Now that a bad chapter for Boston and America is over, it’s time to look at some of the media coverage. I’ll do it all in bullet form and try to do it all in one sitting.
- First, the good from the week. Local channels in Boston really got the job done. WBZ, WCVB, WHDH and WFXT all provided bang-up coverage and didn’t fall into the trap of pack journalism. They had reporters throughout the area and kept digging for information. Reporters like Kathy Curran and Jack Harper of WCVB, Adam Williams of WHDH, Jim Armstrong, Christina Hager and Joe Shortsleeve of WBZ all provided solid information and showed their experience of being in the local market. WBZ anchor Jack Williams wasn’t afraid to offer an opinion during the coverage calling those responsible for the bombings on Monday, “S.O.B’s” and said as he signed off after a long shift, “Boston will go on. And we’ll get ‘em.” In addition, the stations provided their coverage online to computers, mobiles and tablets, expanding their audience beyond the Boston market. The stations acquitted themselves very well.
- The Boston Globe opened their site from behind the dreaded paywall to all readers and brought forth excellent reporting and writing throughout the week. They did have one hiccup in reporting on Wednesday that a suspect had been arrested, but after that, it recovered and continued to provide tremendous coverage. For an institution that has been maligned over recent management decisions and almost closing a couple of years ago, the Globe stepped up to show that it can report with the best of them. Here’s hoping that the Globe learned a lesson in this new day and age and will adjust with the times. It will bring back the paywall next week, but it probably picked up a lot of new readers as a result.
- Also WBZ Radio, the only newsradio station in town did very well in its reporting. Having listened extensively during the week, the station should win awards for its coverage.
- On Marathon Monday, ESPN’s Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap anchored the bombing coverage on SportsCenter. Tapping the resources of ABC News and dispatching Steve Levy to Boston, ESPN gave viewers some tremendous coverage. Whenever there’s news that affects the sports world, Bob Ley is the person you want to offer some perspective.
- For network television, CBS and NBC both had extensive coverage. Anchors Scott Pelley and Brian Williams led their networks to understated and restrained coverage throughout. Impressed with both men, Pelley and Williams did not go off-kilter as some network anchors have done in the past. They made appearances in Boston and asked the right questions of their correspondents. In addition, NBC’s Kerry Sanders gave some solid observations while he was in Watertown in the hours after a shootout early Friday morning to the arrest of the suspect later that evening.
- Now to the bad. The cable news stations seemed to be on a one day delay in their reporting. CNN led the charge in reporting a suspect had been arrested on Wednesday. Fox did as well. But it was Megyn Kelly of Fox who began to question whether that was correct and eased Fox News out of that quandary while CNN continued to stay on course. And when a former FBI director shot down John King’s report on CNN, the network then went to debate whether their sources hung them out to dry. It was some of the worst television since ESPN2 allowed Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to debate full-time. Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show who has been doing numerous takedowns of CNN over the last 12 months, did another one on Wednesday night calling the network, “The Human Centipede of News. “
- MSNBC seemed to be stuck in political debate and the implications of which side would benefit from an arrest. The network should just give up on reporting news and just stay with political debate.
- While social media has some bad sides, it seemed to be quicker on information than the cable networks. Some of it was wrong, but it was quickly corrected. Whether people were listening to the Boston Police Scanner or local reporters using it to offer information or Boston’s Mayor Tom Menino using it to declare the suspect was caught, Twitter was the medium of record. It’s true. The Boston Police Department’s Twitter feed offered up to date information on the Watertown situation to the one tweet declaring an arrest. Who knew a computer scroll would be “must see?”
Overall, the entire week was a lesson in journalism. And who would have thought that cable news, once the bastion of reporting would become the media dinosaur?
I have a lot of work to do on the blog tonight and was delayed thanks to mom insisting I take her to the mall so she could find something for a memorial the entire family is attending on Friday. Suffice to say the plans I had for this evening have been pushed back to about 4 a.m. with all of the shit I have to do. I understand, mom doesn’t like dad driving at night and she’s not confident with her driving skills at this time so I have to drive to her place to pick her up and take her to the places she wants to go. I grit my teeth, but I do it. Gotta do it. She’s the only mom I have.
Anyway, let’s do some late night links then I have a slew of press releases for tonight, then some housekeeping for tomorrow since the megalinks will most likely be late again with all of the stuff I have to do at work and for the memorial.
Starting with Stephen Wilson of the Associated Press who has a scathing statement from the International Olympic Committee regarding the U.S. Olympic Network.
Seattle Times Olympics beat writer Ron Judd wonders if the USON announcement might undermine the U.S. bid for the 2016 Olympics.
Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times says the U.S. Olympic Committee’s actions only stand to hurt Chicago’s chances to host the Games.
Meg James of the Times says USON is already causing headaches just mere days after the formal announcement.
Bruce Allen of the Boston Sports Media Watch, he tells us that long time Voice of your New England Patriots, Gil Santos, will be inducted into the WBZ Hall of Fame. Gil was the morning drive sports anchor at News Radio 1030 WBZ for 38 years. It’s a well-deserved honor. Gil remains with the Patriots and is the longest tenured announcer in the NFL.
Ray Frager of the Sports Media Journal says a Baltimore sports talk show has been told to fix things. Keith Thibeault of SMJ talks about ESPN’s Ball Track technology that will be unveiled at the Home Run Derby.
Laura Nachman recaps the memorial for Philly sports anchor Gary Papa.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Darren Pang joins Fox Sports Midwest as an analyst for the Blues, moving current analyst Bernie Federko to ice-level.
Norm Sanders of the Belleville (IL) News-Democrat also writes about Panger coming from Phoenix to join the Blues.
Back to the L.A. Times, Mark Medina writes that Candace Parker lands her own SportsCenter promo later this month.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says the local ESPN Radio affiliate is making some lineup changes as of Friday.
Fabio Pereira of the Hollywood Reporter says mixed martial arts is growing thanks to UFC and its Ultimate Fighter series on Spike.
Dan Levy of On the DL wonders in the Sporting News if ESPN hates the San Diego Padres.
Dave Kohl from the Major League Programs blog looks at classic offerings on CBS Sports as well as the decline of ESPN Classic.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball makes an announcement of a new content partnership.
That’s going to end our links for now. Stories that will be part of the Friday megalinks are already out so I’ll stop with the links and work on a bunch of press release posts.
Let me tell you, digging out is never fun, especially when the snow has been tamped down by ice. First, I slept in, second, I took my time getting to dig out the driveway and third, it took over an hour to do it. I always tell myself my next house I live in will have a short driveway and that’s definitely going to happen. But right now, I deal with what I have. It’s never fun dealing with a long sloped driveway, but anyway, time to give you some links.
Before I do that, the one thing that helped me pass the time was listening to the Philadelphia call of the Eagles-Giants playoff game on Sirius Satellite Radio. Merrill Reese and Mike Quick are a very good team giving Iggles fans a good picture of what’s going on. But my only problem was Sirius’ airing of one promo which began with “The AFC Divisional Playoffs”, then playing highlights of last night’s NFC Divisional playoff game between Arizona and Carolina with the Cardinals announcer saying, “and Arizona heads to the NFC Championship Game!” I don’t know who produced that, but it’s been playing throughout the afternoon and it should be corrected. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s what I’ve been hearing. Kind of strange for an official NFL media partner.
To your links.
Renee Nadeau of the Boston Herald writes that Gil Santos will remain as Voice of the New England Patriots even as he retires from WBZ Radio at the end of this month. Thanks to Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch for the link.
The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir says CBS’ Bill Cowher is keeping his options open even as he returns to the NFL Today for another season in 2009.
Newsday’s Neil Best has the transcript of CBS’ interview with Adam “Hit Man” Jones on Saturday.
Just citing one example, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says there’s plenty of hate spewed at NBC for hiring Matt Millen for the Super Bowl. If you’ve read the stories I’ve linked to, the hate is coming from Detroit (understandably), and nowhere else.
Believe it or not, the voice of reason in the Matt Millen issue is Phil Mushnick of the New York Post.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that Hit Man Jones unsuccessfully tried to play the sympathy card on CBS.
Laura Nachman feels Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s newest sportscaster tried a bit too hard on her first day, but says she’ll be fine.
Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner speaks with Brian Billick about his rookie year in broadcasting.
Jay Adams from the Macon (GA) Telegraph writes that Fox went overboard in praising Florida’s Tim Tebow during the BCS Championship Game.
The Houston Chronicle has a video of the Rockets’ new radio broadcasting team.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business has a story on Comcast SportsNet’s new morning show which begins tomorrow.
Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the 3-D telecast of the BCS Championship Game came off as spotty.
The Sports Media Watch gives its weekend ratings predictions.
The Biz of Baseball says YES Network completed 2008 as the most watched regional sports network in the nation.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com says Cubs fans will have plenty of chances to watch or listen to Spring Training games.
That will do it for now. I hope to get some NFL pregame quotage today. If I do, I’ll make sure to post it.
I did not mean for the Saturday links to be up so late. I was hoping to have them up this morning, but it seems as if I’ve been all over Rhode Island today and I finally have a free moment to get some links up. I hope that the stories I find are not out of date.
Starting with the lovely Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald, she writes about the legendary Gil Santos planning to retire from WBZ Radio after 42 years. No word if this will affect his position as play-by-play man of the New England Patriots, a position he’s held for 32 seasons.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times delves into the Charles Barkley leave of absence story.
Newsday’s Neil Best posts some funny videos of the Schmoozer, WFAN’s Steve Somers when he was a young sports anchor in Sacramento.
Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette says a local Sunday TV wrap up show returns the week after the Super Bowl.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News writes that the NHL Winter Classic played well in Buffalo, but not as well as hoped.
Greg Mancina of the Saginaw (MI) News writes an open letter to NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol about Matt Millen.
Roger van der Horst of the Raleigh News & Observer didn’t feel the “wow” factor while watching the BCS Championship Game in 3-D.
The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn feels Fox’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will mention Philadelphia Eagles’ assistant coach Jimmy Johnson at least 20 times in tomorrow’s Eagles-Giants NFC Playoff game. Barry predicts the four NFL Divisional Playoff games will be the most watched programs of the weekend. Barry has Adam Jones’ comments on CBS predicting that he’ll be with the Cowboys next season.
Jerry Garcia of the San Antonio Express-News writes about ESPN and the NBA giving fans a free preview of their respective basketball pay per view packages.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says the NFL’s regular season TV ratings beat other league’s postseasons by far.
Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says it’s time for Charles Barkley to stop clowning around.
Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says Kevin Calabro was a good hire by the new ESPN Radio affiliate, KIRO.
Brian Grummell of the AOL Fanhouse has the audio of Tim Brando giving a verbal beatdown to an Auburn fan on an Alabama sports talk show.
And I’m being told that I’m going out to dinner so I’m ending this now. I’ll have the Videos of the Week tomorrow morning plus your regular Sunday features. I’ll be back later if the networks send out their NFL pregame show quotage.
I’ll do the Friday megalinks in two parts today. I’m still trying to find out what happened with the launch of the MLB Network last night. I’ve now heard from a subscriber in Alexandria, VA who said he could not watch the channel through Comcast. Besides the problems with Time Warner Cable in Albany/Schenectady, NY as reported by Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette, much of the problems appear to be with Comcast. I do expect a statement from MLB Network and when I receive it, I’ll post it here.
Because I want to get to the links right away, I’ll do the Weekend Viewing Picks in the Part II of the Megalinks.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand grades the NFL TV networks’ performance this season.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball reports on the confusion over the MLB Network launch.
Mark Newman of MLB.com liveblogged the MLB Network launch last night.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell responds to reader reaction to his post on imposing a salary cap in baseball. Darren says the NHL Winter Classic was a hit again this year. And Darren says Madoff memorabilia is hard to come by.
The Sports Media Watch finishes its look at 2008 by reviewing the ratings for the Olympics. Paulsen’s story of the year was the economic downturn affecting sports. The SMW reviews its predictions from last year. Now we get the SMW’s predictions for this year. The blog wonders if TNT should discipline Charles Barkley after his arrest this week. And the SMW says the NHL Winter Classic drew higher overnight ratings from last year.
The Big Lead says Mike Patrick might have gone overboard with an analogy during the Capital One Bowl yesterday.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Bruce Allen of the Boston Sports Media Watch reports that WBZ Radio has laid off sports anchor Tom Cuddy.
Neil Best of Newsday writes about the MLB Network launch. Neil says while MLB Network did well last night, it’s better to judge the channel when the regular season begins in April. Neil writes that Chris Carlin did his final stint on WFAN today. And Neil wonders how coaches and managers will fare in 2009.
Justin Terranova from the Post talks with Fox Sports’ Charles Davis and Barry Switzer about the BCS National Championship Game. And Justin has five questions for Fox Sports’ Brian Billick.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says Fox Sports’ Barry Switzer spent a lot of time defending his former Oklahoma Sooners team.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun says TV could bring some good karma to the Ravens this weekend.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes about ESPN’s Dick Vitale’s return to the NBA after 24 years.
Dave Darling from the Orlando Sentinel gives us the top sports media stories of 2008.
Kyle Hightower of the Sentinel writes that Magic fans will have to upgrade to digital cable to get Fox Sports Florida as Bright House cable recently added the channel to its lineup.
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram also talks with Fox Sports’ Barry Switzer.
David Barron in the Houston Chronicle says a new sports radio station made headway in the ratings.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News tells us that Bill Cowher has signed an extension with CBS Sports. Barry says former Texas Ranger broadcaster Victor Rojas will be the answer to a trivia question. And Barry notes that 60 Minutes will interview Texas Tech coach Mike Leach on Sunday.
The Daily Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht talks with Fox Sports’ Charles Davis who will call the Florida-Oklahoma BCS National Championship Game next week.
That will do it for Part I of the Megalinks. Part II coming up tonight.
The Cape Cod League has long been a place for the baseball stars of tomorrow to play and learn the nuances of the majors. College players shuck the aluminum bats for wood and get to play on the Cape for a summer. Alumni include Nomar Garciaparra, Frank Thomas and Mark McGwire to name a few. Well, the games from the Cape Cod League this summer will be streamed through WBZ Radio’s website. Legendary Boston Bruins announcer Fred Cusick (who’s in his 80′s, by the way) will call the games live. You can read more from Boston Radio Watch.
Neil Best of Newsday has started a blog and this has led to more articles from him in his newspaper. He has written a story tonight about the NFL allowing reporters access to assistant coaches. Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Eric Mangini have all played this game, preventing their assistants from talking to the media. Now with new Commissioner Roger Goodell in charge, this practice stops now. Best also reports that ESPNU will carry the entire NCAA Men’s Lacrosse tournament, all 15 games. However, not all cable systems carry the channel.
In his blog, Best notes that Bob Costas is not interested in pursuing Don Imus’ old show. Costas is not a morning person so I don’t know why this was a story in the first place.
In Minnesota, the Twins will be on both Fox and ESPN this weekend. Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says that while Saturday’s game on Fox will be shown to a small regional audience, Sunday’s game will be shown nationally on ESPN and gives the Twins a rare national opportunity to showcase itself.
Good story from USA Today on the Inside the NBA studio show on TNT. It’s one of the best studio shows in sports. ESPN has tried to match the chemistry of Ernie Johnson, Jr. , Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley to no avail. To be honest, I’d rather have the NBA on TNT on cable and ABC on free, but because ESPN wants to be involved, it gets a slew of games. However, this leads to confusion during the playoffs as you have no idea what games are on which channel. If we went back to the days of when NBC had the over the air contract, it was easy. TNT had the playoff games Monday-Friday and on weekend nights, NBC had the games during weekend afternoons. But now with ESPN/ABC involved, games are on all over the place.
We’ll have more links tomorrow.