SBD/Issue 76/Sports Media

Wash Times Sports Reporters Bid Adieu As Paper Shifts Focus

Washington Times Eliminates Sports Section,
Lays Off Sports Reporters, Columnists
The Washington Times last Wednesday announced newsroom layoffs, following a “company plan that is resulting in the dismissal of more than 40[%]” of the paper’s employees, according to Stephanie Green of the WASHINGTON TIMES. A new local print edition targeting “local, national and international audiences with an emphasis on investigative reporting and coverage of national politics, geopolitics, international and domestic business and economics, and cultural issues,” will be available beginning today. The new print edition also will include “national news, sports features and in-depth local reporting” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/31). In DC, Mark Zuckerman wrote the paper is "eliminating its sports section," and the final print sports section was Friday (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 12/30). The WASHINGTON POST’s Dan Steinberg wrote, “Aside from the general lament about so many good people losing their jobs in such a shoddy way, the worst thing about this news is that it hurts DC as a sports town.” Sports towns have “rollicking media contingents, packs of beat writers, inter-paper feuds and all the rest.” They have “columnists with rival sport-talk shows on at the same time, and they have hurt feelings and back-stabbings, ... and they have drunken group dart games after playoff wins during midwestern road trips.” There is “no substitute for being a genuine two-paper town” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/30).

FINAL FAREWELL: Several Washington Times sports reporters said their goodbyes in articles and blog posts last week. Dan Daly, the paper's first sports department employee in ’82, wrote a eulogy for the sports section. Daly: “As irony would have it, the sports department is disappearing at a time when, frankly, it’s never been better” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/1). The TIMES’ Time Lemke wrote under the header, “A Final (Perhaps) Blog Post” (WASHINGTONTIMES.com 12/30). The TIMES’ Zuckerman wrote under the header, “Farewell, And Thanks” (WASHINGTON TIMES.com, 12/30). Former Washington Times writers Tim LemkePatrick Stevens and Mike Jones have new blogs, and the POST's Steinberg implored readers to visit the sites. Steinberg: "Don't do it out of charity; do it because there will be stuff there you'll want to read, as a DC sports fan" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/1).

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