(UPDATED, 10:00 AM - A very spirited and interesting discussion in the Comments area, including a post from a former Newsday writer. I have responded to some…CB).
Newsday is firing 5% of its staff during a downturn in the newspaper industry one expert called “the worst since the Depression.” Read the paper’s own coverage of the story here.
According to Long Island Business News, Newsday will eliminate the category of “sports columnist,” potentially affecting mainstays such as Shaun Powell and Johnette Howard. Shaun, for one, has been a major proponent of the Lighthouse Project in the newspaper. The photo desk is expected to take a major hit, with 13 photographers likely to lose their jobs.
According to Newsday, the travel budget is expected to be cut.
I understand there are far greater issues here, but I recommend that Newsday and the Islanders broker an appropriate travel arrangement that’s beneficial for the newspaper and maintains the coverage of the team. Just as the Islanders travel with their radio and TV broadcasters on the private team charter, beat writer Greg Logan and any other assigned Newsday writers should fly with the team to and from games. (Needless to say, the Post and Daily News should be welcomed, too).
This would be at no expense to the newspaper. The only agreement necessary is that the team must not expect the coverage of Newsday‘s writers to be compromised by the travel arrangement. Why should the Islanders – and all NHL teams, for that matter – do this? Because the coverage is crucial to the franchise, the sport and the league. Too many teams, including the Islanders, Panthers, Kings and Ducks, have seen their full-time coverage dramatically drop off in the last few years.
Some writers prefer not to travel with the team because the team bus departs road arenas 30-40 minutes post-game and the writer may not have the time to pen the perfect post-game recap for the next day’s paper. In this era of non-stop blogging and huge numbers on newspaper websites, that’s a frivolous concern.
Using last night as an example, Logan could have traveled with the Islanders after the game in Washington and been home by 12:30 am. He could have filed a solid game story before leaving the Caps rink with the team, and if so inclined he could have blogged a follow-up when he arrived home before 1:00 in the morning. Better still, he would have gotten a good night’s rest in his Suffolk home and been sharp when the Islanders practiced and dropped the latest news bomb on us at 11:00 am this morning.
My hunch is Logan probably got about three hours sleep at his Washington hotel before an early cab for his early flight to Laguardia and then driving to Iceworks. He’s a pro who’s been doing this for 30 years so naturally his coverage today was top-notch, but do we really have to run him into the ground?
NHL teams can laugh, pooh-pooh the idea, have a screw-the-media attitude, declare the-team-is-the-team nonsense (yeah, like those Dallas guys who anonymously ripped Avery)…and, well, in a few years they can be nostalgic about the days when newspapers used to cover hockey games on the road.
I’m real sorry for what’s going on at Newsday. Let’s hope everything possible is done before anyone else gets hurt.