Wednesday, March 04, 2009
May you live in interesting times.
You've heard that before, right? And why not? If life went according to plan, then wouldn't it be pretty boring? And these are, obviously, interesting times. I don't know about you but I could go for some "boring", run of the mill days right now...
So, with everything in complete turmoil, what about sports media today? And more specifically, with the struggling state of newspapers everywhere, where exactly are we headed with sports reporting? We know newspapers are in serious trouble, at least in their current state they are. But with these changing times, we thought hey, why not talk to a true professional? Wouldn't it be a good idea to touch base with the biggest Coug in the Seattle media? Get his take on all things, including the media, but also Coug stuff, as well as all Seattle sports? That's right, Jim Moore, better known as the Seattle P-I's Go-2-Guy, agreed to a two-part interview with this here blog. How 'bout them apples?
Most of you already know the Go-2-Guy, Jim Moore. If you don't, here's a link to his work at the P-I. Jim has been a Seattle icon in the sports media business, writing for over 24 years for the Seattle P-I. He loves dogs, and will always try and mix that into whatever he's doing. But best of all, he's a cool Coug who isn't afraid to call out the establishment in Seattle (UW) while refusing to take life too seriously.
So, OK, this wasn't exactly a sit-down Barbara Wa-Wa, 20/20 type interview where we tried to make him cry. Not even close actually. Jim did offer to meet, or do it on the phone, but we (read: me) chickened out and took the e-mail way. In reality we did want to do it over the phone or in person, but we didn't want to miss anything important either. After all, we aren't exactly professional reporters 'n such. So we did it over e-mail.
But still, some good answers to rambling questions, blogger-style. We also thought it would be a good idea to actually split it up over a couple of posts, with the first post as a more serious look at the state of the sports reporting business and where things are headed, as well as what's next for Jim Moore. Part two, which will run tomorrow, will be more off-the-cuff stuff, some behind the scenes stories, things like that.
So, here is part one. Get Jim's takes on the media, local teams such as the M's, Seahawks and the franchise formerly known as the Sonics, and oh yes, he has a few things to say about Paul Wulff and the WSU football program. So enjoy. And remember to check back tomorrow for part two!
1) WSU Football Blog: With the big news of the P-I's potential END OF DAYS, and with newspapers all over feeling the crunch (Times layoffs announced, 300 newspapers have either closed or had deep layoffs in the past year, Denver's Rocky Mountain News just shut down after 150 years of daily print), what do you think is the future of mainstream media sports reporting in these dark economic times?
Go-2-Guy: "I don't know. Wish I had a better answer than that. If I had a better answer, I'd know where to go to look for work. I'm not sure what it means locally, for instance, if the P-I goes out of business."
2) WSU Football Blog: We have a hard time with the idea of Seattle having just one major newspaper/sports section. What do you think will happen with the quality of Seattle's coverage if the P-I goes under? Will the establishment get lazy with less competition? Or could the quality increase based on a better opportunity for the existing beat guys to get their story with less reporters in the room and/or looking for interviews?
Go-2-Guy: "I assume that reporters at the Times will continue to work as they always have, pursuing stories and attempting to be the "watchdogs" that they've always been. That's the way I'd go about it if they were going out of business.
But if Times goes out of business too, I'm not sure what will happen. I assume that teams would have to start giving credentials to more website organizations than they have to this point. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, to have more websites and bloggers covering teams. it's not like it's rocket science what we do, though i do think it helps to have a background in journalism, especially one from Washington State! God I love that place."
3) Where do you think blogs fit in to the way sports information and entertainment are delivered to the masses? Do you think blogs are here to stay, or merely a blip on the radar and ultimately they will fade away while the big boys (ESPN, SI, AOL, Yahoo) fight it out?
Go-2-Guy: "I think blogs are here to stay, hope they're here to say. Would not have said that a year ago, but it is the way of the world. You'll have all kinds of views from all kinds of sources, and the better ones will rise to the top over time."
4) WSU Football Blog: Name your top five blogs or web sites that are part of your usual web surfing regimen. What makes these sites your favorites?
Go-2-Guy: "OK, this will prove what an oldster I am, I don't have a top-5 blogs that I look at. I don't have a top-1 blog that I look at. I don't look at anything to speak of. Gee, maybe that's why I'm so out of touch. The only things I look at from time to time are the Spokesman-Review blogs because I want to read about the Cougs, and Cougfan.com. I think those guys do a nice job over there. I feel like I'm on my computer too much anyway; I'd rather be throwing sticks in lake washington for my dog. but maybe this is why i'm soon to be out of a job, maybe i should be more in tune with what's going on. but when you turn 51, you might feel the same way. you look at life differently when you get older, at least i have."
5) WSU Football Blog: Assuming things don't change, and the P-I is going to close soon, what would be the next thing for Jim Moore? Will you look for other reporting/columnist gigs locally, such as the Times or News Tribune? How about the new KIRO all-sports format? Is that something you've explored? Or will you (gasp) consider a career change altogether?
Go-2-Guy: "i'm not sure what i'm going to do. i have absolutely no idea. i have looked into working at the Times, but I don't think they're hiring. i've talked to KJR and do have an interview scheduled with KIRO, but have no idea if that will lead to anything or not. i'm currently writing occasional golf stories for cybergolf.com. i say occasional; i've actually only written one so far, but i think it'll end up being three or four a month. i haven't hit the job search as hard as i should. i guess i'm mostly hoping that we stay in business with a website-only newspaper and that i'll be somehow involved with that. no guarantees whatsoever with that though. we've been told that even if there is a website-only paper, it will be operated with a drastically reduced staff. and it could mean that those who are still employed will have drastically reduced salaries too.
"All of it's a great unknown. i just keep telling myself that i have my health and that there are worse things that can happen to a person than losing your job, a lot worse. oh, and career change? thought about that too. might get into teaching and coaching, though my wife hates that idea: she said: "Great, get into a field where you make less than you're making now." Nice to have that loving and unconditional support at home."
6) WSU Football Blog: What do you think of the Griffey return to the M's? Purely a marketing ploy (that is already working btw?)? Or do you think they might coax 25 HR's out of his bat as a lefty DH/very part-time left-fielder?
Go-2-Guy: " I live in the past and love that Griffey is coming back. And it's not just for nostalgic reasons, I do think with a healthy knee, that he might be capable of 20 to 25 HRs and 90 to 100 RBIs. I don't think that's unrealistic. He's Ken Griffey Jr., one of the best players of all-time. Can't wait for summertime at Safeco Field. And when the games are on TV, I will stop everything I'm doing to watch Griffey when he's in the batter's box. He's one of those rare stop-everything-you're-doing-to-watch ballplayers."
7) WSU Football Blog: I know from your comments before that you really don't care anymore for the NBA. But now that we are experiencing, for the first time in 41 years, NO NBA franchise in Seattle, do you miss it? And further, with some really sick franchises out there right now in New Orleans, Memphis, Sacramento, etc, do you think that it is only a matter of time before the NBA does in fact return to Seattle?
Go-2-Guy: "Not trying to sound like the burned-out, jaded, cynical sportswriter that I am, but I truly have not missed the Sonics, not for a single second. Wish I felt differently because at one time I loved them, absolutely loved them. My favorite team in town far and away. Not sure what happened. I mean, I covered them for six years from '90 to '96, saw some great teams, great players, great series, went to the '96 NBA Finals against the Bulls. had courtside seats at most of the games. it was unbelievable, really, to be some kid who grew up in Redmond following these guys on the radio and to be courtside watching them and writing about them? it was a dream come true for me, but as the years went by, i stopped going to keyarena. only went to a few games last year.
i hope the NBA comes back to town, though. i think i'd feel differently about an expansion team. i feel the worst for kids. they must miss their favorite players. they will never see kevin durant grow into the superstar he'll become. i remember being one of those kids."
8) WSU Football Blog: Did the Seahawks make a grave error in letting Tim Ruskell's supersized ego outweight the supersized ego of Mike Holmgren? Or was it truly time for a new voice in Jim Mora to be heard in Seattle's lockerroom?
Go-2-Guy: "i love mike holmgren and it sounds like he was pulling a brett favre and changing his mind and wanted to come back, but the plug had been pulled and ruskell went ahead with mora. it is what it is i guess. and maybe it was time for a change anyway. we'll see how mora does. i don't have any strong feelings on this one way or the other. i'm more of a college football fan."
9) WSU Football Blog: Paul Wulff has been in some hot water recently, and your column basically said he doesn't have any good excuse for what happened. But doesn't there have to be at least some sympathy for the fact that EWU is the poorest kid on the block, yet has to follow the same compliance rules of the big boys where compliance is an ever-growing field? Is it really fair to blame Wulff for trying to run the entire program on 80K a year and all that goes with it? Isn't it at least somewhat amazing that what he accomplished at EWU had basically nothing to do with the violations, as none of them were done for any sort of competitive advantage? We don't want to sound too much like an apologist here, but the more that comes out about the situation, it at least seems like the better Wulff looks in all this.
Go-2-Guy: "Sean, it's interesting to hear you being an apologist for Wulff, and that's fine. and i can see your point. i'm just not as sold on Wulff as I used to be. I don't really care about the violations at Eastern so much, though it bothered me to see him blame it on the so-called "culture" at Eastern and the lack of a compliance dept. He should have just come out, publicly anyway, and blamed himself. Then privately, go ahead and blame all of the other people. It just didn't look good. This is just my opinion though. I'm wrong about most things, so hopefully I'm wrong about him."
"I pull for the Cougs. They are far and away my favorite team, much more than our basketball team, though I pull hard for them too. That win over the Bruins was great. But Cougar football is a much bigger deal to me. And let's face it, we've seen a lot of bad Cougar teams over the years, but that team last year was far and away the worst. Wulff has plausible explanations for why we were so bad, but I still wonder about him and his leadership. You do not lose by 50 points every week just because your players aren't very good; losing that badly, that consistently, suggests to me that there are other problems in the program. we'll see if he can get things straightened out with better players coming in, but i have my doubts."
That's it for today. Thanks to Jim for the time. Remember, we'll roll with part two of the conversation tomorrow. (And as a hat tip to Grippi), 'TIL THEN!