Is it possible to go downhill after Terence Moore is gone?

Like others, Paul Westerdawg hits on the other part of the story regarding the latest Georgia Tech cheating scandal:

… Any AD who can keep an NCAA investigation a secret for over 20 months is running a tighter ship than most. It also helps to have a hometown newspaper completely and totally asleep at the wheel.

Georgia fans get three days of articles on the transfer of Brent Benedict and a full article on the assistant recruiting coordinator (a guy I had never heard of) leaving while GT is going through an investigation in two sports without a peep.

Now, let’s be fair.  It’s not just the AJ-C which whiffed on the investigation.  We heard nary a peep from the national media  – including a certain Mr. College Football who lives in the Atlanta area and hosts a college football radio show on a local channel – about it until yesterday when the NCAA broke the news.

But there’s no denying it’s an embarrassment to the sports section of a major newspaper that’s clearly seen better days before.

No doubt some of what Paul is critical of is related to public interest.  There are many more fans of Georgia’s program than there are of Tech’s and what resources the AJ-C has to direct in its sports coverage are going to go more in the direction of Athens than the Flats because that’s where the eyeballs are.  If the readership isn’t particularly interested, it’s harder to convince the paper’s editors to be concerned.

But the size of the overall pot the paper draws from has been diminishing for some time now.  Regardless of what biases you may have perceived it to be guilty of, there’s no question that the AJ-C used to do a much better job with sheer coverage of events.  It’s a shell of its former self in that regard.  Bias aside again, that’s a very sad development.  We’re the poorer for it.

All of which brings to mind this post I read yesterday.

… Still, let me suggest there’s at least culturally-significant area of American life that was failed by the “mainstream” media and been immeasurably improved by the blogosphere. I speak, of course, of college football.

I defy anyone to examine the coverage of college football in the twenty leading American newspapers and twenty leading football blogs and not conclude that the latter does a vastly superior job. Places such as Brian Cook’s Mgoblog (Michigan), Every Day Should Be Saturday (motto: Because College Football is Too Important to be Left to the Professionals), Burnt Orange Nation (Texas),  Chris Brown’s Smart Football, Matt Hinton’s Dr Saturday (hosted by Yahoo) and many, many others analyse college football with a depth and sophistication you won’t find in any newspaper or, much of the time, in Sports Illustrated or at ESPN either.

True, some of their coverage involves a measure of aggregation or piggy-backing on “old media” coverage but most of it is a reaction to the shortcomings of “legacy media” coverage of the sport. If the newspapers didn’t cover college football at all, these blogs would still exist. As it is, most newspaper coverage isn’t much better than a basic wire service. Context, opinion, colour and detailed statistical analysis are largely the preserve of the blogosphere.

If “context, opinion, colour and detailed statistical analysis” have been abandoned to bloggers, all that leaves is coverage.  And if newspapers don’t devote themselves to that, what’s left for them?

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71 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

71 responses to “Is it possible to go downhill after Terence Moore is gone?

  1. heyberto

    I think asleep at the wheel is the appropriate analogy here. I’d love to accuse the AJC of sandbagging against UGA by ignoring Tech’s problems but I have long thought it was based on interest as you say above. They simply did not deploy the troops in that direction. Interesting.

    • ChicagoDawg

      I appreciate the lack of reader interests results in less copy. However, they have a full-time beat writer assigned to GT — same as UGA. This comes down to the AJC (be it beat writer, interns, or whomever) not filing the weekly FOIA requests for all things athletic dept related. These requests are the equivalent of dragging the bottom of a pond with a grapple hook hoping to find something. My sense is they believe there is nothing to find at GT and thus they are not putting in the effort.

      It is an imperfect analogy, but I am of the belief that the disparity in scrutiny applied to both programs by the AJC is equivalent to racial profiling. I leave you to guess who is being profiled and who is not.

  2. The other Doug

    I agree that the AJC was asleep at the wheel, but it’s amazing that they had not cultivated one source within the Athletic Department for a simple tip. It’s apparent that their coverage is simply retyping and reformatting the talking points that are handed to them.

    • Dog in Fla

      “but it’s amazing that they had not cultivated one source within the Athletic Department for a simple tip.”

      Which leads to the first item open for discussion on the agenda at next week’s AJC Sports guys’ meeting:

      “Where have all the Deepthroats gone?”

  3. Puffdawg

    All I could think about while reading this post was this…

    http://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/keep-telling-yourself-that-kiddo/

  4. Doug

    This is all weirdly ironic when you consider how long Techies have bitched and moaned at the supposed imbalance in the amount of coverage the AJC gives the UGA and GT programs. Cuts both ways, fellas.

  5. aristoggle

    You’re correct that there are more eyeballs directed toward Athens than the flats, but that doesn’t excuse the AJC. In fact, that’s all the more reason to criticize them. What Georgia fan doesn’t love a little schadenfreude at Tech’s expense?

    • Stoopnagle

      Yeah, but eyeballs on Athens would have eaten up this story. A lot of Georgia fans would have bought paper copies to read about Tech’s officials living up to their “Total Person” concept.

  6. Mike

    In fairness to the AJC, Ga Tech IS an ACC team. ACC teams get less coverage than SEC teams. Having lived in both Atlanta and Florida, I have found that Florida will get more coverage in both markets than FSU.

    • Anon

      But you would damn sure know about a large scale NCAA investigation in Tallahassee well before a few hours from the press conference.

  7. Richt-Flair

    And regarding “Mr. CFB,” he has a radio show with someone within the Ga. Tech athletic program. How can you not know?

    • Baron de Coubertin

      He did not report because he has a radio show with Wes Durham on Ga Tech’s flagship station. Barnhart is no longer a reporter, he is a college football personality and sees no need in breaking news anymore.

      He just wants to pontificate on the state of the SEC, agents, and say the word – “however” with an even more exaggerated Southern accent.

  8. Go Dawgs!

    It’s one thing to completely miss the story. But if you go to ajc.com this morning, you have to go scrolling and searching to find even a blip of a mention anywhere on the front page. The only mention of Tech “above the fold” is that a police chase ended there this morning in a crash.

    If this was UGA forfeiting a championship for trying to cover up violations in an NCAA investigation, it would be ALL OVER that thing. You think the Atlanta Public Schools scandal was a big story? Hardly. And that’s garbage. It’s fine if you missed the story, but now you’ve got it. COVER that sucker, and drag them through the mud just like you would with Georgia.

  9. AlphaDawg

    I get no solace from GT being investigated and punished by the NCAA. The simply fact that we’ve had the NCAA here in the state snooping around, is enough for me to clinch the ole spincter.

    • Comin' Down The Track

      Agree with that last sentiment, but you may as well eat it up because… well, it just feels so good.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      A reality based fear, brother. Do you think for one second that UGA players ain’t getting free stuff from folks? The question is how ridiculously low will the NCAA go? A free candy bar from the local 7-11 ’cause the clerk is a fan? My reading between the lines of the NCAA “investigative report” is that the Tech people didn’t think that the amount in question was big enough to worry about. How small is small enough to not have to worry/report, etc.? Apparently it’s zero tolerance unless you are one of the NCAA’s favorites.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        P.S. It was a watch and a tee shirt as I understand it. Worth $312? I seriously doubt it. Given the NCAA’s recent actions and veracity the real value probably was less than $100. But the NCAA had to inflate the number because the smaller the number the more ridiculous their action looks. I hope tech goes to court over this. Somebody needs to establish that the NCAA has limits just like ever other governing body. They cannot just arbitrarily do whatever they want without consequences.

  10. Hogbody Spradlin

    Most people think Every Day Should Be Saturday is fun to read, but I feel like I’m reading stuff written on acid or speed, and the actual topics are mundane. The Daily Beast is pretty far out there too, for that matter.

    Possible explanations for the AJC missing the story: either they don’t have the resources to keep an eye on things anymore, or they’re were in on the silence to preserve access because they don’t have the resources anymore.

    • fuelk2

      It (EDSBS) certainly speaks its own language. About half of the references go over my head (or under it), but there’s typically something on there that makes me laugh at my desk each day. Not bad work for a Gator (who is undoubtedly on acid).

      • Normaltown Mike

        +1

        The articles by the writers are often humorous and provide good links, but the comment sections is grating.

        Reminds me of Dr No’s comic book store on Canton Highway. I would wander into it on occasion while mom was at the A&P. Inside would be two middle aged dorks arguing over Voltron’s laser or the merits of light speed.

        • BMan

          You and I grew up in the same area Normaltown. I know the exact spot you’re talking about.

          And it’s a great analogy. I love EDSBS, but the comments went to hell after the affiliation with SB Nation, in my opinion.

    • Dawgwalker07

      Other possible option: they’re out of FOIA forms amd their printer/copier broke..

    • AlphaDawg

      I go there for LSUFreak and nothing else.

    • Russ

      EDSBS has gone downhill in my opinion since it went “corporate”. 75% of the jokes are waaaaay to inside for casual readers and that includes me.

      I remember when I first found EDSBS. It was pure genius. Now, not so much.

      • Russ

        Oh, and music was much better when I was younger, and pretty much everything else was better when I was younger. This newer generation….BAH!

        What time does “Matlock” come on? Who moved the thermostat?

    • NRBQ

      Well, see?

      You missed about 60 comments on flip-flops yesterday.

  11. The best way to address things like this is to subscribe to your local newspaper, and it wouldn’t hurt to pay attention to their ads online, and click on them. Otherwise, I’ll speak for The AJC even though I’m not associated with it: “We’re sorry our completely free product that offers you local, state, national and worldwide news 24 hours a day, failed to notice and report on an investigation at a school athletic program you generally consider worth ignoring.”

    I’m a newspaper reporter looking for work myself. Just came from one yesterday that has roughly half the staff it had 5 years ago. So, yeah, things are getting missed.

    • JG Shellnutt

      Admittedly, things are tough all around right now, no doubt. I have family in the print journalism business and I am aware.

      The AJC is aware that their coverage of, if not overt awareness of, this issue has been outwardly lacking. But, I do think it’s reasonable for them to know that their readership, their clientele, the consumers that drive the “completely free product” are not happy about such an oversight.

      Granted, your feelings are probably going to be of a more personal nature considering your line of work, but missing something like this story, or intentionally not covering something like this story in their own backyard is pretty problematic and needs to be pointed out.

      We all like to say that Ga Tech is “worth ignoring” but the truth of the matter is that I would tune in to learn about Clemson’s infractions, NC State’s infractions. Heck, UNC’s infractions directly affected UGA this past year (that and TMZ’s coverage). I think Tech, being in this state, much less a rival of ours, qualifies as worth NOT ignoring.

      Either the AJC missed the story or intentionally did not cover it. Either one is a problem. Pointing out that problem is not a problem in and of itself. I think it’s reasonable to have some outcry considering what negative coverage would befall Georgia if a conference title had to be forfeited.

      • Sefdawg

        I think Ace Rothstein said it best-”Listen, if you didn’t know you’re bein’ scammed, you’re too [expletive deleted] dumb to keep this job. If you did know, you were in on it. Either way, you’re out. Get out! Go on. Let’s go.”

    • Anon

      The point is, that if Aaron Murray farted in his car in the drive thru at Wendy’s it would get a mention. This investigation was going on for months before AJC got a sniff of it. Maybe this is why the industry can’t keep up. It no longer provides the service it claims to provide.

      • They would also posit that Murray’s dinner from Wendy’s should be seen as a slap in the face of the new nutrition standards Joe T has made mandatory, and, thus, Murray’s leadership must now be questioned.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Ctfain: I regret saying this friend, but newspapers are ‘Twentieth Century passé’ like fax machines. There’ll always be a market for them, but the industry is gonna have to retrench and lower expectations.

      We’re in an age of Internet pamphleteers. When a man with web design software can make his own online soap box, newspapers as intermediaries are going to suffer.

      • 81Dog

        my friend with the buggy whip factory stock from 1910 thinks you’re crazy. Just sayin’…

    • BMan

      ctfain, I appreciate the personal nature of your comment since you are a reporter, and I wish you all the best, I really do. On the subject of subscribing, however, why would I do that? The content is outdated, certainly in print but also online. For instance I read on this blog about the dust-up between Chizik and the NCAA rep two days before it was covered online in the AJC (and the event had happened several weeks before).

      I take your point about paying notice to online ads, and can understand that. Really, the only thing I utilize the AJC for before another source is Braves coverage, and if someone gave me a Get the Picture equivalent for Braves coverage, I’d go there first.

      Incidentally, Rowlands Office is a pretty decent Braves blog, fwiw.

  12. Stoopnagle

    “What’s left for them?”

    Baseball?

  13. Well ctfain, they ain’t missing what’s going on in Athens, even if its a scooter violation.

      • Cojones

        Yeah and one poster said it was a F’ing scooter. Is that made in China? We are aware of the Effing Scooter made in Italy, the Madre-Con made in Mexico, the Cork Soaking Scooter made in Ca and the Mo-Fokker made in Germany, but I’m unfamiliar with the F’ing brand.

        • Hogbody Spradlin

          Cojones where you been. Bout everything I own is Effing brand.

        • 81Dog

          a F’ing scooter? Was it made of porcelain, or during the reign of a Chinese emperor in the 15th century? I think I have one of his vases.

  14. D.N. Nation

    “We heard nary a peep from the national media – including a certain Mr. College Football who lives in the Atlanta area and hosts a college football radio show on a local channel – about it until yesterday when the NCAA broke the news.”

    I’m pretty sure Big Tony was on some luncheon with Will Muschamp, wherein Boom-MFer told Tony that the key to Florida’s success will be heart this year, prompting Tony to write a 200-word blog post on the matter and call it a week.

  15. For once, I agree with something Andrew Sullivan said. Don’t tell anybody, tho.

  16. Cojones

    I visit AJC Sports Pages and UGA about once a month. May find myself following up on an article by Chip Tower referenced on this blog. No new info appears on most of AJC’s UGA page and you can catch up for the month in one visit. Chip, however, kept us posted on John Jenkins who didn’t seem to allow anyone else near. Think that they both handled it well with only pertinent info of interest to all of us displayed.

    When the feature writers could only write contrite crud about Richt and our program, I stopped reading their articles about two yrs ago.There seemed to be no end to the acid rain they tried to pour on my Dawgs ‘s parade. While AJC is referenced on here, the only grabber of my attention is Chip. He had to elbow his way onto that stage and it seemed that it was Dawg love pushing him.

    In all fairness there seemed to be no one with a bead on Tech’s RPG until it exploded, including AJC. I have never read Tech’s page (I assume there is one) since there was nothing as interesting as the Dawgs. Besides, I’m old and my attention span is limited. Booty calls are limited in the media, but even small doses are helping the rehab of memory cells. If it wasn’t for e-mail and good friends, I would probably be in full blown ADD by now.

    Anyone want to see a picture of twelve naked nubiles in Santa hats?

    • Dog in Fla

      “Booty calls are limited in the media, but even small doses are helping the rehab of memory cells. If it wasn’t for e-mail and good friends, I would probably be in full blown ADD by now. Anyone want to see a picture of twelve naked nubiles in Santa hats?”

      Before you take another digital step, stop, drop and roll and always remember

      Rule #1: You don’t want to end up like Megan

      But if you do,
      Rule #2: “Don’t pull that thing out unless you plan to bang”
      http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/07/13/dont-pull-that-thing-out-if-you-didnt-come-to-bang/

      • Rep. Anthony Weiner

        Not even an image of it.

      • Cojones

        Got it and did you see the offer of assface on Fox News offering to mediate the debt crisis? Seriously, this jerk tries to usurp elected official’s authority without a glance. He was even so magnanimous to say that Bachmann was wrong in her stance against raising the debt ceiling. As if he rules the Right. I’ll refer to them as the Wrong in the future.

        Oh! Forgot. Screw Tech.

  17. Dog in Fla

    “immeasurably improved by the blogosphere” reminds me of the pioneer days when the IBM guy said personal computers were a fad and when Buzz “Bissinger’s biggest gripe, it would seem, is that blogs are poorly worded, grammatically incorrect and profanity laced drivel that add nothing to the conversation and only serve to humiliate and denigrate the poor unsuspecting athlete.”

    http://smittblog.blogspot.com/2008/04/ol-buzz-bissinger-finds-deadspins-will.html

    and “Of course, there’s something rather quaint about Mariotti accusing bloggers of not knowing their libel laws.”

    http://www.cantstopthebleeding.com/mariotti-will-leitch-invented-blogging-bad-journalism

  18. Scott W.

    Honestly the AJC knows what will generate hits. Dogging out UGA brings in gnat and Dawgs alike. Who would have thought that a $312 tab would have removed a conference championship? It sounds like a non-issue compared to the rot that is prevalent in the NCAA today.

  19. Mrs. Anthony Weiner

    @ “Rep. Anthony Weiner
    July 15, 2011 at 2:05 PM
    Not even an image of it.”

    See Rule #2.

    I still can’t believe I married this smuck and let him knock me up.

    http://www.nypost.com/rw/nypost/2011/06/08/news/web_photos/WeinerProfile172737–300×300.jpg

  20. Dog in Fla

    @ “Cojones
    July 15, 2011 at 3:02 PM
    Someone wrote that she is Indian. Sioux or Comanche?”

    I think she’s a squaw from one of those tribes in the Lebanon/Syria/Jordan area of the Apache desert

  21. Cojones

    Know why Indians don’t eat Sushi?

  22. Dog in Fla

    @ “Normaltown Mike
    July 15, 2011 at 2:40 PM
    When did Eddie Deezen get married?”

    Awhile ago. She thought she was marrying Eddie Weener. When she found out his real name was Eddie Deezen she tried to annul the marriage but had no luck. She’s so mad at him she’s trying to get on this reality show now

    http://investigation.discovery.com/tv/who-the-bleep/

  23. Dog in Fla

    @” Cojones
    July 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM
    “Got it and did you see the offer of assface on Fox News offering to mediate the debt crisis? Seriously, this jerk tries to usurp elected official’s authority without a glance.”

    Sounds just like something Eric Cantor would try to do.

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