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?