If you were under the impression that news organizations are feeling financial pressure and cutting costs, consider this note from the Associated Press:
“About 875 media credentials were issued for the BCS title game, and that doesn’t even include those requested by ESPN for its television purposes.”
And as a sign the economy must be getting better, that’s more than were issued at last year’s game.
If you’re wondering why nearly 1,000 members of the media — counting ESPN — needed to cover a game that was televised across the nation, join the club. Even more will descend on New Orleans next month for the Super Bowl.
When I became an editor, sports reporters expected to go to all the big games, regardless of whether they were specifically relevant to the newspaper circulation area. It was a matter of prestige to have your own people at the Super Bowl, the Masters, the Final Four. Geez, when you have the money, why not spend it?
Then, in the early days of belt-tightening, one of the first things I did was cut back on traveling to sporting events outside of the area. With all of the wire services we had, it didn’t make sense to send a reporter far afield to cover an event others would do and for which I was already paying. Would our reporter do it better? Well, of course, he or she would, I said. But, would readers know the difference? Well, of course, they wouldn’t, I thought to myself. It wasn’t a popular choice inside the sports department.
I have no doubt that every one of those credentialed media members can explain why it is vital that they attended the game. (A game, by the way, that had as much drama as watching a rerun of “Gigli.” I know, because I have. In full disclosure, I watched the game until halftime when I turned it off because it was clear that it was already a rout.)
Who were all those media members? What were they doing there? Did their viewers/readers benefit by their presence? And most important, will the game get higher ratings than the premiere of “The Bachelor?”
OK, enough with the snark. About 1,000 credentialed media at the BCS isn’t all that bad. After all, 15,000 media members covered the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last September.