SBD/Issue 178/Sports Media
Bloggers, Int'l Media Increasing Coverage Of NBA Finals
Published June 5, 2008
|Record Number Of Int'l
Credentials Issued For Finals
The NBA tips off its dream Finals matchup tonight as the Lakers and Celtics renew their historic rivalry, and while the league is issuing fewer press credentials to newspaper and radio, it is making up that shortfall with international coverage and bloggers. The league has issued more than 1,800 credentials, which NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Brian McIntyre said is “comparable with the last several Finals.” But among the 1,800, the league has issued a record 280 to media from some 35 countries. And while the number of credential requests from U.S. dailies is down slightly, McIntyre said “it usually is in an Olympic year,” and added it has “been offset by more requests from major dotcommers,” which includes bloggers from both major media and other news outlets.
HOME COOKED MEAL: Despite experiencing a slew of editorial cutbacks, the top papers in the team markets, the Boston Globe and L.A. Times, will use a number of resources to cover the Finals. The Globe recently has lost NBA writers Jackie MacMullan and Peter May to buyouts, and Sports Editor Joe Sullivan in an e-mail indicated the staff downsizing will change the newspaper’s coverage. Sullivan: “We’ve lost people via buyout who would have cover[ed] the finals but are now replaced by less experienced writers.” Sullivan said the Globe will have eight writers, including two columnists, cover all games, as well as two bloggers, one editor, one entertainment writer, three photographers and one photo editor. L.A. Times Sports Editor Randy Harvey will send 10 staff members to the games at Staples Center, including two bloggers, and will ship seven writers and a blogger to cover the games in Boston. Also, a former Laker, still to be determined, will pen a guest column for the Times throughout the series.
N.Y. Times' Tom Jolly Says
Lakers-Celtics Matchup Raises Interest
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’: Most editors consulted said that the cost of covering the coast-to-coast series adversely affected the amount of coverage allotted to the Finals. McIntyre added the “economy and the newspaper climate are a factor” in credential requests. Likewise, Chicago Tribune Sports Editor Dan McGrath said the economy has affected the paper’s coverage, as longtime Tribune basketball writer Sam Smith this year accepted a buyout from the newspaper. The Tribune will not staff the series, and McGrath explains, “As a rule we would; always do, but the reporter we would normally send, Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson, is busy covering the Bulls’ coach search and the decision they face with the No. 1 pick in the draft.” McGrath said the Tribune will use copy from either the L.A. Times or the Hartford Courant, both of which are Tribune Co. newspapers. Dallas Morning News Sports Editor Garry Leavell said the paper would not send a writer to cover the Finals because of “travel budget priorities.” Myers said the slow economy has altered the Detroit Free Press’ coverage, as the long playoff runs of the Pistons and Red Wings have “blasted” the publication's travel budget. Myers also said the 9:00pm ET tip-off times are another factor. Myers: “The games go longer and longer each year, which lessens the quality of our work against deadlines. After a long season -- and a high-stress long playoff run -- do we really need to kill our reporters even more?”
FOREIGN APPEAL: Schwarz said the Chronicle’s decision not to staff the series for the Boston games also was influenced by this summer’s Beijing Games. And while the Washington Post is cutting back its number of staffers working the Finals from three to two, Sports Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz said it is because the Post is “trying to save up money to send a reporter with the Wizards to Barcelona” for preseason games in the fall.