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Post Executive Editor on Redskins coverage

This sort of item is more overplayed than a Matt Schaub pump-fake, but a few of you might be interested.

As you know, I have relentlessly argued that even though it might seem absurd, The Post just can't cover the Redskins too much. The Redskins Insider has been Sports's most read blog for something like 13,979 of the last 14,000 days. Very often, it's the most read blog on the entire WaPo site. Last week, 11 of the top 14 non-blog sports items on our site had to do with the Redskins. (That's a real stat, unlike the 14,000 one. And it would really be 12 of 14, depending on how you classify the Portis/Ines Sainz story.)

Still, the complaints regularly roll in, that we're doing a disservice to our readers, etc. etc. One of those complaints rolled in to Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli's Monday chat:

Kensington, Md.: I should preface this by saying that I love sports, and have been following the Redskins since Sammy Baugh's last year. But nevertheless....

Yesterday the Post assigned seven reporters to cover one Redskins game, and that's not counting Wilbon, who I'm sure will chime in later. It also had reporters traveling to New York to cover the Jets, to Cincinnati to cover the Ravens, and to Dallas to see what the Cowboys were up to.

[Edit: Wilbon was not at the game. By my count, it was Rick Maese, Jason Reid, Barry Svrluga, Paul Tenorio, Gene Wang, Thomas Boswell, Tracee Hamilton, Matt Vita, John McDonnell, Jonathan Newton, Ricky Carioti and I. So make it five reporters, two columnists, two three photographers, an editor and a blogger. Also, we had no reporters in Cincinnati or Dallas; those were wire stories.]

At what point can an objective observer read Andrew Alexander's weekly laments about staff reductions, buyouts, and financial woes, and begin to think that something just doesn't add up?

This is a "national" paper that doesn't even bother to maintain a New York or Los Angeles bureau any more, and yet for about five months a year you still manage to give more coverage to a perennially losing football team than you do to the President of the United States.

Are your readers really so provincial that they force the Post into such a completely wacko sense of priorities? Am I the only one who notices this? Are you even aware of the question?

Marcus Brauchli: Yes, we're aware of the criticism that we give too much attention to football in general and the Redskins in general. We've actually trimmed slightly the amount of space we dedicate in print to the Redskins over the last several years. But the team remains hugely popular in Washington and with our online audience. The columns and blogs we publish about the Redskins are among the most widely read on the site every day. The team draws the biggest crowds of any regular event in the city. And the narrative of the Redskins franchise in recent years has been so remarkable--a series of coaches and high-profile players, a pattern of dramatic, last-minute endings to key games, a strong-willed, determined, billionaire owner--that it's really an irresistible story for a metro paper like The Post.

It's worth pointing out that we do cover other sports in this town closely, too. Our coverage of the Capital's remarkable last season and of the Nationals' attempts to build the franchise have been central for our readers. We take pride in our sports department, which does outstanding work across teams and sports.

What about the Wizards?????!!?!?!?!??!??!

No, seriously, that's about the same way I'd answer that question, although I'd be less tactful. I'm a fairly educated chap, and I know that I should spend more time reading about health care than about Trent Williams's toe, but that's just not going to happen. If The Post product can be some mix of broccoli and cheap processed donut bites, I think that's best both for readers and for our business. As for choosing between various flavors of cheap processed donut bites, here represented by our various sports teams, call the Redskins chocolate. Everyone always like chocolate best. Sure, you might mix in a blueberry cake here and there, but you always have to load up on chocolate.

By Dan Steinberg  | September 20, 2010; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Caps, Media, Nats, Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sam Huff and the overtime rules
Next: Gary Williams, the Redskins and optimism

Comments

I've resigned myself to the heaps of Redskins coverage. Not worth getting upset over.

But this is: "Our coverage of the Capital's remarkable last season and of the Nationals' attempts to build the franchise have been central for our readers." Mr. Brauchli, must you continue to the slow and painful death of the English language?

Posted by: RedBirdie | September 20, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

He was doing fine until he referenced, "a strong-willed, determined, billionaire owner."

If I was asked to list adjectives to describe Dan Snyder, I would be on page 4 before I hit "determined."

Posted by: disgruntledfan | September 20, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"The team draws the biggest crowds of any regular event in the city."

What a jackass. As if Caps games had 90,000 capacity but just can't attract a big enough crowd to fill the seats.

Posted by: Langway4Eva | September 20, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Actually Langway that statement is true. It DOES draw the biggest crowds of any regular event in the city (or representing the city).

And (even as a Caps fan) I do not think the Caps could pull 90,000 to any game they have, even if they had the capacity.

Posted by: fushezzi | September 20, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Of course, my principal objection to all that redskins coverage lies in my preference for dc united. To be fair, Goff does a terrific job, but his work sometimes gets buried beneath the far more boring topic of the Deadskins. Also, you have put in a number of good words, as has Tenorio.

Posted by: phburris | September 20, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

My principal objection to all that redskins coverage lies in my preference for dc united. To be fair, Goff does a terrific job, but his work sometimes gets buried beneath the far more boring topic of the Deadskins. Also, you have put in a number of good words, as has Tenorio.

Posted by: phburris | September 20, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I met Marcus in April at a meeting and he seemed like a smart dude. This statement reconfirms that finding.

Try living in Atlanta and only having the Atlanta Urinal-Constipation as your newspaper source. They cover NOTHING sports-wise outside of the immediate area. And as for their other stories, they aren't very robust either.

As a Metro DC native I am thankful that I have access to The Post even though I've moved away. And frankly, I still turn to The Post when breaking stories are happening as I know their coverage will be the most accurate out there.

Oh, and Hail to the Redskins!

Posted by: cgerrits | September 20, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

My principal objection to all that redskins coverage lies in my preference for dc united. To be fair, Goff does a terrific job, but his work sometimes gets buried beneath the far more boring topic of the Deadskins. Also, you have put in a number of good words, as has Tenorio.

Posted by: phburris | September 20, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I think lost in this is the fact that the Redskins writers are great writers--critical, insightful, and entertaining writers. It's not crap that's being put out.

Professional sports bring people together. When I wear my Redskins jersey around town, people of all colors, walks of life, etc that may not normally have a reason to interact w/ me on a daily basis stop and chat, banter on, high-five, etc. This is good for humanity.

Posted by: noahjacobs | September 20, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Biggest crowds? Sure. Total butts in seats over the season? They're 3rd. Both are equally misleading statements.

Sort of like saying that the Post has "actually trimmed slightly the amount of space we dedicate in print to the Redskins over the last several years" while not mentioning that they have taken a hatchet to the rest of the sports section...

Whatever. The numbers and budget issues are what they are. But maybe the fact that the Post and it's employees so often find themselves having to justify all of the Skins coverage to Caps, Wiz and Nats fans who feel under-served should be telling you something too.

Posted by: tha_prophet | September 20, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I actually liked the way he described Snyder. It's about the most objective, least venom-filled comment made by a WaPo staffer about Dan Snyder in years and years.

Obviously the guy is "determined." That's not debatable. You don't go from rags to riches, from having no tv as a kid to becoming a billionaire, by being undetermined.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 20, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

the great thing about newspapers, especially online, is that you can skip the articles that don't appeal to you. so if you don't like all the redskins coverage, don't read/click on it. if enough like minded folks do the same then there will be less coverage.

besides, there really isnt much else going on in DC sports right now. yes, the caps are in training camp but are still a few weeks from playing the regular season. i think the post is providing pretty good coverage (online anyway) of camp so far.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"The team draws the biggest crowds of any regular event in the city."

Here's a regular event that draws bigger crowds - the Fourth of July fireworks. Happens regularly, every year. And unlike the Redskins, it's actually IN the city.

Given that the Redskins practice in Loudoun County and play in PG County, one wonders why the Post hasn't turned all its local coverage of those areas over to the Redskins in order to boost circulation. And since it would appear that the only time the Redskins ever actually appear IN the city is while they're in transit, why isn't Dr. Gridlock on the Redskins beat?

Posted by: FeelWood | September 20, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"The team draws the biggest crowds of any regular event in the city."

Here's a regular event that draws bigger crowds - the Fourth of July fireworks. Happens regularly, every year. And unlike the Redskins, it's actually IN the city.

Given that the Redskins practice in Loudoun County and play in PG County, one wonders why the Post hasn't turned all its local coverage of those areas over to the Redskins in order to boost circulation. And since it would appear that the only time the Redskins ever actually appear IN the city is while they're in transit, why isn't Dr. Gridlock on the Redskins beat?

Posted by: FeelWood | September 20, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I have zero problem with the amount of 'Skins coverage in the Washington Post. What I take issue with is the repeated slant that is stamped upon every comment or quote.

DeAngelo Hall, a competitor and without question our top CB, gets irritated with a defensive mishap that costs us the game, and expresses displeasure over being confined to one side of the field rather than taking on the opponent's receiver. The newspapers that cover any of the 31 other NFL teams would probably laud such fire, and given the story a small blurb with the heading "Hall Speaks Out, Wants to Lead Defense." What does the Post publish wide and bright on the front page of their Online Redskins Page?

"HALL GOES ROGUE."

The Washington Post is obsessed with controversial Redskin stories, which there have been plenty of over the last several years. But when the fuel isnt there, or the team is simply tight-lipped over a situation, the Post gets creative.

This paper is the TMZ of Redskins Coverage, period.

Posted by: SuperSkin | September 20, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I've been a Redskins fan for over four decades BUT the local media including the Post goes way overboard when it comes to covering the team. Overkill doesn't begin to describe it.

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 20, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

People just love to complain. What's the issue here with items getting buried or oversaturation? Are newspapers still that tough to leaf through and fold back up neatly? Can one NOT avoid the Sports page?

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | September 20, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Aww man..or whatever in Kensington.. just SHUT UP already and resume the crank off position!!

Posted by: iubiquity | September 20, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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