ACCSports.com has posted an excellent piece on the media coverage of the UNC scandal. I donâ€™t have much time to break it down right now, but wanted to get it up for the rest of you to get going with it â€“ click here for article.
Thereâ€™s a belief among many who wear colors other than Carolina blue that the local media has dropped the ball in its reporting of the multi-dimensional Tar Heel scandal.
And it might seem that way, considering how much of the news has been broken by Yahoo Sports and its Chicago-based correspondent, Charles Robinson, rather than by writers and reporters who are actually on the ground in and around Chapel Hill.
Itâ€™s a situation routinely blamed on a perceived media bias toward UNC.
N.C. State fans have been falling back on that one since the NCAA lowered the boom on Jim Valvano and the Wolfpack basketball program back in 1989.
But while itâ€™s true that there are a large number of UNC journalism school graduates working at news organizations throughout the state, there is an alternate explanation for why so much of the information about John Blake, Marvin Austin and the others is being generated by national, not local, sources.
There just arenâ€™t as many local sources with the budgets and manpower to devote to such a complicated story as there has been in the past.
A decade ago, mainstream newspapers from Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and perhaps even Fayetteville would have been swarming all over the scent of an NCAA probe into the highest-profile athletic department in the region.
Now only the Raleigh News & Observer, which has a combined staff with the Charlotte Observer, is actively investigating the Tar Heelsâ€™ mounting troubles. And even it has had to piece together its coverage in a non-traditional manner by juggling four writers with other responsibilities on the beat, instead of having one full-time reporter such as Robinson at Yahoo.
I donâ€™t argue the validity of this point. In fact, I think it is one of quite a few relevant â€˜explanationsâ€™ of what we have seen â€“ or shall I say havenâ€™t seen from the media.
Unfortunately for the â€˜mainstream mediaâ€™ this is a chicken and egg thing that is a direct result of their own doing.
I donâ€™t doubt that their resources have thinned through the years. This has happened precisely BECAUSE of the kind of bias and selective application of standards that are represented by exactly what NC State fans experienced and cite from the Frank Daniels-Claude Sitton-Mickey McCarthy witch hunt of NC Stateâ€™s Basketball program and Jim Valvano.
To put it bluntly, the traditional media â€“ and therefore the resources contained within â€“ are contracting because they have sucked for so long; they donâ€™t suddenly suck because their resources are constrained. If they had been doing a better job through the years then they wouldnâ€™t be in this boat. Instead of doing a better job when given the opportunity â€“ like on the UNC scandal â€“ they continue to behave in the exact manner that has created their contraction!
Then againâ€¦the very fact that the average newspaper/network news/mainstream media isnâ€™t smart enough to come up with this analysis and conclusion on their own is the very reason why they are in trouble.
Of the 25 biggest newspapers by circulation, only The Wall Street Journal, owned by News Corp., and The Dallas Morning News, owned by A.H. Belo Corp., posted weekday gains. The Journalâ€”the nation’s largest newspaper according to the ABCâ€”posted growth of 1.8%, with average daily circulation of 2,061,142. The Morning News grew 0.25% to 264,459.
The latest overall decline wasn’t as steep as the 8.7% drop seen in the previous reporting period, which ran from October 2009 through March of this year.
Circulation at U.S. newspapers continues to drop overall, with the exception of a few bright spots. Average daily circulation fell 5% in the six months that ended Sept. 30, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
As you can see from the previous statistic, the â€˜overall declineâ€™ of the â€˜mainstream mediaâ€™ is NOT universal. If you do a good job and give the people what they want â€“ you can succeed. There is a reason that Fox News continues to grow while the three major networks and CNN and MSNBC all contract. You donâ€™t have to like it; but it is reality. There is a reason why the Wall Street Journal continues to grow while 23 of the other 24 largest newspapers in the country continue a death spiral. If you do a good job, you can differentiate yourself and attract readers. If you donâ€™t; you face extinction.
For a whole lot more discussion on dozens of topics right now, we would encourage you to click here to surf our very active message forums where this little ditty on the demographics of US newspapers was coincidentally posted just the other day.