Providence Journal

Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 76- Tim Britton, Providence Journal

I am again riding solo on this week’s edition of the show as Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites had a prior commitment and could not join me.

In the news segment I briefly touch upon the flat ratings for Fox and the 2011 World Series, despite winning the battle over Sunday Night Football on NBC this Sunday.

I also look at how more regular season NBA games may be lost to the lockout and how NBC is getting set to move a portion of its sports operation to Stamford, Connecticut.

My guest this week is Tim Britton, Red Sox beat writer for the Providence Journal.  Tim takes us through his first season covering the Red Sox, his experiences on the road, and the drama that has surrounded the team since its epic 2011 collapse.

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Deadlines Now Mean Bad News for Sports Fans

providence_journalThis post should be filed under the category of “why  bother”…

Even with the financial obstacles facing the newspaper industry, you would think their priority is, first and foremost, continuing to produce a timely, professional product.  Well that’s not necessarily the case.  And the readers are the ones who are suffering.

I live in Rhode Island, where the Providence Journal is the paper of record.  I rarely read the printed paper anymore but still read their news online.  The changes they have made to their production of the paper over the last year has been nothing less than an insult to readers, especially those of the sports page.

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What to Cover

Something really bothered my during my visit last week to the Providence Bruins’ press box.

I mentioned that there were three other members of the media on hand for the game.  I have no problem naming the organizations they represent; The Pro Hockey News, the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, and WBRU Radio.

If you’re from the Northeast, is there a name you do not see?  How about the Providence Journal, the hometown paper of the P-Bruins!

I found it absolutely amazing that the local paper did not have a reporter on hand for the game.  What makes it worse is the paper’s newsroom is literally across the street from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center!

I tried rationalize why they were not there.  Maybe the paper was tied up with local college basketball coverage seeing that Providence is a big hoops town?  No.  Providence College and the University of Rhode Island were not slated to play until the next day. 

Even though the Red Sox had just opened its Spring Training camp, there were no extra reporters than normal on hand in Fort Myers.  So why the slight?

The P-Bruins say the Journal does staff some home games, but not all of them.  This begs for a discussion on what appears to be the effects of the shrinking newspaper sports departments and their casualties.

The P-Bruins are Providence’s lone professional franchise, and the city’s daily apparently does not find it important enough to cover all its home games.  I’m not calling on the paper to devote a full-time reporter to the beat, or even suggest the paper should send a reporter out on the road with the team.  But goodness, all the paper needs to do is assign a stringer to cover all the home games!  Hell, I’ll do it! 

The practice of the Providence Journal unfortunately is a disturbing trend seen at sports departments across the country.  We all know it comes down to dollars and cents.  I’m not a P-Bruins butt-boy, but it seems to me that by neglecting your lone local professional sports franchise, no matter the sport, you are providing a disservice to the dedicated readers of your sports page.