Thursday, February 28, 2008

Need more proof Detroit's sports columnists blow? Just ask the Associated Press Sports Editors

A tip o' the hat goes to The Big Lead for pointing me in the direction of the Associated Press Sports Editors' writing and section contests. These are awards given to the best newspaper sports sections and sports writers in the country.

You'd think an important media market like Detroit would do well in such a competition. Detroit ranks as the 11th largest market in the US. In an era where 2 competing papers are becoming a rarity around the country, Detroit has 2 dailies with a full compliment of columnists. There's 4 pro teams and 2 Big 10 schools to cover. So wouldn't you expect Detroit based columnists to win some writing awards?

Yet when judged by their peers, not a single columnist from the Free Press or News received a mention. Most notably missing was the Little Fella, the Freep's star columnist, who used to win sports writing awards like so many Cracker Jacks prizes. It's to be expected when your column takes a backseat to TV appearances, a radio show, screen writing, and sappy fiction.

This is a city with a rich heritage in sports columnists, going back to Joe Falls in the 60's and 70's, and Mike Downey in the 80's, to the Little Fella, when he used to give a shit about sports (He lost his fastball a decade ago). It's a shame we are now stuck with columnists churning out some of the lamest, knee-jerk, reactionary, ill-conceived, under researched, contrary for the sake of being contrary columns you'd never want to read.

Look at some of the out and out crap we've seen spewed by the fishwrap's best and brightest recently. The was Drew Sharp's hack job on the Red Wings' Ken Holland, and his hilariously writing 2 polar opposite opinions over Michigan's recruitment of Terrelle Pryor within a 2 week period. Jerry "Tough Tomatoes" Green cluelessly defending the indefensible Matt Millen, and his clumsily calling your humble blogger out over a perceived, yet truthful, slight. Don't forget Lynn Henning's embarrassing public whining over Brandon Inge not returning his phone calls. Then there's the worst offender of all. I can't forget to mention the entire output of Rob Parker, the consensus worst columnist in America.

I'm just scratching the surface here, but our local columnists have been on a roll when it comes to churning out tripe.

There's only 2 columnists in Detroit worth reading, Michael Rosenberg of the Freep and the News' Bob Wojnowski. But their output is far from being consistently good. Rosenberg too often goes for the funny (with varying degrees of success) than giving any actual opinion or analysis, and Wojo is so wrapped up in playing the dumb guy in his radio career, that his News column suffers for it.

According to the AP sports editors, there are is some quality coverage going on at out local fishwraps, it's just not coming from the columnists.

Even though the "stars" were ignored at award time, the Freep and News did have some winners, thanks to their reporters. Jon Paul Morosi, who's been often praised by TWFE, was one of the winners in the "Game story" category. Jo-Ann Barnas, Shawn Windsor and Mark Snyder won in the "Breaking news" category.

The Freep received an honorable mention in the 250K circulation category for their Sunday sports section, and a Top 10 in "Special," whatever that may be. The News won for their daily sports section in the 100K - 250K circulation category, and an honorable mention in "special." (I had no idea their circulation had dropped to that level)

The fact local reporters were honored for their grunt work, along with the sports sections as a whole, makes the columnists being snubbed all the more glaring.

Then again, news of our local columnists being shut out by the APSE shouldn't be surprising when outright hacks like Rob Parker and Drew Sharp, and washed up used-to-be's like Jerry Green, are gainfully employed by our local fishwraps.

1 comment:

  1. Can't say for sure Al without looking at the rules -- we don't even enter the contest -- but I'd guess the special section means something like a season preview section.