Ryan, Gammons, Shaughnessy, Lynch Honored by NSSA

Peter Gammons has been inducted in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, while Bob Ryan has been named sportswriter of the year for the third straight year. Dan Shaughnessy was named the Massachusetts state sportswriter of the year.

John Madden was inducted to the Hall along with Gammons, and Jim Nantz was named national sportscaster of the year,  his fifth award.

Elsewhere in New England, Mike Lynch was named the MA sportscaster of the year. In Rhode Island, Steve Hyder and Steve McDonald shared the sportscaster of the year award, while Joe McDonald was the sportswriter of the year. In NH, Mike Murphy is sportscaster of the year and Allen Lessels is sportswriter of the year. In Connecticut, Kevin Nathan and Jeff Jacobs were honored, In Maine, it is Clem LaBree and Rich Kimball on the sportscaster side and Peter Warner on the writing side. Finally, in VT, George Commo and Ted Ryan received the awards.

Get the full list here:

Gammons, Madden Earn 2009 NSSA Hall of Fame Inductions (Sports Media News)


Tom Curran Says Farewell to PFT, Hello to CSNNE.com (Updated)

In a blog post this afternoon on ProFootballTalk.com, Tom Curran said good-bye to that site, and announced officially that he is heading over to Comcast SportsNet New England where he will be covering the NFL and the Patriots for the new CSNNE.com, which I’m hearing is set for an official launch on Monday, November 2nd.

I had gotten a few emails this week asking why Michael Felger’s columns and Patriots Report Card were not on the CSNNE site this week, and I’m told that they were just sort of re-organizing and getting caught up before the official launch.

So it looks like the lineup for the site will be Felger and Curran with Sean McAdam and Kevin Paul Dupont said to be soon coming aboard, and Art Martone editing. They will also be hiring a Celtics writer.

That’s a pretty good lineup.

Update: I’m hearing now that Dupont is staying at the Globe. As I mentioned in an earlier post, leaving the Globe, where he had been since the 1970’s would’ve been a huge leap for Dupont. I’m not surprised he’s remaining put.

Purcell: Herald To Charge For Online Content

Back in August, I had a post about the Boston Globe planning to charge for online content sometime in the near future.

It looks like the Boston Herald has similar plans.

Purcell: Herald, other papers will soon charge for online content

Earlier this decade, the Herald had a policy where access to columnists and feature writers was the only content that you had to pay for. It didn’t work. As Herald owner and publisher Pat Purcell acknowledges in that article, the paper received many complaints about that policy.   If they put all their content (including sports coverage) under paid subscriptions, I think that sports fans are simply going to go elsewhere for their sports information.

Sites like ESPNBoston.com, WEEI.com and CSNNE.com will see their numbers jump up should the Globe and Herald go the pay route.

Purcell disagrees: “There are people who really love the Herald and will pay for it, the way they pay for cable and satellite radio.”

Would you pay to read the Herald online?

Globe Fills Reiss Hole By Hiring Albert Breer

albert_breerWhen The Boston Globe lost Mike Reiss to the new ESPNBoston.com a few weeks ago, it was a huge blow to the football coverage in the paper and especially on Boston.com.

Multiple sources have told BSMW that The Globe has made a strong move towards filling that hole by hiring Albert Breer away from The Sporting News, where he was a national NFL writer for them. At this point I’ve been unable to get a confirmation from Breer, but the sources I’m using have been impeccable in the past for these sorts of things.

This actually isn’t the first time Breer has followed Reiss into a role. When Reiss left the Metrowest Daily News to go to the Globe, Breer was the one who took his place, and made a name for himself with his analytical style of reporting. During the time the MWDN and the Boston Herald were sharing content and the-then Point After blog, Breer was quite prominent in that space.

Before the 2007 season, Breer was hired by the Dallas Morning News to work the Cowboys beat, and after a season there, moved to the national beat with The Sporting News before the 2008 season.

Though he has been a national guy for the last year plus, Breer has stayed local, living in the area, and appearing on local media outlets regularly.

Though I haven’t been able to confirm just yet, the lineup I’m hearing the Globe will trot out for the Patriots will have Adam Kilgore moving over from the Red Sox  to serve as the Patriots beat reporter, Breer as the NFL columnist, and Chris Gasper will move to the role of online columnist…similar to what Tony Massarotti has been doing.

Update: Adam Reilly has a copy of an email that Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan sent this morning, which confirms all my information above, plus welcomes Gary Washburn and Peter Abraham to the paper, and notes that Monique Walker will be working with Breer and Kilgore on the Patriots beat and Julian Benbow will be working with Washburn and Frank Dell’Apa on the Celtics beat.

Friday Ramblin’s

Mixing things up a little bit this Friday, rather than full links, we’ll jump around a little bit.

Patriots Daily is giving you what you need for Sunday’s Patriots/Falcons game. Weekly features like Worry Wart by Chris Warner, Trading Places – a chat with the Falcoholic blog and First Impressions get you warmed up for Sunday. Later today the Buffet Table and Matchups should be posted.

With an NFC opponent coming into town, FOX has the game on Sunday, however, if you live in certain parts of New England that happen to lie close to New York, you’re going to get the Giants game instead. Check Patriots Daily tomorrow for the weekly media notes feature. Check PatriotsLinks.com for all the stories today in the papers.

FOX also has the Red Sox/Yankees game on Saturday. So it’s a big weekend for Butch Stearns and crew.

One story that was kicking around yesterday was the news (first reported by Sports Business Daily) that the Kraft Sports Group has entered a business relationship with ESPNBoston.com to sell ads on the site. Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com was apoplectic at the news, calling it “one of the most blatant and obvious conflicts of interest we ever have seen.” A bit of exaggeration there, for sure. This is sports. What kills me about how Florio handled this was his followup post nearly 12 hours later on the subject. He admits that ESPN got back him on his questions in the morning, yet he waited all that time to post the reply…because he didn’t have time. Yet, he had time to personally post15  items in between the two ESPNBoston items.

It seems more likely that Florio let the item sit on his site, knowing it was a hot topic, (83 comments and counting) and wanted to milk it as long as he could before posting the ESPN followup later at night. I can’t really fault him for this…it’s good website business. Keep those pageviews coming in. But Mike, don’t say you didn’t have time to post the followup. That’s lame.

Locally, Jenn Abelson in the Globe writes about potential conflicts of interest in the deal. That’s all well and good, and a legitimate concern to bring up. However, how in the world can the Globe not disclose in that article that they themselves are in a similar conflict, with their (for the moment) parent company also owning 17% of the Red Sox? Inexcusable.

My boy Chad Finn makes the same misstep in his media column today. He starts out with quotes from Tim McCarver on Red Sox/Yankees and Troy Aikman on Patriots/Falcons, and then dives into the ESPNBoston/Kraft Sports Group potential conflict of interest without mentioning the Globe’s situation. He describes the news partnership as starting off on “dubious journalistic ground.”  Sure, I think that most people are by now aware of the 17% but I find it a little hard for the Globe to be critical of ESPNBoston in this instance. 

Elsewhere, in real sports, Sean McAdam breaks the news that Jon Lester, not Josh Beckett, will get the game one start in the postseason. I’m shocked that the Red Sox failed to consult Glenn Ordway on this. He spent hours yesterday telling us it was a no-brainer that Beckett would get that honor.

Dom Amore tells us that this Red Sox/Yankees series is a bit more laid back.  Bill Burt tells us that a Red Sox/Yankees postseason series could come down to Daisuke Matsuzaka and Joba Chamberlain. Check RedSoxLinks.com for all the stories today.

Jessica Camerato has a nice piece on new Celtic Shelden Williams, who is married to WNBA superstar Candace Parker. 

It sounds like Gerry Callahan is going to be making an appearance on the Big Show this afternoon, at least that’s what was stated a number of times on the WEEI morning show today, hosted by Butch Stearns and Greg Dickerson. John Dennis is undergoing surgery this morning, and apparently will be out to at least start next week. At the end of the morning show, Dickerson said that Callahan would be back in the morning on Monday.

If you’re able to, I highly, highly recommend checking out Showtime’s Full Color Football series. It’s a history of the AFL, and is simply tremendous. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Peter Abraham Joining The Boston Globe

pabrahamPeter Abraham, who covers the Yankees and writes a very good blog for The Journal News of the Lower Hudson Valley (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam) in New York, announced today on his blog that he is leaving to come join The Boston Globe:

So here it is: I’m leaving The Journal News after nearly 10 years and going to work for The Boston Globe.

I’ll be covering baseball — yes, the Red Sox — and blogging for Boston.com. The Globe approached me in August, right around the time my newspaper was going through some painful restructuring that you all heard about.

Abraham is a native of New Bedford, MA, and went to UMass-Amherst. He’s covered the Yankees for The Journal News since 2005, and spent four years prior to that covering the Mets. Before coming to New York in 1999, He covered the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team for the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin.

In an old blog entry, he tells a story of his first experience covering a Major League baseball game:

My first job in journalism was as a part-time writer for the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times. As a reward for taking phone calls and covering high school swim meets, I got to cover a Red Sox game. They lost, as they often did in those days, and I asked manager John McNamara why he didn’t use Dwight Evans as a pinch hitter.

McNamara asked where I was from then told me to get the (bad word) out of his office. Being a kid, I walked out.

I went on to cover mostly college sports and didn’t get back into baseball until I started at The Journal News in 1999 and got the Mets beat a few years later.

Other publications Abraham has written for include Baseball America, Slam, Basketball Digest, Sports Illustrated, Sports Nippon, Metropolitan Golfer, Basketball Times and Backstreets.

Fred Cusick Passes Away at 90

The Bruins Blog on Boston.com is reporting that Fred Cusick, former play-by-play voice of the Bruins has died this afternoon at the age of 90.

Though best known for his Bruins calls, Cusick also was an analyst for the first ever Patriots game, and served as the PA announcer at Fenway Park for two years, and did a famous 1963 interview with Francis Ouimet – winner of the 1913 U.S. Open and subject of The Greatest Game Ever Played.

All of this and more was chronicled in his book, Fred Cusick – Voice of the Bruins, which I reviewed back in 2007.

His death comes just one day before he was to be inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. It also comes on the same day that a recent interview with Cusick by Emily Sweeney was posted on Boston.com.

Gary Washburn Set To Replace Spears at Globe

Late Saturday night, former Boston Globe basketball writer Marc. J. Spears posted the following on Twitter:

Congrats to ex-Sonics writer Gary Washburn, a former LA Daily News colleague of mine, for replacing me at The Boston Globe to cover the NBA.

gary-washburnI haven’t seen anything official in The Globe, or on Boston.com, but we’ll take Spears at his word for this one.

Washburn was formerly the beat writer covering the Seattle SuperSonics for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Neither the team (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) or the newspaper (now online only) exist any longer. Washburn was with the paper from 2005 to 2009.

Prior to his time in Seattle, Washburn worked from 2002 to 2005 for MLB.com, covering the Baltimore Orioles. He also spent four years (1998-2002) covering the Oakland A’s for the Contra Costa Times and five years (1993-1998) covering the Clippers and Lakers for the Los Angeles Daily News. While at the Contra Costa Times, Washburn also wrote a TV/Radio column.

Since May of this year, Washburn has worked as a blogger for AOL Fanhouse, covering mostly the Pac-10. He’s also been maintaining a personal sports blog – Gary Washburn’s Sports Blog.

We’ll be on the lookout for the official announcement.

Boston Globe/Boston.com To Charge Online Readers

According to a report in the Boston Herald this morning, you will soon have to pay in order to read The Boston Globe and Boston.com online.

There have been a lot of rumblings recently that more and more newspapers and news outlets are going to attempt to raise their falling fortunes by limiting access to their online work and charging readers a fee to access and read it. An Associated Press (another news agency looking to get more protective of their content) article this morning reports that News Corp.’s newspapers will also soon be charging for content. 

While I can see that their logic in not wishing to keep giving away their content and work for free, I have my doubts as to whether this is going to be successful.  The AP article above has Rupert Murdoch pointing to the Wall Street Journal and WSJ.com as a successful model for paid content that the rest of News Corp. will be trying to emulate.

I’d say there’s a bit of a difference between the content of the WSJ and The New York Post, another News Corp. outlet. You need to have content that’s worth paying for. If you don’t buy the paper are you going to pay for the privilege of reading Dan Shaughnessy’s latest?

What I will be interested in seeing, should this come to pass, is whether all of Boston.com will be a pay site, or if you’re only going to be charged to read items that appear in the paper edition of the Globe. Will we have to pay to read Reiss’s Pieces? Chad Finn? Are you going to pay to read Boston Dirt Dogs?

Obviously, this will all have an impact on what I’m doing here at BSMW. Should I bother to put together links to all the newspaper stories if only say, 10% of the readers here can actually get to them? Do I need to start recapping articles in more detail, rather than posting the links? That might cause issues, if I pass along for free information that a reporter has gathered and his website is charging a fee for access to. Will the traditional morning links just become obsolete?

 Non-Newspaper related sites like WEEI.com, NESN.com and Comcast SportsNet could see their online content gain more traffic, assuming they remain free of charge to access. Team sites, like RedSox.com, Patriots.com and Celtics.com, which are already producing their own coverage and content, would also seemingly benefit should the local newspapers decide to start charging for content. Free, independent sites like CelticsBlog.com, PatriotsDaily.com and messageboards like the Sons Of Sam Horn  and PatsFans.com would also likely benefit from increased traffic as fans go to get their fix of information and sports talk.

Is what The Boston Globe is producing, specifically on the sports side, since that’s what we’re dealing with here, so exclusive and valuable that readers are going to pay, in this economy, to be able to read it, when they can get most of the same information for free from the above sources? I might consider paying something just for Reiss’s Pieces updates, but not a whole lot.

Much will depend on the price. If it were say, $19.99 for a year, people might go for that. Make that $19.99 a month, or a week, I don’t think so. Will they continue to fill the space with ads in addition to the subscription charge? Will they lower the cost of the print edition?

To me, there’s also a difference between news and sports. Most people saw the game last night, and know what happened. Most people did not see the latest business deal or homicide, or see MBTA GM Daniel A. Grabauskas resigning. Would they consider charging for news coverage, but not sports? Can they be that creative?

An article on News Futurist – Newspapers: 180 years of not charging for content makes the case that newspapers haven’t actually charged for content since the 1830’s and it’s not really practical to start doing it now.

Lately, I’ve been reading a great blog –  The Future of Journalism on Salon.com, written by King Kaufman, who has done a lot of sports writing, and Katharine Mieszkowski. They’ve written quite a bit on this topic, as well as the other issues facing newspapers and online journalism these days.

Update, Friday PM: – Here’s an AP story on the matter: Boston Globe ponders charges for online content

Two questions for you, the sports news consumer:

  1. Will you pay to read newspapers online, or will you look elsewhere for your sports news and updates?
  2. What should I do mornings at BSMW, if a subscription to the newspaper sites is needed to access the links?

WEEI and Globe Tear Down The Wall

With the threat of a well-funded FM competitor with a strong signal coming on the scene, WEEI and the the Boston Globe have apparently buried the hatchet:

WEEI announced today that the station and The Boston Globe have agreed that Globe sports writers will appear as guests on all WEEI talk shows, effective immediately.

“I think this is a great win for WEEI and the Globe,” said VP of Programming Jason Wolfe. “The Globe’s sports department has a deep tradition of exceptional coverage of the Boston sports scene and it is my pleasure to welcome them back to our airwaves. I know our listeners will appreciate their insight and expertise.”

Very interesting, indeed. Coincidence that his happens now? I don’t think so.

Update: Chad Finn posted the following on Twitter:

To clarify WEEI’s press release: Globe writers can be in studio/co-host for D&H, but call-ins only for D&C and The Big Show