Thursday, October 29, 2009

Newspapers and the World Series

The Star Tribune isn't staffing the World Series this year. Nor is the Pioneer Press — indeed, from what one can glean from the St. Paul paper's Internet home page, there wasn't a game played last night.

They're probably not alone. MLB this year held its first "media day," patterned after the NFL's media day early in Super Bowl week, with the express hope that it would entice more news outlets to the Series. The NFL's faux event often comes off as a joke, and I can't imagine why an attempt to duplicate it would be seen as a plus, but I'm not running MLB's media relations.

It's no secret that the world of traditional media is in turmoil. Newspaper circulation is down — the 25 biggest U.S. papers, which includes the Strib but not the PP, lost about 10 percent of their collected circulation in the past quarter. Local TV news stations are struggling as well; a recently fired director at WCCO TV was quoted in the Star Tribune: It's a dying industry ... and quite honestly I don't think that they have the smarts to reinvent themselves.

(Wandering off on a tangent ... in that context, I'm a bit puzzled by the Glen Taylor-Vance Opperman bid for a minority share in the Star Tribune. There have been cases of a deep-pockets guy buying a failing paper in order to push his political agenda, but Taylor and Opperman are partisan opposites, so that's not the case here. And as an investment — well, I'm no high-finance guy, but there have to be more lucrative places for them to put their money.)

I'm not sure what LaVelle Neal or Kelsie Smith would provide from the Yankees-Phillies Series that the wire services can't, and I suppose the decision makers at their papers had the same conclusion. Plus — let's face it — sending a reporter to New York racks up the expenses faster than sending one to almost any other city.

I'm not really surprised the Twin Cities metros aren't at the Series, just a bit saddened. It's another minor surrender. They have bigger battles to fight.

1 comment:

  1. It really is sad, but the Star Tribune already had borrowed quite a bit from the AP for its stories. Plus, LVEN said that he would be writing on the Wolves occasionally for Jerry Zgoda, so I'm sure the Strib may view reporting Wolves news (although they're not a major focus right now) as more important than the World Series, which admittedly can be found just about anywhere.