Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Soccer in Newspapers: Why it is and Why it isn't Covered, Part I

Dear Aaron,

I just read an analysis on Climbing the Ladder, detailing soccer coverage in newspaper. It listed the amount of space soccer articles received. Someone made a comment about the great job the Washington Post does covering our sport.

I agree completely. If you look closely at papers, you'll find that it's usually one person at that paper who drives the soccer coverage. In the Wash Post case, it's Steve Goff. He's done a great job for years. It takes someone like him to speak up in editorial meetings and sell soccer to the editors.

When Jerry Langdon was the sports editor at USA Today (I guess more accurately, Gannett News Service), soccer was covered far more than it is now. You'll find people like Frank Del'Appa and that other guy (I'll think of his name soon) in Boston, Grahame Jones in LA (if he's still writing), Jody Meachum in San Jose (not sure if he's still there) and others around the country that have parlayed their love of the game into a nice career covering soccer.

Much of the time, papers have Olympic Sports writers. Not only do these people cover major soccer events, but they cover things like gymnastics.

These guys form a nice little group in soccer pressboxes around the country and around the world during major tournaments. Unlike the rest of the "reporters" that fill the rest of the seats in soccer pressboxes, these guys care about soccer and do a good job writing about it.

The rest of the guys ... I'll write about them later. But one comment I'll never forget. "The best thing about soccer is you don't have to pay attention to write about it." That will give you an idea about the people papers send to cover soccer.

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