Monday, December 31, 2007

Dan Le Batard, Company Man

Was reading through the transcript of a recent online Q&A with Dan Le Batard, the Herald sports columnist did and thought this exchange was interesting:

Q: Hey dan, is there any way you can get the Tuna hired as the Herald's Sports Editor? You can stay. But dude, those other guys? Can you feel the peolple's pain? Of course you can, and don't pretend you wouldn't clean house over their if given the chance. Question: Would you???

Mr. Pat., miami, florida 12/31/07

A: i'd be gone faster than randy mueller if the swaggering tuna was running our place......i'd put up our staff against any in the country with similar resources, and i'd tell you the truth on that if i thought we were flailing....we do a very good job with some serious limitations.....we're not as strong as we were a decade ago but nobody in this sick business is....the kc star is the only sports section i can think of as good as ours in our circulation range

Dan Le Batard 12/31/07
A couple of things to note, the Kansas City Star which Le Batard mentions is also a McClatchy newspaper. Also Le Batard recognizes the fact that the newspaper business in deep trouble. I think his sentiments are commendable but people don't grade their newspapers on a curve based on circulation and they also don't care what the limitations are. The Herald has a bunch of kids writing and editing the sports section. Kids, because they are cheap. At some point the circulation troubles of the paper are also contributed to by the lack of quality in the paper.

6 comments:

Not a Penny for Sports said...

Wait, you mean we need even MORE attention, time and resources devoted to rich grown men with serious attitude problems playing games, aka pro sports? Uh, I DON'T think so.

Henry Gomez said...

If you want to sell newspapers to those millions of people who enjoy reading about rich grown men with serious attitude problems playing games, aka pro sports, then yes. Otherwise the Herald and other newspapers can continue their slow slide into oblivion.

DMQ said...

Whether or not people grade their newspapers on a curve that takes its limitations into account doesn't change the fact those limitations are still there. If you have $100,000 to fill three copy positions then you have to hire 20-somethings, no matter how badly the public wants to read stories more thouroughly and competently edited. Blood from a stone. Oh, and to "not a penny", take sports and the revenue it generates out your local paper and see how quickly the circulation goes to the basement.

Henry Gomez said...

DMQ,

Thanks for your comment. Of course the economics don't change whether the paper is graded on curve or not but Dan Lebatard is not "people" he's a columnist that's been around the block a few times.

And of course I could argue that that budgets like fixed expenses for talent could increase if revenues went up. But its hard for revenues to go up when people are dumping the paper like a hot potato. At some point it becomes garbage in, garbage out.

But beyond that, the cuts in the Herald's sports department started way back when the paper was making double digit profit margins. I believe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

not a penny for sports said...

I'm not coming at this from the standpoint of the paper's business department, or whatever it's called. I simply think the obsession with sports, like that with celebrities in general, is more than a little excessive. Insofar as I can manage it, I don't want a penny of my money going to either camp.

Henry Gomez said...

Well I don't want my money to pay for Ana Menendez' salary and that's why I don't buy the Herald. But the newspaper is a business and at the end of the day if it doesn't provide coverage of the news stories that people want it will die. And there are hundreds of thousands of people that want to see sports covered. And if you're going to cover something you have to cover it well or...