After almost six years of publication, we continue to discover what motivates people to read, and to react. Good news always plays better than bad.
Wednesday of this week will mark the sixth anniversary of the debut of Press Pros Magazine.com on August 10, 2010, a fact that will undoubtedly go unnoticed by most…if not all. And that’s fine, accepted.
For media, I’ve found, is something that’s grossly taken for granted, anyway.
We’ve come to believe that Sports Center will always be on daily at 6 pm.
That Meet The Press will air every Sunday at 9 am.
That Mike Hartsock will be on Channel 7 every day at 6:25 pm. But look again, if you haven’t lately. Actually, he’s not!
That your daily newspaper will always be there on your doorstep at 7 am, or 5 pm. But alas, daily newspapers have replaced the bald eagle on America’s endangered species list. Cost cutting has led to consolidation, which has led to streamlining, which compared to competition by social media, has led to competitive disadvantage. And to the market served, how DO YOU keep up with the Joneses?
Press Pros has been fortunate, though, in following the 60-year-old model of Sports Illustrated, that of finding the most compelling events to cover, and simply writing what you see with the best talent available. And like SI when it debuted way back then, we’ve found that glass is usually half full relative to acceptance…and just as often, half empty. For years people complained that they (SI) snubbed Ohio State…or the Reds during the Big Red Machine era. Just read the “Letters” page on SI now. There is no swaying those who see fact with a different focus, regardless of who writes it.
We hear it all the time…that you cannot lose when you have a Hal McCoy, Greg Hoard, or Bruce Hooley cover a story or topic. Think again.
For years Hal labored under a cloud of rebuke from Reds owner Marge Schott, and hall of famer Joe Morgan, both of which took exception to Hal’s opinion of the facts. In Schott’s case, that scouts really did matter to the future success of the organization; and with Morgan, that his days as a Reds had come to a crossroads before Morgan was willing accept it.
Hoard was one of Indiana’s most talented basketball writers on his way to being beat writer for the Reds and later TV anchor for WXIX, Channel 19, covering the gamut of Hoosier hoops from high school to Bobby Knight at the pinnacle of his success. But he also came to a point of giving up the emotionalism that too often comes with covering the prep kid next door. He found that even a glass half full was never enough!
Hooley has been villified for years in Columbus because he dared tell the truth about Jim Tressel, leading too many to believe that it was his consistent reporting of facts past and present that led to Tressel’s dismissal as coach of the Buckeyes. He’s frequently called a “Buckeye hater”. That’s not true, of course. And history now shows that Tressel set his own course in action, a fact that many still fail to believe and accept.
But still, there are many who appreciate reporting as it pertains to either the facts, or a fresh and different perspective. Many write, or comment, to us that while they don’t always appreciate what we post, “You guys are at least honest,” as daily reader Joe B. frequently writes.
Read this week’s “Reader Speaks” column and consider those who share that regardless of the facts that point to the dangers of playing football, still they’d rather believe otherwise, or not hear it at all. This was what we learned from our recent column on the movie Concussion and head trauma in football.
Others wrote that our view was in step with the modern pursuit of the facts, consistent with the knowledge and science regarding diabetes, Alzheimers, and even cancer.
In a recent episode of the ESPN show The Sports Reporters, the discussion was central to the question of whether the future of sports reporting, or reporting of any kind will be predicated on what people want to hear, as opposed to reality. Time will tell, I guess. But if you’re looking for a clue consider that there are those who will refuse to accept anything negative about Hillary Clinton…even if they found her basement full of dead bodies.
Likewise, there are those who are so dedicated to Donald Trump that nothing he says can possibly discourage them. HE IS THEIR VOICE!
And this is what six years of Press Pros has proven, on a smaller, local, scale. “Good” news is read and appreciated…complimented. If the news is “bad” don’t divulge the name of the one who dropped the touchdown pass or missed the free throws. Keep it positive, optimistic. Don’t dwell on a lopsided score, and if at all possible make sure to say that the fact of losing is always trumped by good effort and sportsmanship. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to add, too, that both teams deserved to win.
Historical perspective: Mark Twain (and no one finds fault with Twain because he’s been dead for 116 years) once wrote, “An optimist is simply a dreamer more eloquently spelled.”
My grandmother used to say, “Always say something good if you can.”
I don’t recall Hal McCoy or Greg Hoard ever mentioning their Grandma. And there might be a reason for that.