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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 01/14/2011

Leonsis expands on his relationship with The Post

By Dan Steinberg

I wrote a lot of words about this week's Washington Post-sponsored summit of D.C. sports owners, but the thing that likely got the most traction was Ted Leonsis's comments on the media.

"I think that there is no more steering wheel in the hand of The Washington Post," he said then. "I used to live in mortal fear about what you would write. Now, I don't care. I think it's something that you need to internalize: that we're our own media company...We're in the same business [as The Post]. When someone goes to find out something about me or a team or a player, and they go to Google and they type that in, I want to learn how to get the highest on the list, and I've done that. I don't want The Washington Post to get the most clicks. I want the most clicks."

Those comments got picked up by media site Poynter, by The Globe and Mail, and by the National Sports Journalism Center and by Wall Street Cheat Sheet, among others. And after I included his words in Friday's print edition of The Post, Leonsis responded, with a more nuanced 1,300-word exploration of the relationship between The Post and the Caps. Including the headline, he used the word "complicated" six times in the piece. This is sort of the key part:

There used to be one major outlet of communications to our fans and that was the Washington Post. I could meet with their writers and editors and talk all day but they got to choose what they wanted to write about. They could and do edit and create a headline and choose a photo and the message that was transmitted was not always the message that I thought was appropriate. And I also thought that we - at times - weren't getting our due in terms of coverage or space or interest. The more interest - the more fans - the more passion - the more tickets sold - the more growth of the sport. That is the cycle I believe in.

Hence I believed that a democracy of voices was more important to our community and that many views and many outlets - including my own - would add to the richness of presentation of our sport and how we were growing our sport and how we were talking about our teams. I also wanted to disintermediate the middleman and speak with an unfiltered and unedited voice.

Read the full thing here.

By Dan Steinberg  | January 14, 2011; 11:46 AM ET
Categories:  Caps, Media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bruce Allen explains "The Future is Now"
Next: Jason Campbell on the D.C. distractions

Comments

Go Ted - this is why the Bullets will be relevant one day and why he is a multimillionaire. WaPo is losing it's voice amongst the rabble and the rabble prefers it that way.

Posted by: KDSmallJr | January 14, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

This part of the rabble say GO WaPo! The beat reporters are paid to cover the team so they provide us with news from practices, etc. that most bloggers are not attending. I routinely look for tweets from Katie or updates on Capitals Insider to find out what happened at practice, what are the possible lines, etc. I do not want news about the Caps solely from the team.

Posted by: NovaCath | January 14, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Everything in moderation. All teams need to be covered by multiple sources. So many sides to every story. The competition is necessary and makes all media better. If it weren't other media coverage, the Sports Bog wouldn't exist. If the Sports Bog didn't exist, who else would transcribe all these local radio interviews and highlight Al Iafrate's skullet?

Posted by: dgreene78 | January 14, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Another big mouth. Hey *Ted*, if you put-together-a-good-team,
maybe you won't have to be preoccupied with spin. Does anyone recall so much worry over who-gets-heard-talking-about-us from Jerry Buss or Peter Holt? No, because the success of their franchise does the talking. Similarly, the success of the Redskins and Wizards speaks for their ownership and what they have accomplished. The media doesn't create that so shut up and take care of business!

Posted by: mhenrikse | January 14, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, mhenrikse. I completely agree. I can't believe that Ted hasn't turned around the Wizards in the like 10 minutes he's owned the team.

And yeah, the Caps, they suck. I hate sellouts and a national fanbase and a season where being one game out of first place in midseason is considered a major disappointment.

All hail Mhenrikse, master of leadership and communications.

Posted by: gocaps2 | January 14, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Ted is simply observing what has happened to American news media.

Don't think he has a personal grudge or vendetta against the Post -- or any other medium for that matter.

It used to be the major media helped set (and perhaps even control) the public agenda.

When Uncle Walter closed his nightly news broadcast with, "And that's the way it is..." we actually believed him -- to be telling the straight truth -- and minus all the editorial opinions, personal biases, and political spin.

Essentially, the facts would speak for themselves.

But how the world has changed in the many years since, and not necessarily for the better either.

The proliferation of media -- to include all of the social media we carry around with us-- has made everyone an instant "journalist."

And it has also allowed any number of entities to cut out the middleman between "officialdom" and the "public" -- while relegating most of the "real" journalists to sidelines.

And even those who have survived are now forced to swear allegiance to their political masters and corporate sponsors, lest they get cut out of the picture.

And Ted has mastered this better than most -- and profited accordingly.

Posted by: Vic1 | January 14, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"the message that was transmitted was not always the message that I thought was appropriate"

Another would-dictator who wants to control to control public speech.

Posted by: michaelmagnus9 | January 14, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Everything in moderation. All teams need to be covered by multiple sources. So many sides to every story. The competition is necessary and makes all media better. If it weren't other media coverage, the Sports Bog wouldn't exist. If the Sports Bog didn't exist, who else would transcribe all these local radio interviews and highlight Al Iafrate's skullet?

Posted by: dgreene78 | January 14, 2011 1:02 PM
---------------------------

Excellent post! I agree with you entirely, especially about Iafrate's skullet!

Posted by: eric22 | January 14, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Another would-dictator who wants to control to control public speech."

---

Yeah, that's exactly what he's saying.

"Hence I believed that a democracy of voices was more important to our community and that many views and many outlets - including my own - "

Perhaps if you didn't have major reading comprehension issues, you would know that the Post used to be the "Dictator."

That's why Ted is speaking to "The democracy of voices," he wants speech coming from multiple sources, rather than one (the post).

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 17, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

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