MEDIA WATCHDOG: GRADING ESPN THE MAG

Street Talk MEDIA WATCHDOG: GRADING ESPN THE MAG

Posted in Street Talk
Print this article

How many of us really need more sports coverage from ESPN?
 
ESPN and its team of networks has become a staple for most sports fans seeking news, highlights and live event coverage. There is rarely a day when I don’t watch at least part of SportsCenter or ESPNEWS. I like ESPN having several viewing options on my dish network viewing guide and I also listen to ESPN radio here and there during the week. 
 
It never crossed my mind that ESPN suffered from under exposure. But when they recently started sending me ESPN The Magazine, without my subscribing, I figured somebody at the headquarters in Bristol thought I must fit a demographic that needed even more sports coverage from ESPN. Did some executive at ESPN actually think I was not getting my fill of sports news from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU or ESPN radio? 
 
Well…I guess the answer would be yes.
 
Let me say that growing up as a kid and teenager the only weekly sports magazine I read was Sports Illustrated and I loved it because of the great photos and high quality content from the feature writing staff. 
 
When I first started thinking about reviewing ESPN The Magazine I was wondering if it would be much like SI.  In short, it’s not…at least from the issue I just read.  Granted, I did not read every single article and mini feature in the issue…but I read enough to get the gist of what I think they are trying to accomplish.
 
I like the actual size of the magazine…it’s the larger type publication like a Rolling Stone. I guess you could say it’s like SI on steroids. The photos, content and ads just look better when they are a little larger compared to your normal sized magazine.
 
The issue I read was 124 pages split between 74 pages of content and 50 pages of advertisements.  The cover story was about Cardinals QB Matt Leinart working for ESPN The Magazine for a day as a reporter with the assignment of trying to get answers from NFL coaches as to why he fell to the 10th pick in the 2006 draft.  Hmmmm…I can’t say this struck me as a story I viewed as a “must read”.  I just didn’t find a feature article, actually written by Leinart, about how he has lost sleep for a year over his draft day free fall and how it cost him a few million dollars and now he wants answers from the NFL coaches that passed him over to be very compelling.
 
Time to turn the page.
 
Near the front of the issue was a group of two-page photos that I can see a kid carefully tearing out and tacking up on his bedroom wall.  I also liked the Page 2 section called Big 10 that had 11 one-liners on some recent big sports stories. Later in this same section there was a page full of predictions from Mike and Mike.  Doesn’t anybody at ESPN think these guys get enough exposure already?  Count me among those that do.  I have no desire to see these guys discussing anything in print…radio and TV is plenty.
 
It’s obvious the plan of this publication is to set up the reader with a series of quick hitting jabs before delivering the knockout punches with the feature articles later…I have no issues with that philosophy.
 
As I read on I found an article entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Being a Fan.”  What I thought would be a cool piece about what it means to be a die-hard fan was actually a “how to” guide on asking pro athletes for an autograph or a date.  This feature actually included quotes from well known pro athletes such as Derek Jeter on getting his autograph as he said, “Don’t follow me home from the stadium. People follow me home all the time. It doesn’t scare me, but I’m not going to sign.” 
 
But the icing on the cake was when LPGA member Paula Creamer treats us to the following about how to pick up a female professional golfer.
 
“Be George Clooney….smart, athletic, good-looking, in good shape, confident, polite and funny. That will pretty much do it.” 
 
Wow, that is some heavy hitting journalism from the worldwide leader is sports.
 
The bottom line for me regarding ESPN The Magazine is I would glance through it now and then, but I am glad it’s getting sent to me for free because I’d rather put that cash towards my next round of golf or Ravens tickets.  Grade: C
 
BaltimoreSun.com comes up short on its Tiger Woods coverage
 
With Tiger Woods playing host for the AT&T National at Congressional CC in nearby Bethesda it was no surprise BaltimoreSun.com was providing scoring updates during the tournament.
 
On the morning of the second round I logged onto BaltimoreSun.com at 11:42 AM and saw this storyline: “Woods’ struggles continue in second round”. This update had a timestamp of 10:25 AM. A scoring update almost 90 minutes old is just poor web content management.
 
I then immediately logged onto PGAtour.com and I see Woods is 2 under through 13 holes for the day and now at +1.  It’s great to see BaltimoreSun.com covering this local event but the scoring updates need to be timelier. The tagline would lead the reader to believe Woods was possibly over par for his second round when in reality he has playing well.
 
Later that same day at 1:22 PM BaltimoreSun.com had been updated with a new tagline that read “Woods rallies in second round at Congressional”.
 
This could have been a great comeback, but the writer had incorrect scoring for Woods when he stated Tiger had birdied the 6th hole when he had actually recorded a bogey.  If I can get the right scoring for Tiger Woods with a few clicks of my mouse, can’t BaltimoreSun.com do the same?

Facebook Comments
Share This  
Scot Kleinfeld

About Scot Kleinfeld

Scot is a Baltimore native, a Towson University graduate, and has followed sports since the early 1980's. Scot likes to go inside the numbers and get the real "411" on the wins and losses,  hence his Behind The Numbers column.   Besides being an avid sports fan, Scot has been involved with televison sports production as an Associate Producer since 1993 for WMAR, ESPN, ESPNU,ESPN2, and the former Home Team Sports network.  In addition to his television work Scot has written articles for Baltimore Magazine, Lacrosse Magazine and Patuxent Publishing.  These experiences make him a natural as the creator of the Media Watchdog, another of SK's fine contributions.   More from Scot Kleinfeld

Close

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

Get More Information