Sunday, May 18, 2008

Next question: on the press coverage

The next round of questions comes from Bill from the blog NYI Fan Central.

Would the Isles be willing or allowed to pay the Times, SI Advance, Westchester Journal, Newark Star Ledger, Post, News to assign a full time professional beatwriter and let him travel with the club and provide a daily blog?

There is not a legitimate daily newspaper around that would take money from a sports team or anyone for coverage (insert joke here). At the Islanders, we let it be known to all four major NY dailies that their beat writer could travel on the team charter, free of charge. If any of the papers had a moral issue flying for free on the team plane, they could pay the team an agreed-upon rate. Since the team plane leaves after the road games, the money saved on the extra night of lodging would be significant. Newsday did it with Alan Hahn for one season (paying per flight leg) before ending the practice. For the other three papers, it still wasn't enough for regular coverage.

Besides, let's say a newspaper did take money for coverage, impartial or otherwise. What would that say about the New York Islanders?

Given the Newsday-Cablevision merger and what it's meant in the past for Islander coverage with Cablevision taking games off television or hiding them on Metro, Fsn-2, Msg+2 it's fair to say the coverage is going to drop ever further in Newsday, do you agree?

I've been asked this a lot lately. My answer is that I would be shocked if the Newsday coverage of the NYI comes down when Cablevision takes over. There's even a solid chance it would be enhanced. My reasons why, sorry, will have to be for some other day.

Would you be willing to write for the Isles in Newsday if offered, given Pat Calabria went from Newsday to the Isles?

Absolutely, but I'm not waiting by the phone. Greg Logan has that job locked up and does a superb job with the space he is given in the paper and on the web. I imagine most sports editors would be hesitant, knowing my close relationship with the team for 20 years. I think it would be a great challenge for me, and I'd like to think I could break a few stories and bring some different perspectives.

It's like the question I've gotten from friends and hockey fans whether I would ever work for the Rangers. Right now, I'll work for anyone who treats me well and has a good position available. I never thought I'd know what it feels like to be an unrestricted free agent.

Tell me why Greg Logan should be praised for being outblogged in the Isles only paper or going overboard to create issues while barely praising the team.

Greg is a beat reporter, not a columnist. He rarely is given the opportunity to praise or beat up the team. The only time he does is when he blogs. Greg has a different approach to the blog. Greg is a traditional reporter, but he's not a traditional blogger who posts 3 times a day. My hunch is he feels his daily coverage prevents that. Instead, Greg's blogs tend to be opuses - long "think pieces" on what's up with the team. Yes, I understand Steve Zipay blogs more often on his Rangers blog for Newsday and Katie Strang has done a lot lately on the Islanders blog while Logan is away. I'm not defending Greg on this, just trying to explain that his style is different than the others. Quality over quantity.

Understand this about Greg Logan. No one fights harder to get Islanders coverage into Newsday. No one battles more to make sure road trips are covered - think it's a slam dunk at the LI newspaper? Think again. When the Islanders "deliver" - Smyth trade, playoffs, big signings, I'm sure the upcoming 5th overall pick - Logan pushes for maximum coverage.

Count on it. When the day comes that Logan is off the beat, you'll notice. And you won't be happy.

1 comment:

New York Islander Fan Central said...

Mr Botta,

Thanks for taking the time out to answer my questions, much appreciated.

My point with asking about the Isles paying a newspaper for daily coverage/blog is Phil Mushnick in the Post (Islander fan) told me the budget for their sports department is a problem and covering the Isles is a luxury they cannot afford.

It made me wonder if the Isles can offer that to them would they provide a full time writer/blog which is why I suggested this along the same lines of pay for an advertisement?

I guess I did not make that point very clear in my question.

It goes without writing it the coverage would have to be objective.

I did notice last year (06-07) the Isles paid for a backpage advertisement in the Post. I'm not sure if it was before or after Mr Grossman left for the NHL.

Thanks again.