Skewed Priorities Will Doom Sports Media

I have lamented many times on this site about some of the idiodic editorial decisions sports media organizations make.  I have two more examples from yesterday…

Those of us who follow sports know that Boston is arguably the hottest market in the country.  The success of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics makes Beantown the envy of the sports nation.

The Red Sox receive more press coverage than any other sport in Boston.  The Boston sports media is always looking for an edge when covering the Sox.  Getting the scoop on a trade rumor or injury is big business.  But yesterday’s coverage of an off-the field event by the Boston Herald has to take the cake.

Last week Sox pitcher Curt Schilling announced that he was having season-ending surgery to repair damage to his right shoulder and arm.  The news may have also signaled the end of Schilling’s career.  The surgery was held yesterday in Wilmington, DE.

So what does the Herald do?  They send Sox beat reporter Rob Bradford to Wilmington to report, first-hand, on the surgery.  Not only was Bradford the only Boston beat reporter in Wilmington, but he also provided blog posts throughout the day.

Are you kidding me?  When newspapers are bleeding away revenue the Herald spends money to send a reporter to cover a surgical procedure on a potentially washed-up, 40-something pitcher.  Brilliant move.

Bradford took plenty of heat from readers in response to his boss’ decision to send him to Delaware.  His final blog post included this nugget…

…for those others who deemed it silly to be hunkered down, also understand that this could be the most talked/debated/analyzed surgery in Red Sox history. Don’t forget that for two months we talked about the merits of this exact surgery, and not only that, but the outcome was going to determine the opportunity for a potential Hall of Famer to continue his career.

I admit I cannot think of the most talked/debated/analyzed surgery in Red Sox history, but as a fan of the team I can say that this wasn’t even the most important surgery in Schilling’s Red Sox career.  That took place in 2005 when he was sidelined after surgery on that famous ankle that helped bring Boston the 2004 title.  I doubt the Red Sox had much hope of him contributing in 2008.  He was definitely in their plans for 2005.

Case study number two happened this morning while I was watching the Mike & Mike in the Morning show on ESPN2.  What was one of their top SPORTS stories of the morning?  The Shaquille O’Neal freestyle rap on Kobe Bryant.

Is this what now makes sports news?  What does Shaq’s rap have to do with sports?  Absolutely nothing.  When I first saw the video and noticed the “” bug, I knew this would be a meaningless story.

These types of editorial decisions are also prevalent on the news side of things.  Why cover higher gas prices or the war in Iraq when Lindsay Lohan is drunk again?  Don’t get me started on Don Imus’ latest mess.  We are most definitely doomed.