The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Monday, July 06, 2009

Old Guard versus New Guard

A while back I wrote about how Track & Field News' staff is a bit set in their ways, generally not wishing to rock the boat by, you know, actually writing about important stuff. This was when The Final Sprint and its later founder Adam Jacobs went out and beat the bush for info about the people running for USATF president, which was necessary because little of it about the winner was complimentary.

Anyway, Garry Hill was particularly short when it came to discussing the issue, writing "If you don't like our style, don't read us. It's that simple."

Writing for the Center for American Progress, blogger Eric Alterman discussed the same issues in DC political reporting in an article titled Think Again: The Strange Politics of Collusion (and “Dickishness”). It's not really about politics, its about how the established media keeps its place by being established rather than necessarily good, and the nastiness that can occur when upstarts actually compete with them on a level playing field.

Recently, I've noticed that the home page for Let's Run -- the center of all that is obnoxious, uneducated, self-centered, and (little-a) amateur in the sport -- is more organized and more readable than that of Track & Field News, and is a better daily read due to decent self-produced previews and a more selective use of news links. It's so shocking, it's like discovering that Fox News Channel has surpassed CBS in professionalism. Or that The Daily Show asks tougher questions than the White House press corps. (Well, I guess the second one isn't so shocking.)

You could argue that the Johnson brothers can put together a daily page because they're not busy putting together a magazine. True, but Garry Hill finds time to average 21.35 posts per day at the T&FN message boards, while the Johnson might pop up two or three times a week on their own board.

That's beside the point. The web presence of T&FN is weak and hard to use and parts haven't been updated in eight years. Literally every other news source on the planet now understands that their web content is life or death. If T&FN can't spare one employee's morning to put together a good daily home page, then they'd better find out how to get in on that GM bailout money.

No comments: