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Dealing with the "volume to content" problem

Eli Zaret has an interesting post over at Blue Collar Blueprint about a conversation he had the other night with a young journalist covering the Hawks. Simply put, the poor guy was struggling to find a creative angle to report the same old news -- "the Hawks lose, again" -- day after day. Zaret made a good point in that members of the media covering good teams often face the same problem:

He listened with curiosity when I told him that the Pistons had generated similar sentiments among their media people – that when you win game after game so easily, as they have done, it’s also a challenge to find new angles to what appears to be the "same old story."

Today’s local newspapers are a good example. At practice in Atlanta, Krista Latham of the Free Press and A. Sherrod Blakely of M-Live were getting into the "Ben Wallace as free agent" story. Gimme a break. That’s a six-months-down-the-road story, but with no headline making events taking place, that’s the topic they picked. Krista asked Flip Saunders the first Ben related question; Blakely asked a follow up to it, and Voila, another non-story is born.

I’m not knocking the writers. The simple point is that when the status quo is maintained and you have space or airtime to fill, sometimes you have to grope. The media beast needs to be fed every day, and some days there aren’t many scraps sitting around. Try doing talk radio on a slow news day if you want to know what a tough media gig really is.

This reminded me of something Mark Cuban said in an interview earlier in the year:

Most media coverage is defined by seconds, minutes or column inches. It's tough to do a good job when they have to work backwards from volume to content.

Zaret and Cuban pretty much hit the nail on the head. It is hard, but with a team that has such an avid fanbase like the Pistons, there should be a lot of pressure on the beat writers to rise to the challenge. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't, but it rarely ever matters because I think the average fan (everywhere, not just Detroit) is simply used to the status quo.

Hopefully someday that will change.

Feeding the Beast [Blue Collar Blueprint]
Who are the real rumor mongers? [Detroit Bad Boys]