Editorializing: Ball dropped on Walters story

In most markets in the country, it's a major story if the university football team has a coaching change. In some, such as Halifax or Quebec City, it's even a story if a coordinator leaves the program.

How did the Guelph Mercury treat coach Kyle Walters' departure? As of right now, all it has on its website (perhaps there was more in Saturday's print edition) is a short, unbylined article with a Walters quote copied-and-pasted from the school's news release. No reaction from the players whom Walters recruited to come to Guelph, nothing from athletic director Tom Kendall. The release went out at 10:20 a.m., so there was plenty of time for the paper to play catch-up.

This just isn't an old media fail. It reeks of clock-punching apathy.

Consider the contrast to how everyone stepped to it when Denis Piché resigned from the same post with the Ottawa Gee-Gees. All three dailies (the Citizen, Le Droit and the Sun) had updates on their websites. They followed up with full stories, with reaction from the coach and AD Luc Gélineau. Lee Versage, who holds down the late-morning slot at The Team 1200, lined up interviews with Piché and Gélineau.

People had heard there was discontent between several uOttawa coaches and the department, but since coaches have to play politics and keep a stiff upper lip, it hadn't been written. But people sprang into action when it became official.

Meantime, Guelph newspaper readers got press-release-rewrite journalism.

Please don't take this as calling out any individual. People are stretched thin throughout the business as staffing levels have been rolled back.

As this site has evolved, there has been a place for advocacy, explaining why traditional and major media outlets should put more time and effort into CIS coverage. It's good to send some attention to the many, many hard-working, talented journalists (too numerous to mention) who go well and beyond the call of duty and their scheduled hours to give Canadian Interuniversity Sport its due.

Well, that means having to ask why when that does not happen with such a major story.
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1 comment:

  1. The type of apathy that the Merc displayed is exactly why OUA schools have to concern themselves with fully developing their local markets as opposed to pursuing pie-in-the-sky digital channels. There is lots of work to do at the grass roots level first.