing is true about baseball.

    RBIs, middle-of-the-lineup bats, clutch hitters, last-three-outs-the-hardest-to-get, these are all things the vast majority of professional sports journalists believe to be in the “sphere of consensus.” In stories when a manager says so-and-so is a proven RBI machine, how many major-daily accounts ever question the concept? Almost none, because it’s considered settled – by the journalists. Likewise, VORP and wOBA and geeks-with-spreadsheets have been in the Sphere of Deviance until recently, so they get little coverage.

    The fact is, the folks who get paid to do this have, with a few valuable exceptions, been shouting into their own echo chamber for decades. Lots of things may be lost with the demise of traditional print newspapers, but diversity of opinion will not be one of them.

  17. qwerty on January 24th, 2009 10:45 pm

    I, for one, don’t see this as anything more than a changing landscape. Not that big of a deal.
    The great thing about capitalism is that if there’s an opening, someone will find a way to fill it. People thought AM radio was dead until talk radio filled the void.

    As far as sports coverage, by the fact that the papers are struggling already tells me that people were getting their sports coverage from a source other than the PI/Times already.
    I’ve not subscribed in 15 years. I always thought the Seattle papers were lousy at sports coverage anyway.
    Some potenitals:
    –TNT becomes more of a Seattle/Tacoma paper
    –Blogs/online news. Perhaps a Sunday paper only (as has been mentioned)This is the most likely.
    A PI website?? I see great opportunities for the new media and websites like ussm.
    –A new media.
    –Radio? Perhaps KIRO will try to do real good, sports news coverage. (not likely)

    Something will happen. If there’s a market for quality sports reporting, someone will find a way to do it.

  18. Johnny Slick on January 24th, 2009 10:59 pm

    Eh, the consensus/legit debate/deviance thing is nice, but when it comes down to it, the reason newspapers are dying is because few of them provide a compelling reason to go out and buy them. I will read the New York Times online every now and then and one of these days might get a daily subscription for it. Other than the Times, though, just about everybody else just rips a bunch of stories from AP and Reuters, adds in a few local interest stories from a shrinking workforce, tosses in some sports scores, and calls it a day. What possible reason would I have for buying the PI or even going to its website when I can get 99% of what’s in it from 50 other websites?

    Here’s what I think has pushed newspapers out of the market: this silly infatuation big news outlets have in general with “objectivity”. This actually goes hand in hand with the legit debate/consensus thing, because there is no such thing as unbiased, completely objective reporting. Even a centrist-biased news story contains palpable bias in nearly every sentence. Too often, news organizations think that “no bias” means that they report “both” sides to every story, even if that story doesn’t have another side. In “real” news that’s getting the opinion of a Young Earth Creationist’s opinion on Texas allowing ID in the classroom. In sports, it’s going out of your way to get Bill Bavasi’s take on why the M’s sucked in 2007, even though it was plain for any fool to see that the team sucked because of a bunch of moves he made.

    So yeah, that’s also why people still read Art Thiel and, for that matter, Steve Kelley (who may be a raving moron but at least knows how to generate controversy). You go and find people whose opinions are close to yours, sure, but you also want to find people who have a sense of injustice and a sense of joy. The world is not bland and objective. Bad stuff and good stuff happens all the time. Pursuing this false objectivity IMO leeches much of what is intriguing about life in general.

    I’m not ashamed to say that much of the news I get, I get from blogs. Don’t get me wrong; I try to vary the locations I get news from, and if the blog is hiding something or playing logical games, I will definitely read the original news article (and I’ll often read the article just to make sure anyway), but… how do I put this? This blog reported the Bedard trade as mentally retarded. That’s good. It was a mentally retarded trade. That ought to have been the direction of the news stories that were out there. Or if it didn’t have the Down’s Syndrome, the news story itself – no, not a separate opinion piece, the original story – should explain why it’s not. I don’t remember any paper covering the Bedard trade except to mention who was in it, what management had to say (which, of course, biases the article to be pro-trade, but anyway), player stats (not the controversial ones though), etc. Art Thiel might have said something about the trade in his column, but that’s the point – if you wanted anything other than “Erik Bedard had an X.XX ERA in 2007 and Adam Jones hit .XXX for the Mariners”, you have to find the column in the paper or the link in the website.

    Decry the term “infotainment” all you want, but the news is and always has been as much about entertaining the populace as it has been about giving it news. Take a look at the P-I and the Times from the 1910s. Go on. Archives are available at the library and the UW as well. I guarantee you, no matter what issue you pull out, you will find stories with *huge* agendas, yellow journalism up the yin-yang, and a complete lack of any need to find support for the “other side” when the reporter feels there is no other side to report on. And you know what? If you’re a fan of history, it’ll be pretty entertaining as well.

  19. The Ancient Mariner on January 25th, 2009 5:47 am

    For my part, I’d tend to disagree that most major news outlets are all that big into being objective; they may quote people who challenge their presentation — or, just as often, they may not, and if they do, it frequently won’t be the ones with the best arguments and evidence. As regards your sports example, getting Bavasi’s opinion on why the M’s sucked in ’08 (they didn’t in ’07, at least superficially) isn’t a matter of getting the opposing view at all; that was simply the only thing many of them could think to do. In this age of niche marketing, though, I don’t think that hurts them.

    From the research I’ve done on this (not exhaustive, by any means), what’s killing the newspapers is that the Internet has sunk their financial model. Someone above mentioned eBay and Craigslist, and someone else talked about the banner ad, and that’s about it: papers made money primarily off their classified ads and the big commercial ads. Now, thanks to eBay and Craigslist and other sites, there are much better options for people than newspaper classifieds, and so they make a lot less money there. That means they have to find some way to make other advertising sources pay a lot more, but as readership is shifting more online, those ads become worth less to advertisers, as SeasonTix pointed out; thus with the rest of their advertising, they’re in a vicious spiral. That leaves them trying to find a way to generate profits off their online content — and so far, no one’s really figured out the model to make that work yet.

    Which means, unless they learn how to fly before they hit the bottom, they’re hosed.

  20. metz123 on January 25th, 2009 9:04 am

    The funny thing is…..newspapers don’t have a readership problem, they have a revenue problem. More people read news today from the established newspaper providers than ever before. They just happen to read it online where the revenue available doesn’t match their expenses. The papers have been stripped of their revenue model.

    They relied too long on the single number (paid subscribers) and built a business model that charged based on how much they needed vs. how much value it provided. They took the operating budget of their paper and then calculated how much they needed to charge for ads to reach that budget. The combination of ripping out the classified ads to the new metrics advertisers are using to determine the value of an ad has killed their business model. Toss in the fact that the average age of a newspaper subscriber is over 60 years old and you see a declining market.

    I’ve spent a lot of time on this lately as my employer has a vested interest in keeping the news business alive. The industry knows what trouble it is in. They are actively searching out new business models but it means a total change in their cost structure. For the first time they truly see the need for 24 hour coverage and an increased emphasis on local events.

  21. SonOfZavaras on January 25th, 2009 10:13 am

    Whether I agree with what he writes or not, Art Thiel is someone who I think of as having a lot of testicular fortitude.

    Couldn’t the Seattle Times just hire Thiel, and kick Steve Kelley down a long flight of stairs? (I really, really don’t think I like Kelley or his writing…)

  22. SonOfZavaras on January 25th, 2009 10:25 am

    The great thing about capitalism is that if there’s an opening, someone will find a way to fill it. People thought AM radio was dead until talk radio filled the void.

    GREAT point, qwerty.

    But I agree with people who say the newspaper’s main problem is that print is too slow, and that we’ve become not only a civilization that gets information at all times, we demand it now.

    I’m among the honestly surprised we’ve had two newspapers in town this long.

    I also liked that “change of landscape, nothing more” assessment. I fundamentally agree with that.

    What could “fill the void”? I have some ideas, but none that make me go “ohhh, OF COURSE!”

  23. gwangung on January 25th, 2009 11:05 am

    What could “fill the void”? I have some ideas, but none that make me go “ohhh, OF COURSE!”

    That only comes AFTER someone’s made a boat-load of money with their idea.

  24. Adam S on January 25th, 2009 12:02 pm

    newspaper’s main problem is that print is too slow, and that we’ve become not only a civilization that gets information at all times, we demand it now.
    I concur that’s a key problem. I also think we’re overwhelmed with information. Between 200 radio stations in my car, 200 TV stations at home, 2 million web sites (and let’s say 20 really good ones for any given person), the ability to download books to my handheld computer (kindle), etc., who has time to sit and read a newspaper?

    I had been a 7 day/week subscriber to the Seattle Times since I moved here 17 years ago. Last fall I cut back to the weekend edition. My subscription is suspended right now (work and personal are both insanely busy) and am not sure if I’m going to resume. My wife gets more value and content reading online for free than I get for a paid subscription. I enjoy reading the paper, but I can either spend an hour reading the paper or an hour reading blogs and I think I’d rather do the latter. Obviously that’s just one person’s experience but the value newspapers deliver, even if they were free, doesn’t match what it was 10 years ago.

    My two cents is that newspapers will get reinvented in an online format.

  25. The Ancient Mariner on January 25th, 2009 2:35 pm

    The problem with the idea that newspapers will be reinvented in an online format is that you still have to figure out how to pay the journalists — Geoff Baker was right about that the other day — and right now, no one’s figured out how to make significant money off content when you don’t control the dissemination. I agree with qwerty that someone will eventually develop a new business model that makes independent reporting profitable — but we may well end up stuck with the Pravda model for a while until that happens (which, if so, won’t be good for anybody).

  26. Paul B on January 25th, 2009 3:15 pm

    newspapers don’t have a readership problem, they have a revenue problem

    Look at how the classifieds have shrunk. Not too long ago the Sunday Seattle paper had a huge classifieds section, now it is just a couple of pages and is shrinking fast. What is really killing newspapers is not online blogs (even though some bloggers might like to think that), it is the loss of revenue that used to come from classifieds. Craigslist, Ebay, and all of the Jobs Boards online are really what has killed the papers, and the loss of that revenue is taking everything else the papers do (like, for example, actual news) along with it.

    IMHO, of course.

  27. frozenrope on January 25th, 2009 4:29 pm

    Why is everyone rolling over for Hearst and just waiting for the P-I to close?? The current business model doesn’t work. Okay…let’s build a new one. One national paper (Christian Science Monitor) has already gone Web-only. That’s obviously the wave of the future. If I was at the P-I, with all the tech talent in this town, I’d be hustling my ass off to partner with the right people to construct an innovative way to use Thiel and the other excellent talent at the P-I as the content foundation to leave the old newspaper model behind, in favor of the future, which is probably some form of monster/craigslist/P-I amalgam. But I haven’t seen any evidence of that happening. I guess giving up is the path of least resistance…

  28. sass on January 25th, 2009 5:13 pm

    So, what are the odds of sites like USSM and LL getting a little bit more inside action? I know that GM’s have been increasingly willing to give you their time, and with Z’s new reign, who knows what he’ll allow, press coverage-wise. Now that I think about it, though, that’s probably a Howchuck decision. Bummer.

  29. enazario on January 25th, 2009 6:06 pm

    The Seattle Times financial health is also perilous. Seattle may join the ranks of other major metropolitan areas that now have no local newspaper. The newspaper business all of the country and the world is in serious jeopardy.

  30. Tom in Edmonds on January 25th, 2009 6:45 pm

    Great Stuff All!

    “Look at how the classifieds have shrunk.” Paul B

    Obviously Classifieds have gone online and sucked the revenue from ink. Ink is dead, or at the very least, on life support waiting for the family to ok pulling the plug.

    So DMZ, why shouldn’t bloggers have press credentials? A new profit model is waiting, fluttering like a knuckleball in a high wind. Waiting to be worked…

  31. Mike Snow on January 25th, 2009 6:49 pm

    Couldn’t the Seattle Times just hire Thiel

    Rumor is they’ve tried repeatedly in the past. I don’t know whether Thiel hung on out of loyalty, or whether he has some bigger issue with the Times that would cause him to leave town rather than work there. I certainly hope he doesn’t leave, he’s easily the best columnist in town.

  32. et_blankenship on January 25th, 2009 8:28 pm

    Bill Krueger excels at looking tough and shiny. So what if he lacks charisma and fails to provide thought provoking baseball insight? We should embrace his combination of journalistic tools for what they are: Swayze.

  33. seatownsports on January 25th, 2009 9:05 pm

    Why does KJR 950 get snubbed in the press-coverage?

  34. insidetheparker on January 25th, 2009 10:06 pm

    [long link, off-topic]

  35. Benne on January 25th, 2009 10:13 pm

    Bill Krueger excels at looking tough and shiny. So what if he lacks charisma and fails to provide thought provoking baseball insight? We should embrace his combination of journalistic tools for what they are: Swayze.

    Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure Patrick Swayze would be a more thoughtful and insightful analyst than Bill Krueger.

  36. spresley on January 25th, 2009 11:47 pm

    This sounds like a bad deal for the Seattle fans. I’m from Portland but I go to school down in the Bay Area and I’m a huge Blazer fan so I keep up with my team via Jason Quick’s blogs. He does a great job with them and once a week has a chat with another one of the Oregonian’s sports writers. Hopefully you guys up in Seattle can get something like this going for you. It also allows us fans from out of town keep up. Jason can do write-ups about situations surrounding the team and have them up and later updated before the original article would’ve even been published.

  37. DMZ on January 26th, 2009 12:19 am

    So DMZ, why shouldn’t bloggers have press credentials? A new profit model is waiting, fluttering like a knuckleball in a high wind. Waiting to be worked…

    Anyone who can tell us how to make a living off USSM should contact us immediately.

    As for press credentials: I don’t know that I particularly want to get into this, but the M’s have historically been hostile to electronic media. We’ll see if that changes. Other teams differ in approaches.

  38. DaveValleDrinkNight on January 26th, 2009 2:34 am

    The real demise of the Newspaper Industry is cost of distribution and generational malaise.

    We are living in a very sad and increasingly iliterate age. Newspapers, even twenty years ago, were an important and vital community sounding board.

    You got local coverage of local issues, sports teams, elections, etc.

    I’m only 31 years old and I’ve had friends and girlfriends that have asked me with some confusion,”Why do you read the Paper?”.

    My response has tended to be a line from a Bill Hicks stand-up routine:”Why do I read the Paper? Because I don’t want to end up being a F#$^ing Waffle Waitress.”

    Were losing a big part of our culture and it’s not only sad but scary.

    If you only get your news from TV, you’re an idiot. I would hazzard to say that if you aren’t going to seek out at least a couple of different opinions on or about an important issue you shouldn’t be able to vote.

    That’s what were losing, and I don’t mean Jim Moore.

  39. qwerty on January 26th, 2009 8:02 am

    If you only get your news from TV, you’re an idiot. I would hazzard to say that if you aren’t going to seek out at least a couple of different opinions on or about an important issue you shouldn’t be able to vote.

    Being aware is important, yes. But why does it have to be on a piece of paper folded and delivered to my doorstep?

  40. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 26th, 2009 8:58 am

    As a journalist (and former/future sports journalist at that), it’s certainly a sad thing to see the PI go down (considering three kids there I went to J-school with). That said, I don’t think anyone didn’t see it coming. And while I am saddened by its demise, it just further points to the change that must come. People have been predicting the downfall of newspapers since the 70s and 80s (and really, since teh radio boom and tv booms of the 1910s-50s). Then when the internet came out, that was to be the end. I think we’ll continue to see a print product, but those of us who already want the most current and up-to-date news have abandoned the print exclusivity long ago. This is simply another bump in the evolution of journalism (just one that sadly will cost some highly capable journalists their jobs). The transition to online is one we’ve also all seen coming. I think we’ll simply see this coverage grow moer and more. And while I certainly agree that the lack of competition will lead to a more homogenized product, we’re seeing a shift int he mentally of those in the industry too. For example, journalists are doing great things with twitter right now as a breaking form of info sharing allowing everyone in multiple areas that would normally be considered competitors to team up to everyone’s benefit, especially their communities. I think this is truly what we’ll see more of as time goes by. The concept of The Times competing with the Trib competing wit hthe Kitsap Sun, Everett Herald of The Olympian is absolutely absurd these days as papers ahve enough problems generating the ad revenue to keep themselves afloat. Also, many individual newspapers are actually doing fine (although this statement may not apply to the PIs specific case). What is tearing the industry down is the rapidity papers are being purchased by the Big 5 (the five or so (CBS: owned by GE would be a close No. 6) media companies that run the show in the US; see Ben Bagdikian’s The New Media Monopoly for mroe on this topic). This applies to all media really when it comes to homogenization of product and thus, a lesser product when it comes to the public. As media powers are purchsing more papers, their doing so by borrowing against themselves, thus sending several newspapers companies in particular scrambling to drub up revenues. Many of these individual papers are still turning a profit (albeit a small one in many cases). But because of the mass surge in single ownership, papers that are in the black are closing to help relieve the debt of the parent company (it kind of reminds me of the intellectualized verzion or box store booms and busts like Ernst and, more recently, Circuit City).
    Personally, I welcome the change as I think we’re all aware that the web is the future (if not the present) of news and media consumption. It is scary too, as change can often tend to be. And while I think this change is good and is coming more and more each day, I think we’ll continue to see newspapers as well for at least the next 25 years becuase they do sstill serve a number of niche purposes. Will they be as large and widespread as now? No. But will they be there? Certainly.
    OK…sorry for the ramble. This is a subject I’ve always loved studying (media consoldiation/conglomeration and its effects on product/news/etc.). Hopefully I wrapped up all my points adequately…And in closing, good luck friends at the PI! The few of you I know have good heads on your shoulders and I fully expect (and will hope for you) to land on your feet!
    Aaron M.

  41. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 26th, 2009 9:01 am

    In case anyone is wondering about the Big 5: Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) own most of the newspapers, magazines, books, radio and TV stations and movie studios of the United States. That’s very few companies running an awfully lot.
    Aaron M.

  42. JI on January 26th, 2009 10:23 am


    We get paid for LL?

    I’ll have to have a long chat with Mr. Sullivan.

    No one told you that you were paid per article?

  43. Kazinski on January 26th, 2009 10:37 am

    I canceled my subscription to the PI about a year ago strictly because of their editorial and news perspective. I’m glad to see them go, but sorry their sports section had to go with them.

    However, with blogs like USSM, and sites like Fangraphs and ESPN, and MLB, there is more information out there for baseball fans than there has ever been before. Ten years ago it didn’t really matter if there were ten dailies covering the M’s, we still didn’t have the data like Pitch f/x, wOBA, FIP, BABIP available to us as fans, at our fingertips, while we are watching the games, all of the games on HD.

    And the fact that you can read the Times or the PI for an entire season and not see a reference to wOBA, shows why they won’t be missed very much in terms of giving people insight into player and team performance. I don’t think I’m going to miss the breathless stories about locker room intrique either. What will be missed of course is the original reporting from sources that just aren’t available to anyone else but credentialed reporters.

  44. rsrobinson on January 26th, 2009 10:40 am

    I used to read two or three newspapers a day and now I rarely do much more than skim the Times sports page. It’s simply much easier for me to get my news and information from various sources online.

    Also, as a conservative, I’ve grown tired of the relentless liberal slant of newspapers like the PI and would rather pick and choose sites where I’ll get fairer and more balanced news. Frankly, I won’t miss either the PI or the Times if they both go under. I think that the death of major newspapers will create the opportunity for more diversity, not less.

  45. Jeff Nye on January 26th, 2009 10:50 am

    Let’s not turn this into a politics discussion, please.

  46. BLYKMYK44 on January 26th, 2009 3:09 pm

    We are living in a very sad and increasingly iliterate age. Newspapers, even twenty years ago, were an important and vital community sounding board.

    - Just because people do not use newspapers to get their news does not mean we are living in a “sad age”. We now live in an age where there is about 100xs more access toinformation then we’ve had in the past.

    I would argue that your point is completely opposite of the fact. We live in an age where if you have an opinion and you search hard enough you can find other peoples who share your opinion (no mater how valid the opinion is). This causes everyone to back into their own corners and not allow for any sort of compromise.

    Hopefully the PI will figure out how to become an online newspaper. I know that from a content standpoint I read the Times and PI more then ever due to their constantly updating blogs.

  47. diderot on January 26th, 2009 4:51 pm

    Just because people do not use newspapers to get their news does not mean we are living in a “sad age”. We now live in an age where there is about 100xs more access to information then we’ve had in the past.

    Sure, but broadband penetration in the U.S. is in the low 60′s. So 40 million homes denied access to a local newspaper is a good idea why?

  48. BobbyAyalaFan4Life on January 26th, 2009 5:15 pm

    Sure, but broadband penetration in the U.S. is in the low 60’s. So 40 million homes denied access to a local newspaper is a good idea why?

    This feeds directly back into what I was saying about how while a new mass populace alternative to newspapers has emerged and will continue to form, newspapers will survive because of the niches they serve. Even if you do get the ‘net at your shack in the boonies, chances are no one from your small remote area is blogging or putting together a forum or any of that. It’s for that reason we continue to see the community newspapers thrive despite “competition” from the big boys and lowering ad revenues. People understand that if you live in Lake Stevens, and you want the best local news available, you pick up the Journal, not the Times or PI. Same thing in Gig Harbor; you’d go Gateway over the Trib; etc etc. The same could be said from coast to the Wa-ID border and everything in between.
    So while we do have more information and more avenues to explore, in small community cases, the local paper continues, and will continue, to be one of the top sources of news and information.

  49. Breadbaker on January 26th, 2009 10:02 pm

    We had switched to the P-I from the Times when the Times went to morning distribution. I’d always had an afternoon paper (I don’t know if there are any anymore anywhere), but had always preferred the P-I as a paper. So this is sad. That being said, I actually read the paper more online than in its printed form. But it’s nice to read parts of it while I eat my lunch, and it’s a great firestarter.

  50. BLYKMYK44 on January 27th, 2009 1:17 pm

    Sure, but broadband penetration in the U.S. is in the low 60’s. So 40 million homes denied access to a local newspaper is a good idea why?

    - Are the 40 million homes who don’t have Internet access shelling out money for a newspaper?

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