OK, so yesterday I was pretty negative. In general I have not been pleased with the level of coverage that the Patriots have had this season. However, there have been some bright spots as well. Here’s my list of a few pleasant surprises of this season’s Patriots coverage.

Mark Farinella

Mark Farinella? Yeah. I’ve knocked the guy in the past for some things that he’s written into his columns, but now that The Sun Chronicle publishes all of his work rather than just his columns, I’m seeing him in a new light. Day in and day out, he’s a solid reporter on the Patriots beat. He also happens to be (I believe) the longest tenured Patriots beat writer, having covered the team on a daily basis since 1978. Yes, Ron Hobson has been around since the beginning, but he’s pretty much retired at this point. I’m told David Pevear (of the Lowell Sun) might be another possibility, but in any case, Farinella has seen the lowest of lows and highest of highs in nearly 30 years covering the Patriots on a daily basis. As a high school student Farinella even covered the opening of Schaefer Stadium in August, 1971. On game days, he does the work of three reporters, single handedly cranking out up to five different articles on the game.

Four Downs with Felger

I hammered Felger yesterday. I really don’t like a lot of the changes that he’s made in his reporting style this year. However, I’ve been pleasantly pleased with the FSN Four Downs With Felger program. The Perception vs. Reality segment to open the show is usually pretty good, and talking with an out of town writer about the Patriots opponent that week has been insightful at times. I hope the quality of the show remains high going forward.

Projo and Globe “early articles”

The newspapers are starting to catch onto this here internet thingy. Rather than waiting for the paper to come out the next day, these papers have been publishing their game stories, analysis and columns online a few hours after the game. They realize that a lot of people are reading their stories online rather than in the paper, and by publishing it to their web sites earlier they’re satisfying the need that fans have for the instant information and opinion.

Not to mention, it saves me a few minutes in the morning if I can start my morning’s post the night before…

Shalise Manza Young

More Shalise please. With the departure of Tom E Curran, Manza Young has stepped up her work at the Projo, many times covering both the Patriots and Celtics. She’s handled both equally well and and comes across in a very personable manner. We’ll be looking for more from her in the future.

Christopher Price’s “10 Things”

Chris started writing these columns last year, but this year I’ve really been looking out for them. They’re usually posted on the Boston Sports Review website the day after Patriots game. These columns have a lot of work put into them, and as far as I know, Chris isn’t making any coin off of them. He breaks out the major storylines of the game into 10 easy to follow, numbered points. It’s a proven fact that the Internet generation loves articles that are lists or in bulleted points. Price’s columns are perfect for the new generation Patriots fan who wants to know about the game at a glance, and then be able to back through and read more about each point.

Chad Finn’s Game Blogs

A few times this year, Chad Finn has decided to devote his already stellar blog to doing a running commentary on the Patriots game. He’s done all three prime time games thus far, pumping out observations, wit and factoids like nobody’s business. If you’re into word counts, Finn’s Patriots/Colts blog entry clocked in at over 3500 words. Finn has a knack for perfectly capturing my feelings about a given moments…much better than I could ever articulate them myself. Like Price, Finn isn’t getting paid for these efforts. Isn’t it amazing that two of my favorite things about Patriots coverage are being written by professional writers…for FREE?

Do you think any of the “star” columnists in town would do stuff like that for nothing – for just the pleasure of writing and satisfaction of putting out columns and entries about a team they enjoy covering? What a concept!

Links for Today:

Patriots News Mashup
Celtics News Mashup