12.31.09

The Washington Times Decides A Sports Section Is Surplus To Requirements

Posted in Sports Journalism, The Marketplace at 7:07 pm by

(it’s official : fewer press passes necessary for this man’s execution)

Since CSTB’s inception, I’ve done my best to help the Washington Times escape from the shadow of the venerable Washington Post, albeit by frequently referring to the former as a “Moonie paper”.  On two occasions, individuals toiling for the Times suggested this was unfair, and in light of such comments, I will add some of these nutcases prefer to be called Unificationists.  But regardless of how you feel about confused souls being forced to sell flowers by the side of the highway under threat of vicious beatings with a bamboo switch, we can all agree the end of the Times’ sports section, effective Monday, is very sad news.  Apparently, not even the sizzle factor of Jim Zorn’s last game in charge of the Redskins was enough to justify maintaining the sports section for one last weekday.   From Mark Zuckerman’s farewell blog entry (link courtesy Baseball Think Factory)

The most excruciating aspect of this news is the stark realization that comes with it: Neither I nor most of my two dozen colleagues are likely to ever cover sports for a newspaper again. The business is shriveling up, and it may not be long before it ceases to exist at all.

Some kids grow up wanting to be professional athletes or astronauts or doctors or actors or musicians. I’ve never wanted to be anything other than a newspaper sportswriter. As a 5-year-old, I read the sports section every morning, fascinated by standings and box scores. As a fourth grader, I created a monthly classroom newspaper, complete with scores from the soccer games during recess. I was editor of my high school paper and delighted in standing on the sidelines each Friday night during football games, keeping stats while everyone else rooted from the bleachers. I went to Northwestern University not for the top-flight education but to learn how to be a sportswriter, a far more valuable (and enjoyable) experience.

I have no idea if the Times’ decision to eliminate sports is smart from a business standpoint. Economics has never been my forte, and people a lot smarter than me probably can’t answer this question. But I do know the paper will lose readers. A lot. I know this because I’ve heard from so many of you over the last few weeks, so many of you who were stunned to hear the news, said you read the paper specifically because of our section and offered the kindest words of encouragement imaginable. It’s been a humbling experience, and one I’ll forever cherish.

One Response to “The Washington Times Decides A Sports Section Is Surplus To Requirements”

  1. Doug S says:

    I love that the link about the end of the section is from a New Zealand newspaper.

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