You’ll Have To Pay To Read Shaughnessy Starting in 2011 (Perhaps Not)

The Boston Globe announced today that starting next year, they will break the content of the Globe and Boston.com into two separate sites. BostonGlobe.com will require a paid subscription to access, while Boston.com will remain free.

Globe to offer two websites: one free, one pay

So soon you’ll need to pay for the privilege of reading Dan Shaughnessy. On the other hand, apparently you’ll get all the Tony Massarotti and Chris Gasper you want for absolutely free!

Update…

The following was posted on Twitter by a Boston.com sports producer:

The good news about all of this two websites business is that all of sports will be free. Sports fans have nothing to worry about.Thu Sep 30 20:13:32 via Seesmic Desktop

Now I have to say, if true, that is extremely smart on the part of the Globe. Sports articles are among the most visited on the website, (some people only visit the sports articles) and to continue to offer them from free would be a win for many consumers.

I can’t help but think that the amount of competition out there in this market for sports coverage lead to the decision to keep it free. Who would pay just for the Globe’s take on sports when they can choose from dozens of other outlets?

Who Will The Globe Hire To Replace Albert Breer?

This is Albert Breer’s last week with the Boston Globe before he joins the NFL Network next week. In his weekly chat on Friday, Chad Finn answered the following question from a reader:

What’s the Globe’s plan that Bert is leaving? 
 
Chad Finn:
Not my place to divulge names, but I know of at least one pretty well-known NFL writer who interviewed this week. I know Bert took a lot of heat from readers for his occasional contrarianism, but I’ll miss him. The only person I’ve met in this business who exudes a genuine passion for football like Bert does is Mike Reiss. He did get a very sweet gig at the NFL Network. He’ll be making 150 TV appearances over the course of a year as well as writing for NFL.com as one of their eastern correspondents.

It is a great gig for Breer, no question about it.

So who has interviewed at the Globe, and who might they consider hiring as a replacement for Breer has the top NFL writer?

Here is my very short list.

1) Todd Archer, Dallas Morning News  (@toddarcher )

A source tells me that Archer (right), Breer’s former coworker at the DMN, was actually very seriously considered when the Globe hired Breer. In fact, they may have preferred him over Breer, but couldn’t get the details worked out.

I don’t know if they would still have the same level of interest this time around, but Archer, who I believe does have Boston ties, would have to be considered a serious candidate.

2) Greg A Bedard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel(@Greg_A_Bedard )

I believe strongly that Bedard (right) is the “pretty well-known NFL writer” cited by Finn in his above chat. Ultimately, I think he is the one who may well end up with the job. In fact, my source says he’s been offered the job. He’s also got local ties, as Breer himself pointed out in a training camp blog post that Bedard did for Boston.com on the Packers, noting that like Breer, Bedard is a “Lincoln-Sudbury guy.” Prior to covering the Packers, Bedard covered the Miami Dolphins for the Palm Beach Post.

Bedard is prolific on Twitter, which is where I first came across him. This interview with Cheesehead TV gives you some more of his background, and that he cites the Boston Globe as  big influence on his career. (Uh oh, a slight slam at Shaughnessy in there.) This more recent interview with a Rutgers blog (Bedard is an alum) has Bedard weighing in on Devin McCourty, also a Rutgers product: “I like Devin McCourty but don’t think he’ll be any better than a pretty good player (not elite).”

In the end, I think Bedard is the one that they want, the questions will be a) whether he wants to move his family, and b) if the job, as offered is going to be appealing to him. How much support will he get from management…will he feel comfortable with the beat writers already in place at the Globe? Is the Boston Globe still an appealing destination for writers to come to?

I think we’ll find out relatively soon. I believe the position will be filled rather quickly, one way or the other.

A Challenge To Dan Shaughnessy

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy submitted a routine hack job of the Patriots and their methods in this morning’s newspaper. He made the usual comparisons (Nixon White House) and accusations (arrogance) and even made a statement calling out some of his colleagues in the media.

The Patriots are the Nixon White House of sports. They see demons everywhere. They bash dissent, deny the obvious, and rely on a silent majority of loyalists (including some credentialed media) to pledge allegiance.

(emphasis mine)

So here’s the challenge to the bravest columnist in town (as described by his editor, Joe Sullivan):

Name the credentialed media. Call them out by name. Do it publicly. Don’t send an email or make a phone call. Just name them.

I mean, this is a serious offense, is it not? These so-called objective media members, who have pledged allegiance to the evil empire that is the New England Patriots and their emperor, Bill Belichick, need to be identified.

I like how Dan is implying his own bravery here as well by mentioning the “silent majority of loylists” – the implication being that there are only a few brave souls – including himself – who dare speak against the evil being committed down in Foxborough.

So let’s hear it Dan. Who are the credentialed media members who have pledged allegiance to the Patriots?

Today in Boston Sports Media History – Remembering Ray Fitzgerald

From August 5th, 1982.

Ray Fitzgerald Is Dead at 55; Sports Columnist in Boston
UPI

Ray Fitzgerald, an acclaimed sports columnist for The Boston Globe, died Tuesday at Brigham and Women’s Hospital after a long illness. He was 55 years old.

Mr. Fitzgerald, a versatile writer, covered many sports for the newspaper for 17 years. He began writing his column in 1975, taking over after the retirement of the veteran columnist Harold Kaese.

The columns were known for quips and tongue-in-cheek humor, characteristics that helped Mr. Fitzgerald win the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year Award 11 times in balloting by sportswriters across the state.

After graduating in 1949 from the University of Notre Dame, which he had attended on a baseball scholarship, Mr. Fitzgerald began his newspaper career that year at The Schenectady (N.Y.) Union-Star. He later worked for The Springfield (Mass.) Union for 12 years before being hired by The Globe in 1965.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, his mother, a brother and two sisters.

If you can come across a copy of the compilation of his columns, Touching All Bases, I highly recommend picking it up. You’ll get a great feel for Boston sports in the 1970’s and very early 80’s.

Globe Staff Going Whole Hog On Brady Holdout

C’mon guys.

The Boston Globe. Allegedly THE paper of record for New England sports, is embarrassing themselves with this Tom Brady holdout garbage.

Albert Breer’s lede on the Extra Points blog:

With all the noise of a Tom Brady holdout (which I hear pretty strongly isn’t happening … and was never happening), it’s worth asking this question: How could it really come to this?

Um, what? Yeah, How could it really come to this which was never happening? Does that lede even make a modicum of sense?

Breer then goes on to quote colleague Chris Gasper, who has a few gems of his own:

He shouldn’t have to threaten not to show up to camp to get a new contract.

What threats would those be? The ones solely created by the media to “move the needle?”

The Patriots are playing a dangerous game here with their most valuable asset.

As far as I can tell, they’re not playing any game here.

The CBA has become a rather convenient bit of CYA for the Patriots not to cut Brady a big, fat check.

Right. That’s really all it is. How stupid does he think they are?

Tony Massarotti took his whack at the situation earlier this week…practically begging Brady to hold out. Not only hold out, but not play the entire season.

Meanwhile, Peyton Manning sits in the exact same situation. The only difference being he’s getting a higher base salary than Brady. But isn’t he also risking $50 million dollars by showing up for Colts camp?

Congratulations, Boston Globe, for abandoning any real reporting in favor of trying your hardest to simply stir the pot.

Bill Griffith on Jack Craig

Bill Griffith was one of Jack Craig’s successors on the “SporTView” column in the Globe. (Howard Manly was in between Craig and Griffith) He was also a big influence on BSMW coming into existence.

I traded messages with Bill yesterday and today, and he offered a few thoughts and memories on Craig.

He remembered how then-sports editor Ernie Roberts plucked Craig off the copy desk, where had been working on the PM edition of the Globe, and put him in this new role – TV sports writer.

Griffith says Craig was the right guy to originate the beat of TV sports writer, as he had a “good layer of cynicism” and that he “questioned everything”. He could be a “little crusty” and “very abrupt” but was a good guy.

In the early days there was a lot of coverage of Curt Gowdy, Ned Martin, Jim Woods, or national guys like Chris Schenkel out of New York. He also covered the very early Olympic television coverage, in the days before it became what it is now.

Griffith, who worked at the Globe with Craig for the latter’s entire tenure there, recalled witnessing “huge screaming matches with Howard Cosell” and Craig getting calls from Roone Arledge (Cosell’s boss on Monday Night Football).

To do his job in the days before email and the proliferation of cell phones, Griffith says Craig kept “a Rolodex the likes of which I’ve never seen” and since phone numbers change so frequently in the TV business, the Rolodex cards were filled with “cross-outs and scribbles, and all kinds of backup numbers…he had a great contact list.”

When he was given the job of carrying on the Globe SporTView column, Griffth says that he “used (Craig) as a role model, and was proud to try and emulate the stuff he had done. He got into issues, had a lot of notes, and did some behind the scenes stuff.”

I’d like to thank Bill once again for his time and memories of Mr Craig.

Jack Craig – First Full Time TV Sports Critic, Passes Away

For many of you, Jack Craig might’ve been your first exposure to the world of sports media criticism. His SporTView column in the Boston Globe was really the first of its kind, and he was the first full-time TV sports critic in an industry that is now full of them (along with many part-timers and countless bloggers).

Craig passed away on Friday afternoon at his home. He was retired from the Globe, where he had worked for 29 years. He was a 1956 graduate of Boston University.

The SporTView columns appeared three times a week – Tuesday, usually with a recap of the weekend sports ratings numbers, Friday with a preview of the weekend’s events, and Sunday with a feature and notes column.

There will be more on Craig in the days to come.

Here’s a 1994 column from Craig on the 15th anniversary of ESPN: You needed ESP to know ESPN would click

Mainstream Media Review: Boston.com/sports

As Bruce is on vacation this week. BSMW will be featuring reviews of some of the websites and content from several Mainstream Media outlets this week.

Today, we’re taking a look at the sports section of Boston.com and the ties it shares with the Boston Globe sports section.

Boston.com was once the go-to site for pretty much all things Boston sports. For many people, it still is. Several new competitors have muscled into the scene, but Boston.com is still a monster in terms of traffic, and often leads the way in integrating new technologies and methods into its content. It’s constantly changing, being updated and evolving. That’s a good thing. If you’re looking for the very latest breaking news, they generally make it pretty easy to find there.

The sports section is a very busy place, in fact, it can be pretty overwhelming if you land there looking for something specific. (Go ahead, go there right now and find Chad Finn’s Touching All The Bases blog.  Go ahead. I’m timing you.)

The page is broken down into sections by sport, which is nice, but each sub-page is just as busy as the home page. Each team page has their blog in the upper right corner, making those at least easy to find.

Advertising is a necessary evil on websites. I have plenty of it here. We all need to find a way to pay the bills and make some money off the content that is being put out. A problem I have with Boston.com and the Globe site is some of the obnoxious-acting ads that they use. The worst one, to me, is when I’m going through the Boston Globe sports stories in the morning. I like to link to the full-length version, mostly as a convenience to the reader – if I do it, you don’t have to – that sort if thing. Anyway, something is rigged with some of those “Single Page” links so that when you click on them, it doesn’t open the single page version, instead it serves you a pop-up ad. Do it again, and the same thing happens. Finally on the third attempt, your single page article will load. There does seem to be some sort of cap on these, so once you’ve had to do it a few times, it stops and actually loads what you want. Minor thing, but incredibly annoying.

Now, as for the content, I go every day without fail and check out the Globe sports stories. Using that link doesn’t even bring me to the Boston.com/sports side, it’s just the stories from the Globe that morning. For the actual Boston.com/sports site, I can honestly say that the only time I’ve been going there on my own recently – just going to the homepage, not following a link to a specific article/post – is to find Finn’s latest blog entry. (By the way, if you haven’t found it yet, you need to scroll down the right side of the page, find the “Blogs” widget, and scroll down inside that until you come to the link for the blog.)

The Globehas had a lot of staff turnover in the last few years, but columnists Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Ryan are constants. On the baseball beat, Amalie Benjamin and newcomer (via The Journal NewsPeter Abrahamdo a very nice job with the Red Sox, while another holdover, Nick Cafardo takes care of the national beat and Sunday notes. The Patriots are covered by Shalise Manza Young, recently brought over from the Providence Journal, and Monique Walker, with Albert Breer, hired last season, serving as national football writer. The Celtics are covered by beat writer Julian Benbow, with Frank Dell’Apa also a reporter, and Gary Washburn, hired last August as the national guy. The Bruins are covered by Fluto Shinzawa, with Hall of Famer Kevin Paul Dupont taking the NHL beat.

Boston.com has two of it’s own columnists, who generally don’t appear in the print version of the paper. WBZ-FM afternoon co-host and former Boston Herald writer Tony Massarotti is one, and former Globe Patriots writer Chris Gasper is the other. Charles P. Pierce also has been doing quite a bit for them aside from his work for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, but his contributions on Boston.com are mostly as a blogger. Massarotti’s role has been reduced since he took on the radio gig, but he’s still a regular contributor.

An issue I have with much of the content on the sports pages of Boston.com is tone. I’m making a distinction here between the content published in the Boston Globe and that which appears on Boston.com. The former is generally even-handed and fair. Most of the editorial content on the latter seems to be aimed at “tweaking” the readers. This is especially true for Massarotti, Gasper and the blog entries of Albert Breer. (Is it just me, or is every single blog post that Breer puts up worded in such a way so as to tweak Patriots fans?)  That’s good for stirring up attention and getting lots of comments and page views, but it doesn’t do it for me.

The good part of Boston.com is the sheer amount of content that is put up every day. Beyond the four majors, there are blogs for college sports, high school sports, Eric Wilbur’s Boston Sports blog, a marathon blog, golf blog, and a good soccer blog that not only has Revolution items, but soccer from all over the world.

As previously mentioned, when news is breaking, Boston.com is a great place to head first. The aforementioned Finn, who is an editor for the site, is generally the one posting updates in the various blogs on these breaking news items. For this reason alone, it is a site that is worth checking out regularly. If you can dig and sort through all the noise, there is plenty of other worthwhile content here as well.

Tomorrow: BostonHerald.com/sports.

Boston Globe Hires Shalise Manza Young as Patriots Beat Writer

After losing Adam Kilgore to the Washington Post, the Boston Globe didn’t waste much time in bringing on a new writer for the Patriots beat.

Shalise Manza Young, who has been the Patriots beat writer for the Providence Journal for the last few seasons, and has been at the paper for 15 years, has been hired to take Kilgore’s place.

Young announced the news on both Twitter and Facebook this afternoon. On the latter, she posted:

I am thrilled to announce that after 15 years I will be leaving the Journal and joining the Boston Globe as their Patriots beat writer…

Good hire for the Globe, and another blow to the ProJo, which has lost Tom E. Curran, Sean McAdam, Art Martone, Joe McDonald to competitors, and others to layoffs and buyouts in the last few years, and now Young to the Globe.

Young has had a pretty good offseason, being the first to report that Dean Pees would not be returning as defensive coordinator and that tight ends coach Shane Waldron would also not be returning in 2010.

Adam Kilgore Heading Down To D.C.

We’ll lead off this morning with the news that Boston Globe Patriots beat writer Adam Kilgore will be leaving the paper to go down to Washington D.C. and take over the Nationals beat for the Washington Post.

The move is said to be a personal one, rather than a professional one, as Kilgore is taking a job with his former paper, and in a place where he has some personal ties which make the move a good fit for him.

This is a blow for the Globe, as Kilgore has always been a rock steady performer, taking intelligent, reasoned stands, and staying away from the muck-racking which is more and more prevalent in his profession these days.

Now, on to the top links for today:

Wizards, Celts in swap talks – Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the two teams talking about a potential blockbuster trade.

NBC’s universal coverage will be hard to miss – Chad Finn will be among the Globe staff in Vancouver for the Olympics, and he previews the TV coverage in his media column today.

Busy time for Celtics call-in show – Bill Doyle talks to WEEI Celtics postgame host John Ryder about the current struggles of the team, and talks about his career in sports radio.

Red Sox have trucked a long way – Jon Couture notes that as absurd as “truck day” has gotten, it’s a good time to reflect just how far the Red Sox have come.

Mirror, mirror on the wall . . .  – Rich Levine with a detailed look at the Celtics problems, and how to fix them.

Some Celtics trade rumors don’t add up, but an Iguodala deal would make sense – Robert Lee looks through the various trade rumors and advocates a trade for the 76ers André Iguodala.

Hot Peppers talk needs cooling down – Tom E Curran says Patriots fans shouldn’t be getting hot and bothered over Julius Peppers.

After decades in the minors, Johnson looks forward to major role – Joe McDonald has former PawSox manager Ron Johnson looking forward to his first season on the Red Sox major league staff.

Bruins slip Lightning comeback – Stephen Harris reports on the Bruins 5-4 victory in Tampa over the Lightning.

Get to know the new look Red Sox – John Tomase has a position-by-position look at what the Red Sox should look like come opening day.

…and for the NASCAR folk – Wounded knee won’t bury Hamlin – Michael Vega has Denny Hamlin getting ready to race in the Daytona 500 with a torn ACL.

I also wanted to comment on a Boston.com Patriots blog entry this morning. Albert Breer happened to write this one, and while this is going to sound like I’m picking on Breer, he’s not the only one to spout this point of view. In talking about the franchise tag, and whether the Patriots will use it on Vince Wilwork – actually the post is titled Why is Wilfork not tagged yet? – Breer says the following in conclusion:

Remember, what players get upset about isn’t simply being tagged — It’s the violation of the spirit of the tag. The idea of the rule, in the first place, was to keep valuable players (namely, quarterbacks) from arbitrarily switching teams. But it’s become a way of holding players hostage for a year or two, and delaying their big paydays. It’s important, if this negotiation gets to the point where Wilfork must be tagged, a day that’s still likely to come, he doesn’t feel like that’s what’s happening.

C’mon. a violation of the spirit of the tag? Can you tell me the difference between the two scenarios? You’re either “keeping a valuable player” or holding them hostage (unfortunate choice of words, by the way.)

I’ve heard the “spirit of the tag” elsewhere. Do these people forget that this was a negotiated point in the CBA that the players agreed to? So did they agree to it, but never expect the owners to actually use it?

Looking at the other side, was free agency never supposed to be about players arbitrarily swtiching teams? Have they violated the spirit of free agency?

I’m always bemused when the media applauds players for treating things like a business, (Tony Massarotti has been adamant lately that if he was Tom Brady, he’d have no loyalty to the Patriots since he’s not from here, and this isn’t a good place to play and that he should go chase the money elsewhere.) but when a team makes a move within the rules to protect and hold onto a business asset, they’re holding them hostage – at millions and millions of dollars per year.

If the use of the tag really has turned out to be different from its original intention, it will be interesting to see if it is tweaked to be more specific as to its use. Is it changed to only include quarterbacks? Or specific positions (not kickers)?