What can I say—sports blogs are where I get most of my information. As the creator and main writer of a growing website, I guess my preference for blogs isn’t terribly shocking. As blogs grow and become a more popular (and accepted) source of information, we’re now starting to see the downside. With newspapers understandably struggling, it’s having the collateral effect of turning some of my favorite writers into unemployed writers. When the Dodgers chose to lay-off Tony Jackson, formerly of the Daily News, it just highlighted this concept in the cruelest of terms.
It’s obvious that the Daily News is struggling in LA—we’ve all known it for awhile. But now as Jackson moves on, yet another of the treasured “beat writers” for us fans is gone. It almost seems like newspapers are getting so distracted with the rise of various modes of technology, that they are forgetting that it’s this special access and insight that is the backbone of their industry. I could read about the Dodgers on 50 websites within an hour if I chose to. Some are better than others—some are funny, some are serious and some are a complete waste of bandwidth. But none of them have the access that newspapers enjoy.
I can honestly say if it wasn’t for the INSIDESOCAL section of the Daily News’s website, I’d have no reason to acknowledge the newspaper’s existence. Writers like Jackson for the Dodgers and Rich Hammond for the Kings are the only reason that I care about the Daily News in the least. In fact, it’s because of these two writers (and their blogs), that I have EVER purchased one of their newspapers. So in an odd way, their free blogs are the only reason that I ever gave money to the company. In such a bad economy and bad financial climate for the newspaper industry, you’d think they do anything they would to keep that $.25 coming in as much as they could.
What’s shocking is that the Dodgers are down to only TWO full time beat reporters that follow the team on the road. Dylan Hernandez still follows the team for the LA Times, while Ken Gurnick does the same for MLB.com. That’s it? By the way, neither of those reporters have their own blog like Jackson did—providing an insight into the clubhouse that was second-to-none among Dodger reporters. How is it that one of the most popular, most followed and most historical teams in Major League baseball can be left with only 2 beat reporters? In an era where we have more choices in just about every walk of life, it’s depressing to see us lose one of the best in an industry that already has far too few options.
Jackson’s too good to NOT land on his feet; it’s just a horrible loss for the Dodgers and their fans.