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What to Expect in '09

Jon DeNunzio suggested I post something on NJ about our plans for this season, and now seems as good a time as any. I've tried to share such info with this crowd in the past, but I haven't addressed the Orioles.

Simply put, we will not have a reporter covering the Orioles this season. We have a story-sharing arrangement with the Baltimore Sun, and we can use their coverage if we choose. We will continue to run separate game stories on the Orioles.

I know some of you advocated in favor of this action, in the belief that it would give us more resources to devote to the Nationals. I was against this action because I knew it would not; rather, we would simply lose the space and the travel budget money -- and the writer -- and alienate some long-time readers who have strong attachments to the Orioles. I especially hated to lose Marc Carig; Marc came here as an intern and I've never met anyone who wanted to be a ball writer more than him. Watching him develop during his time here was very gratifying. I'm pleased to say that he's covering the Yankees for the Newark Star-Ledger this season.

Further, our baseball space has been cut. The Nationals will have the same amount of space they've had in the past, but the AL and NL pages will be combined into one page. This is part of a larger space cut for the entire section (and the entire newspaper); not just baseball was cut, although sometimes it feels that way to, say, the baseball editor.

I should also add that we will not be covering the WBC, at least not much. With a limited travel budget, I'm more concerned about staffing the postseason and I think -- hope -- that our readers are more interested in October baseball than this faux tournament. (I say that because so many high-caliber players choose not to participate, and so many clubs refuse to allow players to participate, that it just doesn't seem to be a very valid competition to me.)

None of this is good news, but believe me, there is no good news in the newspaper business these days. I feel like a buggy maker about a decade after the first Ford rolled off the line. We are going through some ch-ch-changes, and I hope not all of them will be bad ones. I won't bore you with the details but I'm happy to answer what questions I can.

On a happier note, I hope to be able to announce the arrival of Lyla Sheinin very soon. (My hope pales in comparison to that of Dave and Amy Sheinin, however.) Dave will take about 10 days off and then head to Florida for a bit.

P.S. I asked Boz if he has his baseball-seamed shoes with him on this trip and he said, "Yes, they are on my feet."

Hey, someone asked...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 28, 2009; 2:40 PM ET
 
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Next: Boz's Sunday Column on Adam Dunn

Comments

Note to self: Encourage sons not to go into journalism.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | February 28, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the candid portrait. I've only had one problem with the coverage and that, on occasion, there isn't multiple reporters covering the news. For example, last year we had one story for both a double-header and draft day. It was too little. I hope on days where there is a lot of news, that coverage can increase with Sheinin or Bos helping with the story. This being said, the coverage with the Dominican Republic has been excellent especially with Svrluga down there.

Posted by: irishnat | February 28, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Our boys are getting creamed today. STL leading 8-0, top of the 7th.

On the other hand, think I heard Justin Maxwell make a Harris-ian play, reaching over the wall to rob a guy of a grand slam. Nice.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 28, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

No worries about the game regardless of the score. It's (pretty much) the Cardinals starters vs. our wanna-be's.

Detwiler looked bad, but God himself might look bad in his first inning of spring training.

Justin Maxwell: if the guy could just stay healthy, he'd be a near star, a guy who could hit .270-25-90 with 30 steals every year.

That said, he's been battling injuries since his days at Maryland.

I'm afraid he's another Nick Johnson and Alex Escobar, guys who - for whatever reason - just can't stay healthy.

And it's sad; Maxwell is probably one of the nicest and most decent guys in the organization.

Posted by: rushfari | February 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Soren, you are already off to a better start in the fatherhood department than my old man.

Posted by: chicoharlan | February 28, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Not surprised the paper is cutting back, it's better than cutting out like the Rocky Mountain paper a few days back. As far as the game....remember, it is just spring training. Results don't really matter, just fine tuning, like golfers on the range. Important to try to keep everyone healthy for the opener in Florida.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 28, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

WaPo should start charging to the blogs. I don't want to pay, but if it keeps our writers and papers afloat, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Make it like ESPN Insider, or Baseball America, or any of those sites that I'm sure many posters subscribe to already.

Dead tree editions are...well...going to die out. Keep the WaPo afloat and charge for some of the extra features.

Keep up the great job Tracee!

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 28, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your candid assessment and glad to know that Marc has landed well.
As a long-time O's fan, I recognize the state of the newspaper business, but the lack of coverage is still disappointing.
The O's look like they are (finally) turning things around.
Your AP stories thus far this spring have been awfully brief and underwhelming. Seems like you're treating the O's like any other baseball team as opposed to the home team for half (?) your readers.
The Sun content share seems a good idea - can that start sooner rather than later?

Posted by: JoeBagadonuts | February 28, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

The only problem with running Baltimore Sun coverage is that the Sun's future itself is not so secure. Outside of AP, will there be any print journalists left in a year or two to cover the Orioles?

Posted by: evwill | February 28, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for you straight forward, albeit gloomy approach in describing the "sports(Baseball) reporting" world. I and many of my friends look to you and your collegues to provide all those important things that we have no way of knowing about. Simply we don't know what life would be like without the wriien word. Thank you for all your efforts to keep us informed in these trying newspaper times.

Posted by: hoglander | February 28, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

NDelite:
Couldn't have said it any better - I'd consider a subscription fee for on-line content. In a way, it's like NPR - we get so much value from it, but so few of us actually ever step up & contribute to it.

Posted by: BinM | February 28, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi NattyDelite:

"Dead tree editions are...well...going to die out."

... I understand completely why you feel this way, and how the current situation reinforces such a prediction. However, having ingested more printer's ink than I can to divulge, and having been incredibly close to the newspaper business for more than forty years, I want to stress that while things may look bad now for the 'paper' newspaper, and while institutions such as the Post, the Sun, the Rocky Mountain etc. are in the throes of radical and sometimes hurtful change, the deep seated belief is that there has been and will always be a demand for the news in (news)print. I'm absolutely certain of that. I'm positive the future will look much different from what we imagine today - who knows, maybe sports reporting will go one hundred percent digital - but there WILL BE a paper copy. The demand for it simply will not go away.

... and now, if you will, would someone explain something to me about parental leave ( I assume that's what was inferred by Tracee's comments about Sheinen's time off). In Canada, parents have twelve months paid leave, to be divided up between them. After the perfect Miss Olivia was born last March, my daughter took nine months off from her job, then went back while my son-in-law stayed home for the next three months. What is the law surrounding such leave in the U.S.?

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"The only problem with running Baltimore Sun coverage is that the Sun's future itself is not so secure. Outside of AP, will there be any print journalists left in a year or two to cover the Orioles?"

If you Orioles fans are so worried about this, why don't you support the Baltimore Sun (i.e. buy its print edition, visit its website) instead of anguishing over the fact that the Washington Post is no longer doing the Baltimore Sun's job for you?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I am a Post subscriber, and wish that the ppaper had unlimited resources. If it did, I would want twice as much space and attention paid to the home team, and not to Baltimore. However, it is sad for the diehard O's fans that they lose the coverage.

Where does someone like Tracy Ringolsby go when the Rocky Mountain News dies? You would think another paper might take him, but here's betting he ends up with ESPN.com or SI.com.

Posted by: kevincostello | February 28, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"the deep seated belief is that there has been and will always be a demand for the news in (news)print. I'm absolutely certain of that. I'm positive the future will look much different from what we imagine today - who knows, maybe sports reporting will go one hundred percent digital - but there WILL BE a paper copy. The demand for it simply will not go away."

Not as long as the newspaper keeps giving all of its content away for free on the web and charging for it in print a day later, there won't be. As recently as last year, the Post's web content was a supplement to its print content. Now it's the other way around. Indeed there are days I never even look at the Sports section in the dead tree edition because I've already read every single word of it on the web. On top of that, the Post has raised its newsstand price to 75 cents (I remember not that long ago when it was a quarter) and its home delivery price as well. More money for less paper, day after day. It's as if they are trying to drive their print readers away - because they are. Sooner or later they are going to have to start charging for content on the web, but the question is will people pay for something that used to be free? Satellite radio thought they could get people to do that, but ask XM and Sirius how well that one has worked out.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 28, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I am going to miss Carig's coverage of the Os because he's a good writer. The Star-Ledger has very good NYY coverage, so I hope he gets to write about many losses.

I am tremendously disappointed about losing the 2 pages inside for league coverage and team notes. I thought it was vastly superior to the Boston Globe's presentation of MLB scores, for example. When I picked up the 35->50 cent fish wrap, that sheet of 2 pages, face to face, was what I spent the most time looking at. The combination of the game blurb plus the box score with added data, and the expanded room for league leaders and notes, was a superior presentation to even online links. To me, the big advantage paper has over on-line is that you are more apt to discover something unintentionally than you would if you only go to links that you already had an interest in.

If you are thinking of what you can cut from the spread, then I'd suggest perhaps dropping the large graphical presentation of the pitching matchups. That could probably be replaced by putting the pitchers, with records and ERAs (FIPs, for the pointy-heads!), next to a standard list of today's games. Maybe expanded leaders every other day for each each league, and just a top 5 in the triple crown and wins-ERA-saves for pitchers every day.

Do you plan on the Nats game story jumping to an inside page or to the last section page most days? Perhaps a column there could take some box scores, too. Do you plan on pushing people to look at WaPo.com for box scores?

I've got to say, there has to be a point of diminishing returns. At 35 cents, I did not kick myself if all I looked at were sports and bidness. Even at 50 cents, I would make it a point to pick up Wed, Fri, and Sat, for Pearlstein, Pearlstein, and general news, and would more often than not pick it up one or two more days and Sunday. Now that it is 75 cents, I don't usually set aside that much change overnight, so I don't pick it up hardly at all, maybe once a week, during the off-season. Baseball, with new, underreported news every day, would have had me step up more often. The old 2 page spread would have had me resume picking the fish wrap up every day. Now, honestly, I don't know.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I proudly boast that always advocated more baseball coverage not less and never begrudged the Orioles coverage and in fact enjoyed it. I regret that the coverage is being cut and am especially sad for anyone who lost their job or cherished position. Glad to hear that Marc landed in a good spot.

It is terribly sad when people argue for one thing (like no coverage of the Orioles) and we all end up with less than we had before. I never understood why it was such a big deal.

Anyway, I continue to be grateful for the baseball coverage we do have. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: natbiscuit | February 28, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

To answer some of your questions/comments:

I'd love to have two people on the Nats beat; that's been the tradition in most baseball cities. The chances of that are almost non-existent. I think our renewed emphasis on local as opposed to national (small n) news means we'll have Dave available to help more this year than in the past.

We haven't started using Sun content yet for space reasons. I'd rather have room to run gamers during the season than during spring training. I try to be conservative in January-February-March so we don't run out of space in August.

No plans to drop box scores. We were rattled to hear that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- which used to have one of the largest sports sections in the country -- has dropped all box scores from the four major leagues, except for the four local teams. On the other hand, box scores are available so many places on the web ... I think not running boxes would cost us a lot of subscriptions, so I hope we don't ever have to do that.

Parental leave: We have some, I can't recall how much. You can't take it while the other spouse is taking it, as I recall, so Dave could take some later in the year after Amy goes back to work. We'll see what happens with that.

As for Tracy Ringolsby, Dave has a little info here.

Posted by: traceeh | February 28, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Darn it, the link didn't work.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/baseball-insider/2009/02/the_dodgers_and_scott_boras.html

Posted by: traceeh | February 28, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

It is distressing what is happening to jounalism. Focus, for a moment, on the Jim Bowden story in the context of the new journalism (the blogs) versus the old journalism (the Post/Times). The blogs seemed to have Jim fired, a replacement identified, and the Commissioner being asked to waive the minority interview requirement. Harlan and Zuckerman reported what the old school journalism taught them to report; neither got ahead of the story.
It is distressing to think what our journalism is going to be with the growth of blogs and the demise of the newspapers.
At least as of now, the blogs do not have the financing to undertake serious indepth stories. Would a blog have sent Barry to DR? Would a blog even send a reporter travelling with the team. Keep in mind, one of the most successful blogs, the Huffington Report, still does not/cannot pay its bloggers.
The chage journalism is going through is among the most significant in journalism's history -- right up there with the invention of movable type.
If the coverage of the Jim Bowden story is any indication, there may well be rough patches ahead until the new journalism learns how best serve the public interest.

Posted by: Sidebar | February 28, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"If you Orioles fans are so worried about this, why don't you support the Baltimore Sun (i.e. buy its print edition, visit its website) instead of anguishing over the fact that the Washington Post is no longer doing the Baltimore Sun's job for you?"

Most of us have no way to support The Sun. The paper stopped regular distribution to Montgomery, Prince George's & Frederick counties. And while we certainly can visit the website, those visits don't do anything to subsidize the Sun or keep it in business.

Posted by: evwill | February 28, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a good time to use AP stories to fill in the gaps...especially with the WBC.

Tracee: Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

Posted by: imissrfk | February 28, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

big game tomorrow, imissrfk. gotta win that one!

Posted by: traceeh | February 28, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

i agree with nattydelite. id be more than happy to pay for blogs or some sort of exclusive content. i dont want to lose baseball space or carig but it is what it is.

Posted by: benshles | February 28, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Blogs are NOT journalism, new or otherwise. They are online diaries by folks who likely can't tell apart Walter Lippmann from Walter Johnson, if they even know who those two were. Some are better than others, but at the end of the day, there is not the policy, procedures, and professionalism that capital-J Journalism both entails and requires.

Posted by: Wooden_U_Lykteneau | February 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

@traceeh: we're not going to get swept by Fizzou.

Posted by: imissrfk | February 28, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Very sad to hear the future plans for the WAPO includes less Baseball coverage this coming season. However the NJ and the new layout for the on-line version of the Nats page is really great.

Box scores and game wraps in the old Black and White is "mothers-milk" for most of us old die-hards but...., things are what they are and it probably won't change anytime soon.

So the question is Mr.DeNunzio do the Redskins and the NFL get the same treatment? Hmmm..., didn't think so!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 28, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse


At least there won't be much to the coverage of the Nats this year. I doubt if they will win 60 games.

With the exception of Ted Leonsis, we have owners in the DC area who spend money foolishly or don't spend at all. Does the latter sound like the Nationals?


Posted by: mortified469 | February 28, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the coverage info, Tracee (and for the shoe and baby info). I never followed the O's, so I honestly won't miss seeing in-depth coverage of them. More generally, I'd rather read features and columns than box scores, as there are plenty of places to find the latter online, but that's just my own preference.

While I do realize that these are tough times in the industry, as a long-time subscriber, it is also disappointing to see the paper shrink as the cost rises and my income contracts. OTOH, I have this ingrained habit involving the sensory experience of holding a newspaper in my hands and perusing it as I sip my morning coffee.

On a larger scale, and to expand on sidebar's posting, I am also quite apprehensive about what would happen to journalism with the demise of newspapers and the rise of blogs (aside from blogs on sites such as this one, which are in a different class, IMO). Setting aside niceties such as writing ability and grammar skills, I really value the old-school application of journalistic standards that is found on blogs like this one, and the measured approach that is taken.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 28, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

News all of you can use:

Did anyone catch Dave Jaegler on MLB Homeplate XM-175 w/Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton around 4:30 this afternoon? I only caught the last few minutes of the interview and as usual most people outside of the area have no clue about the team or what it means to have baseball in DC. Dave made a great statement concerning attendence and the fan base, he basically said if the team wins they will grow the fan-base and that is the bottom line. If anyone else heard the whole thing and would like to share it would be appreciated.

MLB Network will be airing the Nats tonight on 30-30. Also if you are a Verizon FIOS sunscriber MLB Network is now available in HD!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 28, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

And while we certainly can visit the website, those visits don't do anything to subsidize the Sun or keep it in business.

Posted by: evwill | February 28, 2009 5:08 PM
-------------------
Actually, it does. Clicks mean revenue (well, as much as they are going to get what with the state advertising is in these days - which is why physical papers are shrinking while rasing prices). So, go, click.

Posted by: OldDude | February 28, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Tippy: I missed the XM bit with Dave today, which is disappointing. Sometimes on weekends, MLB Home Plate repeats their shows during the overnight hours, so I might put my XM in the record mode tonight and post any highlights of the interview in the morning.

Also, thanks for the reminder about the MLB Network show on the Nats tonight. I'm looking forward to it!

Posted by: BGinVA | February 28, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

On the news front, Olney and Rosenthal (per MLBTR) have the Royals signing Juan Cruz to 2 years plus an option, $6m guarantee with $3.5 if the option is exercised. Chose to give up a high 2d rounder to sign him (1st was protected). No sign and trade.

This really does leave only 3 names for bullpen help - Reyes, Beimel, and Ohman. None involve giving up a pick, altough Reyes would bump our pick down one slot as a Type B who refused arbitration. I'm astounded he's still out there.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 28, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Tracee,
Thanks for the frank update. I know it was difficult but all the decisions seem right to me.
Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | February 28, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Is there any way to watch the mlb Nats special if you don't get the mlb network?

Posted by: estuartj | February 28, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss something or is Maxwell hurt again, can't look at the blog at work like i used to new management at the job new boss not a baseball fan old boss was a Cardinal fan and we talked baseball year in year out oh well better be glad i got a job given the current climate.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 28, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I hope you guys know that I stopped my daily subscription to the Post because you kept cutting the things that I loved. You cut back on the sports coverage of baseball and the Nats. You cut back on Maryland Football. You stopped printing the daily races at Laurel and Pimlico. Then you cut the racing results. You cut back on the sports Columns. You even cut the Comics. So, whoever is running the show down there at the Post, your thinking is bass akwards. Ask yourself this. In the past 5 years did you increase Redskin coverage? If so, why? Because it sells papers. You can increase coverage on all the things I mentioned above and not offer it online, and I will buy a paper every day.

Posted by: 6thandD | February 28, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Maxwells not hurt as far as I know, WMP has a sore shoulder, but thats it on injuries thus far.

I has happy to see Wagner go a full inning today, anyone know what his velocity was like?

Posted by: estuartj | February 28, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Tracee,

Here's a cost-saving hint for the Washington Post Corp. (closing stock price as of Friday: $360.49). I believe roundtrip Metro fare Farragut North to Navy Yard is $2.70, give or take a rush hour fare. Why not "saturate" Nats coverage with two or three reporters (or columnists) a night, and leave all the advance Winter Olympics thumb-suckers out of the paper? Just asking...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | February 28, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmm.. Most recent post, Where Art Thou?

Posted by: djnrook | February 28, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Because we don't have the reporters or the room to run their work, even if we sent them. Space is budgeted, same as travel money. We WILL start doing more online-only stories as the year progresses (I'm talking about the entire section, not just baseball).

We've cut Olympics even more harshly than baseball.

Posted by: Tracee Hamilton | February 28, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

So WaPo pulled the post from Chico saying nothing was happening...technical error or change in status? Time will tell....

Posted by: estuartj | February 28, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

What the hell? Where did Chico's last post go?

My RSS feed says it started as follows:
Normally, Jim Bowden travels around Florida this time of year, watching his team. The Washington Nationals expected as much on Saturday, figuring they'd see Bowden slide into a choice seat at Roger Dean Stadium, in Jupiter, Fla., for the afternoon exhibition game against the Cardinals. But Bowden never showed. In sane times, this would raise no questions whatsoever; the GM is perfectly entitled to skip a two-hour road trip. These days, though, the no-show raises antennas. After the game, in a new low for journalistic self-dignity, I drove to Space Coast Stadium. (In fact, I'm here right now.) Bowden's office is on the fourth floor, overlooking the first base side of the field. The door is open. But he's not there. And his car is not in the parking lot. What does that mean? Well, probably that his day is already over -- and not because Kasten ordered it to

Posted by: sbiel2 | February 28, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Our 30 in 30 day has been pretty interesting so far.Dunn seems pretty cool and im glad that the commentators acknowledged our horrible injury situation last year.

Posted by: caese | February 28, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, now the "where Art Thou" post header has disappeared... I'm going with the lone gunman theory...

Posted by: OldDude | February 28, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, a bit of premature posting. I'll try to post a link to Chico's story as soon as it hits the website.

Posted by: Tracee Hamilton | February 28, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who suggest some sort of pay-for-play for Nationals coverage here at Nationals Journal.

Do like ESPN does; provide a good deal of free content for the drive-by sports fans and then offer detailed, in-depth coverage for us die-hards.

How much? I'd pay in the $5-$8 dollar per month range for scoops and behind-the-scenes information, maybe $10 if it's really good.

If the Post gets 1,000 people to suscribe, they'd gain $60,000 - $120,000 per year.

I don't pay for ESPN's insider (how much is that anyway?) because it is too general and only occasionally mentions the Nationals.

But for a 24/7 "all Nationals, all the time" content, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

But ....

That money would have to go directly to the sports department with the majority of it going to the Nationals.

For example, our school district takes all their federal dollars for the special needs kids and throws it into their general fund, using the money to buy bus tires and chairs and tables.

I'd balk if that money went to the Post's general fund, using it for purposes other than our baseball team.

Tracee, maybe you could put a poll on the NJ and see how many of us would be willing to "pass the hat?"

It might start a conversation with the uppity-ups at any rate.

Oh, and of course, 30% should go to raises for you and Chico.

Posted by: rushfari | February 28, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

rushfar -- interesting comments. The NYT tried pay-for-content and gave it up. I see the Hearst Corp. is thinking of trying it for some content. Newspapers are sort of trashing around; many say to charge for content but no one's made it work. (Wasn't it Salon that also tried and gave it up? Or Slate? My memory is going.)

I agree there would have to be a quid pro quo arrangement -- pay for Nats content, but get a second full-time person on the beat. Then, on a day like today, for instance, Chico could make the trip to Jupiter and the second beat guy could stay in Viera and check on Shawn Hill's arm and Nick Johnson's ... well, all of his limbs, etc. That would be GREAT.

Spring training: the time to dream...

Posted by: Tracee Hamilton | February 28, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

To make pay for content work you'd need a workable credit card agregation system. Subscription systems don't work, or at least none has thus far, but some models have shown that a pay for play system might work better. Say $.25 for a day access to the paper, or $.05 for an individual story.

Many people, myself included, just won't pay for a subscription to get monthly access to the twp.com, but I'd probably break down and pay a dollar to read Chico's story tomorrow about Jim Bowden's exit...you just need a system to bill that in a manner that convenient to the purchaser and financially viable for the provider.

Posted by: estuartj | February 28, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Tracee -- instead of hiring more writers to cover the Nats, why doesn't WaPo send interns out to cover them instead? If what they write is garbage, then you don't have to use it. Plus, it gives some college kids a chance to show their wares.

Natscan -- I believe most businesses here in the States offer 3 months for maternity leave. My wife and I adopted our daughter 4 years ago (as a newborn), but my wife's work didn't offer up maternity leave for adoption. She also wasn't allowed to use up any of her vacation time, so she used the Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), which assures her of a job when she takes the time off. Of course, this is unpaid time off, so that was a very difficult 3 months. Fortunately, my work did offer me 1 month of fully paid paternal leave, which I took after my wife's 3 months were up. Personally, I think it's an abomination if employers don't offer paid time off for folks that adopt children.

Posted by: erocks33 | February 28, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I really appreciate the opportunity for the dialogue about coverage, Tracee. Thanks for being open to it.

(and steven/fire jim bowden - no doubt the story you're so antsy about will turn up eventually)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 28, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

estuartj, that's exactly what I was thinking. I'd pay if WaPo charged ME per click like they do the advertisers.

For some reason, psychologically I'd feel resentful about paying, say, $25 just to login to the site, but clicking on stories or blog posts for .50 cents apiece that added up to $25 seems reasonable. They could have a little sidebar with a running tally of my daily clicks.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 28, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Glad you've stopped covering Baltimore's team. I turned away from the Post's baseball coverage in 2005 and started reading the Moonie paper when you surrounded our new team with coverage of an out-of-town club, which they didn't. Moreover, they provided much greater depth on the team than you did, especially with the farm system, reflecting something every successful business owner knows - focusing on one thing produces better results than trying to please everybody.

I also hope your coverage improves because it's been very light the last four years. The bloggers, especially Nats 320, have gotten more info out of some team execs and coaches than you have. You don't see this in other markets, which is why the legion of Red Sox bloggers still turn to the Globe for primary information. I know this isn't NY, Boston, or Chicago in terms of tradition, but in addition to puff pieces on the players, like today's Adam Dunn story, why not more puff pieces on the coaches and other people involved with the org? The NY Times has one today on a Yankee scout. Print, web, Kindle, stone tablet doesn't matter, journalists will always love to build a celebrity, and you say very little about the prospects playing in Harrisburg or Woodbridge now, who could be hitting 450 foot jacks in DC in the future.

Posted by: TGT11 | March 1, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

With regard to pay-for-content, _The Wall Street Journal_ seems to have a pretty good PFC model, if I understand it correctly: free access to more basic stuff, pay access to in-depth data. Similarly _The Economist_, although that publication has recently taken a dive editorially IMO (perhaps because of the churn in the industry?).

Someone's going to find a model that works, because good content is worth paying for. It's wrenching to see the media of our youth transform so radically, but good to see experimentation and competition embraced. The Post shouldn't hesitate to continue to participate in this competition, even as it continues to hone a unique perspective.

Posted by: Hendo1 | March 1, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Tracee I can't believe how nice it was for you to let us know about all the changes. I, too, would pay for content, how ever that would break down. Having been a fulltime musician I know the costs in travel, just getting your people where they need to be is probably a full time job for someone. Yes, paying extra isn't a problem for me, but I only worry about the kid who's parents don't like baseball and won't pay or can't pay for the service for that kid.

Posted by: Berndaddy | March 1, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Washington is not New York. New York fans should not expect the Washington Post to provide home team coverage of New York teams. Washington is not Boston. Boston fans should not expect the Washington Post to provide home team coverage of Boston teams. Washington is not Chicago. Chicago fans should not expect the Washington Post to provide home team coverage of Chicago teams. Washington is not Baltimore……

Posted by: charlie814 | March 1, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm a Washington Post reader since the days of Frank Howard, Paul Casnova and Eddie Brinkman roaming RFK Stadium in front of 7,426 rabid fans. A little advesity is not going to stop me from reading the Post and looking for Nationals coverage somewhere. Now, cancel the Pickels cartoon in the Post and I'm not going to be very happy.

Posted by: garyolney | March 1, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Tracee hasn't put it in these terms, but the "news hole" is determined by the amount of ads. Trying to recall - 60/40 ads/news historically?

So I don't know how they stop the death spiral. More Craigslist, fewer classifieds, less of the news we buy the paper for, so fewer eyeballs for the remaining advertisers.....

Certainly electronic news distribution is way greener. They're sending electrons, not cutting down forests to grind them up to make tons of paper that is transported to the printing plants, etc etc. But we readers don't want the clutter of ads or the cost of premium subscriptions.

But Tracee, I've been reading the Post almost daily for decades, and I contribute my quarters to your daily circulation numbers. I even click on an ad online now and then figuring it might help you keep the doors open. Appreciate the efforts you all are making in covering the Nats this spring, and know that you're trying to make the best of the bad editorial choices you are faced with.
Geezer

Posted by: utec | March 1, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

.. and continuing the thought, Washington, DC is most certainly not Blacksburg, Virginia. I hope the Post stops wasting time, reporters and money covering some school hundreds of miles away. I mean if MLB in Baltimore, considering the tens of thousands of B'more fans in the Post's subscription area .. isn't worth it, then Blacksburg surely ain't.

Posted by: tslats | March 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. Like others here, I'm disappointed but not surprised by the loss of the Post's dedicated Orioles beat writer position, and wish Mr. Carig well in his new job. Good to know that coverage from the Sun will be provided during the season, although I already read the Sun's O's coverage on their web site daily and have appreciated the Post's separate coverage of the team over the years. Will there be a dedicated Orioles blog on washingtonpost.com?

Thumbs down on reducing space for MLB coverage. What is the Sports section going to be like in July and August, when baseball is the only major sport in action? (Yes, I know there are the WNBA, MLS, etc., but most people don't consider them "major.") I imagine I'll open up the Post one midsummer day and find the Sports section compressed into a single page, front and back: one side for baseball, and the other side for all the other sports. Might as well stop subscribing to the paper if that's the way it's heading.

Readers' eyeballs go where the quality content is, and if you reduce that content, the eyeballs (and their money) will go elsewhere. Something to keep in mind amidst all the cost-cutting.

Posted by: DrewDC | March 2, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

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