No Apologies For Courier-Journal Slight

Someone in the Courier-Journal sports department owes Dan McDonnell and his University of Louisville baseball team an explanation, if not an apology, for ignoring the biggest sports story in town in the Sunday edition.

U of L wins the regular season Big East Conference title, chalks up the most regular season games ever with 46 victories, and is the first team ever to sweep a Big East series at Notre Dame. The team is ranked among the nation’s top 10 and is on track for its highest seeding ever in the NCAA tournament. Big news in college baseball circles.

CJ sports editor Harry Bryan — or whoever was sitting in for him Saturday — apparently didn’t consider it very newsworthy. Nothing on the first page of the CJ sports section, nor on the second, third, fourth or fifth pages.

One finally finds a mention, not a story, consisting of two paragraphs on page six, sharing the space with two paragraphs about a Kentucky win over Georgia.

Uh, Harry, what’s up with that?

Bryan would probably respond that college baseball is not a big deal in a basketball state in a display of arrogance that local readers have come to expect. Or he might remind us of how short-staffed the newspaper is these days.

Not buying it, Harry, not when you can send someone to an NBA camp in Chicago to interview a basketball player who left U of L two seasons ago. Or see columnist Eric Crawford trek to Owensboro for a piece on Kentucky Wesleyan’s basketball tradition, old news even for a KWC alumnus. And how does the Indianapolis 500, an event scheduled a week from now, mean more to local readers than a Louisville milestone?

Obviously someone is badly out of touch with the local readership. That should come as no surprise to people so accustomed to the CJ sports department’s disregard for the local audience. The apathy goes back several decades, with the CJ bending over backwards to pacify readers in places like Irvine or Hazard over Louisville readers.

One is tempted to apologize to Dan McDonnell’s team for Harry Bryan’s decision-making skills and the CJ’s lack of coverage of a significant news event. But we won’t because they would never ever acknowledge the shortcoming themselves.

Small wonder readers are turning to the Internet for news the local newspaper will not provide.

(Harry Bryan has been sent a link  to this post, providing him with an opportunity to respond.)

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

39 thoughts on “No Apologies For Courier-Journal Slight”

  1. Those guys in the CJ sports department act like they’re on loan from a major league city and are here to teach us what we should be interested in. No thanks, guys, I’m interested in University of Louisville sports and I should expect coverage in my local newspaper.

    1. Sadly this statement holds true for more than just the sports section of the CJ. Apparently their own printing press is fed up with the current state of the paper! 🙂

  2. The coverage – or lack of – from the C-J is utterly embarrassing. But, it didn’t stop with them. With the exception of the blogosphere, not one U of L media outlet properly covered the Cardinals title-clinching weekend sweep against Notre Dame. It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that others made mention of the impressive accomplishment by Dan McDonnell’s team.

    They all failed!

  3. When you are the only daily print newspaper in town…you make the rules. Louisville newspaper journalism is laughable anymore. Or, as we used to say years ago in college. The Courier-Communism.

    The news we want the people to read. And only that.

  4. This reminds me of when Louisville beat West Virginia for the regular season big east basketball title last year en route to a 1 seed and the cover story was uk who was nit bound losing to florida.

  5. Creighton, one of these days they may finally realize that that local coverage is their best chance of survival. But don’t count on it anytime soon. If they don’t wake up, that newspaper box at the curb could be permanently empty in the not-too-distant future.

  6. The Courier is in a sad state. Most Louisvillians I know have reduced their Courier experience to the Sports section as it was the only safe haven from political influence (kinda), but their lack of coverage of important University accomplishments is embarassing and condemning. Make no mistake, we have talented writers in the sports department, and I enjoy their angles even when I don’t agree with them. But Jurich is doing everything he can to keep top level coaches happy in this community. McDonnell, Waltz and these other coaches are not going to stick around if their teams can’t get the local press they deserve. I’m not saying the Courier’s apathy will send them away, but if we are the greatest college sports town in America than that means the whole package including daily newspaper coverage. At least blogs like yours, CC and Ditch are progressing well and filling that void, but on a national scale, sports fans want to know what the local paper thinks.

    1. Some valid points, Nick. These guys are still operating like they were in the old days when people depended on print media to keep them updated. If a publication wants to be relevant, it must provide people information about things in which they are interested. How could someone on a sports desk in Louisville not recognize the value of a great college baseball team to the community? Nationally ranked, packed stands, solid competition … how can that be ignored?

      You can’t operate like that these days, not if you want to survive. It’s like these guys wake up, go to work every day but never experience much else in the community. They may have some statewide circulation but their future largely depends on communicating effectively with people who live and work in the city where their publication is based.

  7. On a positive note when UofL baseball is at home there have been some good articles and good coverage.

  8. Bravo Charlie! You ought to send that one to them at “Letters to the Editor” and see if they have the backbone to publish it. My guess is that they won’t. You caught them with their BLUE on.
    High School lacrosse gets a better shake than U of L Baseball.

  9. Charlie, there has to be an explanation as to why C-J Sports blew the play and coverage of U of L’s Big East baseball championship. If you’re going to jump all over the C-J, at least give Harry Bryan or one of his lieutenants a chance to comment. They would do the same for you.

  10. Tom S I have to say that the lacrosse game was a huge deal because it was a state chanmpionship featuring saint x and trinity. There were more people at that game than 5 uofl baseball games combined, so don’t undermine that and go tigers! There is still no excuse for the lack of coverage and if the big east tourney coverage is this bad they can expect a lot of letters to the editors from me.

    1. Wow, how did that happen when Marshall Stadium’s capacity is 4500? I’ve been to a UofL baseball game this year with about that many in attendance (UofL-UK).

      1. Same here, Keith. Lacrosse is a fascinating sport but I’ll bet that story didn’t attract many readers.

  11. Charlie – great stuff.

    I think you need to have your own column in the Courier-Journal on local sports “Perspectives from a True Louisville Sports Fan”…it is very much needed and you’d do a GREAT job. What say you?

  12. Funny you mention this Charlie. As I was reading the online version of that crap newspaper, I saw the article you mentioned. I got so ticked off that I registered on their site and wrote a scathing critique of their lame attempt at covering hometown teams in the comment section of that article. Just like local radio, the CJ belongs unread in the bottom of bird cages.

  13. Mr. Bryan has assigned himself, like many of our elected officials, a high and holy seat way above the rest of the unenlightened populus. I called him last year to discuss their coverage of Louisville sports. I mentioned baseball in particular. He ended up raising his voice, telling me I was wrong and arguing with me, while my tone remained calm. The bias shows through when they use phrases like ‘UL hung on’ to discribe a 13-3 win at Notre Dame that clinched the Big East Championship. If there was an alternative to the CJ I would be quick to cancel it. Thanks to UofLCardGame and a few other good bloggers for great coverage of UL sports. Mr. Bryan will continue to be haughty long after the paper goes the way of the dinosaur

    1. Obviously, someone at the CJ missed the class on customer service. The days when you can ignore the customer are gone but some folks will never understand that, wondering what ever happened to their livelihoods.

  14. First off–good job of coverage, Charlie and the host of contributors at this site! This is where I go daily to get the real news on the Cards.
    As to the Curious (Yellow) rag, it’s all a matter of expectations.
    –Do you really expect daily delivery of their parakeet cage-liner? Even on Derby Day?
    –Do you really expect accurate stories? (I have hard copy of story they printed about the Korean airliner not being shot down by the Russians. It was.)
    –Do you really expect balanced coverage of Rand Paul or Todd Lally, and not be called ‘extreme’ as Todd was on today’s back cover?
    Frankly, the demise of this once-proud, once-competent newspaper will mark a day that I will celebrate.

  15. There wasn’t a word mentioned on the CJ website at all!! Pitiful. And what’s up with the CJ’s Cardinal Fan blogger. Three blogs in THREE MONTHS!! Absolutely unacceptable. Some fan. Nothing about baseball. I guess if it’s not on TV, he can’t write about it. I wrote a letter to the editor, but as an out-of-towner, management won’t care about my take on things, but you local folks should contact the ADVERTISERS! They will get the message to the CJ staff!

    1. The advertisers are apparently getting the word already. You could almost fit a daily issue in a No. 10 envelope these days … Tom Heiser can be entertaining with his posts but they are few and far between.

  16. I suspect Harry B. wrote an apology but no one saw it because the C-J presses broke again. And again. And again.

  17. Here’s Harry’s reply to my email. Don’t know if this was coincidence or not, his reply to email was in a blue font. You be the judge:

    Thanks for the e-mail. I am sorry you were unhappy with our coverage of the U of L baseball team this weekend. We did provide coverage, although we do not travel with U of L non-revenue sports teams in the regular season.

    However, we certainly haven’t been ignoring the team. U of L baseball has been on the front page four times in the past two weeks, and as the team heads into the postseason, you’ll be seeing more. We had two writers at practice today working on stories in advance of the Big East tournament. We will carry results from the tournament and we will pick up the pace in the NCAA tournament.

    I realize that U of L baseball is picking up a following, and it is certainly deserving. Coach McDonnell has done a great job there, and our increased coverage over the past few years is a reflection of that. However, our coverage is based at least partly on fan interest, and attendance figures indicate to me that there is still some progress to be made in that area before we start increasing staffing even more.

    The fact is that U of L spring sports in general are much improved — we also have a track story planned for later in the week looking ahead to the NCAA meets — and we look forward to increasing our coverage as the teams continue to improve and build even stronger fan bases.

    Thanks again for writing.

    Harry Bryan
    Sports Editor

    1. The C-J covering UofL sports helps INCREASE the fan base as potential fans gain an interest and become knowledgeable about non-revenue sports and their progress and achievements in each respective sport. Gosh Harry, do we have to spell it out for you?

      1. Harry doesn’t think that way. He would tell you it’s not his job to promote attendance at games. He apparently doesn’t think 3,000-plus fans at the games lately, the team’s record or the national ranking is all that impressive. Harry has his opinion and he’s sticking with it, no matter what.

    2. Thanks for sharing, Ron. I have yet to hear back from him. His explanation in no way excuses the short shrift given the coverage of the weekend accomplishment of Louisville baseball. I’m sure someone has Dan McDonnell’s cell phone and could at least have gotten some quotes from him. His response almost confirms that someone was asleep at the wheel.

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