Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Local golf angle completely lost in new Journal golf coverage

As a golfer I'm a bust, but I do like to follow the sport. So it was interesting to notice on the Flint Journal coverage of the Michigan Open in Orchard Lake that a Flushing golfer, who was always covered like a blanket, doesn't even rate a mention in the MLive coverage on the Flint site.

(Update Wednesday morning: An hour after I posted this last night a new story was up on the MLive golf site that included a mention of Jeff Roth down a few paragraphs. That story is still not up on the Flint Journal site on MLive. If the late add was a result of this post, I'm glad to be of assistance. No charge.)

J.R. Roth has always had first rate coverage in the Journal. If memory serves he has won a championship or four and is in the hunt for the Michigan Open this year at -2 in fifth place at the close of the tournament today.

But apparently the beat writer from Grand Rapids doesn't know this, nor does the copy desk who is editing the wire and Booth copy from the tournament that is being posted on the Flint MLive site.

The Michigan Open is the biggest pro tournament in the state next to the Buick Open and J.R. Roth is a perennial high finisher and one of the very best Michigan golfers. But despite the protestations that the new online coverage would be as good, or superior, to what we are used to has slipped on a banana peel with this coverage.

In fact, it appears that Saginaw merely used a PGA press release, one that didn't even mention Roth's name. Very disappointing.


Anonymous said...

Jim, why would you fault the GR beat writer for writing about the leaders and his local players instead of the Flint native in 5th place?

Seems that blame belongs either on the Journal sports staff who failed to make a simple insert or the desk who blindly took the GR story.

The beat writer doesn't owe it to Flint, Saginaw or any other Boothie to include all the locals, just as GR wouldn't expect a FJ writer to include every GR area participant of note.

Jim of L-Town said...

I don't think I faulted him. Actually I know the guy, he's a good reporter. Anyone, including me can read a leaderboard. I think I blamed the copy desk. But when one writer is covering an event for the other papers, usually they are responsible for making sure those angles are covered.

I believe that the former golf beat writer was one of those who was pushed out the door. Certainly if I can read a leaderboard someone at the copy desk should be able to read one as well.

So if you read that as I blamed the beat writer, you may have read something into the post I didn't intend. But Jeff Roth is certainly someone that a Michigan golf writer should be aware of.

Anonymous said...

"But apparently the beat writer from Grand Rapids doesn't know this"

Maybe I don't read well, but I don't know of any way that this can not be construed as faulting the "beat writer."

Jim of L-Town said...

There are a lot of things I don't know, not including them in a story would not be a factor of negligence, just an absence of knowledge.

Except that Jeff Roth is a pretty well known name in Michigan pro golf and the Flint Journal has covered him like a blanket for the past 15 or so years, it is still an open question whether the beat writer, who included golfers from Midland and other areas, even knew the significance of Jeff Roth to the Flint area.

Again, not blaming the golf writer, he was doing what he was assigned to do, cover the golf tournament for the Grand Rapids Press, but apparently the Flint Journal didn't assign its own reporter and no one at their end even checked a leaderboard to see where J.R. Roth was at.

If, on the other hand, the beat writer was supposed to be supplying information to all the papers then not noticing J.R. Roth's name near the top of the leaderboard could be a mistake.

I'm not even forgetting the possibility that the beat writer included Jeff Roth's name and some editor in Saginaw, not realizing the significance to the Flint area, edited it out.

So, again and for the last time, I am not blaming the beat writer necessarily for the exclusion. It is more a function of the dismantling of the local beat structures at the various papers that has led to this kind of coverage.

The new executive editor promised his readers things would not slip, well this is just one early example that they slipped a lot.

Anonymous said...

With only two sports writers in town you might as well forget about the Flint Journal covering golf like they used too.

Anonymous said...

good news! annarbor.com is examining many good and bad golf blogs!

Anonymous said...

It's nobody's fault in Grand Rapids, and everyone's fault in Flint/Saginaw. No arguments. It's the Flint/Saginaw desk's job to rewrite the supplied story as necessary, same as the task has been for the last 30 years.

inky said...

So Jim, what you're saying is that Booth's golf coverage so far has subpar?

Sorry, couldn't resist.