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,
twothree 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.
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