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Should WaPo Stop Covering National Sports and Start Covering Baltimore?

Just the other day the honorable Smokin’ Al Koken complained about the Washington Post paying short shrift to the Stanley Cup with its lack of coverage. Considering all of the ink WaPo spilled on the NBA Finals and other national sporting events du jour, it was a fair point.

And then yesterday Dan Steinberg, in a longer post about D.C. United TV ratings being up, shared the WaPo ombudsman’s findings that readers are more interested in the Baltimore Ravens than they are in the Washington Wizards. The Orioles also ranked ahead of the Mystics and United.

Which leads us to two questions, both of which I have opinions on, but I’m curious to hear from the collective. Please place your votes and explain your reasoning in the comments if you’d be so kind.

* For the purposes of this discussion coverage is defined as original content only and doesn’t include wire services and the like, data providers, photo agencies, etc.

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. JDP

    June 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    The Post has limited resources as is. They’re not exactly doing great financially. I get its a national paper in many regards but as far as beat reporting goes I don’t think its all that necessary to have anything more than an AP story on the Stanely Cup for example. So expanding any coverage is extremely unlikely. If I’m picking where to focus the resources then I’d focus on local teams.

  2. WFY

    June 15, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    Thankfully, the Post dropped O’s coverage a while back, though I would have appreciated them (and you) dropping the O’s either when they voted no on DC baseball or kept the Nats off of cable systems. Bad faith by Angelos & co.

    I am curious when those when stats were compiled. Either way, it looks pretty bad for DC United and the Wizards.

  3. Jamie Mottram

    June 15, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Just because I don’t like the owner doesn’t mean I’m going to stop rooting for the team (see also: Dan Snyder and the Redskins).

    Also, just to be clear, these are two very separate poll questions. It can be yes to one and no to the other, etc.

  4. Vliff

    June 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I definitely think the Orioles should get more coverage. This was an orioles town for a long time and there are still a good amount of Os fans (a lot of Nats fans forgot about this. They rooted for the Os all their life then when a new more local team came around they just bailed on the Os).
    I think they should put more emphasis on the more popular teams (they do have to be at least semi local). If it’s football and basketball season and more people like the ravens than the wiz, throw some ravens coverage in there

  5. matt

    June 15, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Its not the Baltimore Post. Raven’s/O’s fans have had an inferiority complex forever, and hate DC sports as a result…so we shall oblige them by acting as if they don’t exist, which for most DC sports fans they do not. They can keep their crabs and terrible accents.

  6. glenn

    June 15, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Amen matt.
    Baltimore has the Sun. They can cover the O’s and the Ravens all they want. And with no pro hockey, basketball or soccer to worry about that should be plenty of coverage for those fans that are so inclined.

    As for the national aspect, the Post should do more, just as it covers world and national news and politics, so should it cover more national and world sports. Manchester United is 1000% more relevant in DC than the perennialy-worst team in the AL east.

  7. Alison

    June 15, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    I don’t think covering the Stanley Cup Finals counts as a sport “without local ties.” Just because the Capitals aren’t in the SCF doesn’t mean Caps fans aren’t interested in it–and the Caps are far closer to the NHL’s big dance than the Wizards are to the NBA’s.

    I’m not saying you need extensive coverage, but practically every WaPo columnist had at least one column on the NBA Finals, while the SCF gets nothing more than wire service coverage like some provincial fishwrapper.

    I am far more interested in the Ravens and Os than I am in the United or the Mystics, but I am even less interested in coverage of local high school anything, which the Post seems to spend a lot of ink on.

  8. Phil

    June 15, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Baltimore fans should get the Baltimore Sun. The end.

  9. ld

    June 15, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Sadly not in the DC/Bmore area anymore but it always makes me sad that the O’s got dropped. I’m from Arlington, and I’m a huge Skins, Terps, Caps (non-bandwagon, I promise – my first outing as a baby was to a Caps game!), and Wizkids fan, but I great up with Cal and the O’s. A lot of my friends who are also in their mid-20’s feel the same way!

  10. TJL

    June 15, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    fuck baltimore and everything about it

  11. Cliff

    June 15, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    All I got to say is that basically all Nats fans between the ages of 13-35ish are just bad sports fans.
    I am a diehard skins caps and wiz fan but I, like everyone in the age group I listed, grew up with no Washington baseball team.
    So basically, Nats fans are either just people who left the Orioles because there was a Washington team even though they had been Os fans their entire life. Or they were fans who before the Nats were here said “screw the O’s I’m gonna root for a nonlocal team… the Yankees or Red Sox”
    Nats fans are some of the worst in baseball. You pack a stadium to see strasburg play then when he gets scratched, the stadium empties

  12. Phil

    June 15, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Re: Cliff – O’s don’t have a great fanbase either but at least they had Cal’s legacy to build off of. Nats only have the promise of Strasburg and Harper and what…Livan Hernandez? A year of Soriano? The Nats fanbase is building off of ground zero so you can’t fault Nats fans for that. Yeah let’s turn into Red Sox Nation after 2 or three decades with no baseball team.

  13. Putts

    June 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Let me be real clear -Fuck Baltimore. Baltimore fans think they are so great but they are just like everyone else. They sell out Ravens games because they are good but draw 20,000 for O’s games unless the Sox or Yanks are in town. For a baseball town, they are frontrunners just like everyone else, ie Pittsburgh

  14. Jeff Vitkun

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Half the sport fans in DC are from out of town.

    The Post is arguably the USA’s 2nd most important paper.

    The national coverage has to stay.

    There isn’t a compelling enough reason to reverse course on the O’s. But I would have been fine with continued coverage of the O’s had they not already killed that beat.

  15. Johnny Blades

    June 15, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Local interest in the Nationals is not any higher than it is for the Orioles. The Orioles used to be covered extensively in The Post, and they should be covered for as long as they remain a team. It looked ultra petty when the paper dropped them. Given the history of our local sports section, the only thing that would’ve warranted such a shift is if you had the Nationals as a juggernaut in addition to the Orioles being an afterthought. As we all know, that first part has never been the case and won’t be any time soon.

    On the other hand, this has been and will always be a Skins town, and Ravens fans can’t even read, so fuck them.

    It should have gone without saying that notable, non-local sporting events around the country should still be covered…this isn’t a Nebraska newspaper, it’s The Washington Post.

  16. illformula

    June 15, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Agreed with Jeff on the WaPo’s obligation to continue national coverage. It’s too prestigious nationally and DC is composed of fans from all over the country – more so than any other city. Just look at the abundance of midwest and northeast sports bars compared to so few Redskins’ bars.

    The Sun does a sufficient job covering the Os, but i’d like to see some coverage in the WaPo. Look, there should be some hatred between Nats and Os fans; thanks to inter-league play, there’s a rivalry building (as sad as both teams have been). Arrogant and annoying fans exist in any fanbase. I hate Raven’s fans as much as anyone else, but it’s naive to consider an entire fanbase alike – sans Yankees, Redsox, and every team not names Redskins in the NFC East). Like some of the above, I grew up Skins, Wiz, Caps, Os… and those are the teams i’ll remain loyal to.

  17. Jamie Mottram

    June 15, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    “It should have gone without saying that notable, non-local sporting events around the country should still be covered…this isn’t a Nebraska newspaper, it’s The Washington Post.”

    So who reads the Post’s national sports coverage? Metro riders who don’t have smartphones/tablets and people who still don’t have the Internet, I guess. Hence the question.

  18. illformula

    June 15, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    what’s the breakdown of WaPo’s readership between print and online? i’d think that just because someone has the internet doesn’t mean they don’t read WaPo. if fact, i’d say it’s more likely that metro riders read print b/c of no signal.

  19. Jamie Mottram

    June 15, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    Those people really need to get on that Instapaper tip.

  20. Glenn

    June 15, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    Ugh, Wasgington orioles fans! You guys are a confusing lot. I was an orioles fan too when i was a kid but then I grew up and realized that I was being rooked. In my book loyalty to one’s city trumps that of the geographically closest team representing a second rate city. Too bad the o’s didn’t have the same loyalty to it’s Baltimore fan base, refusing to even display Baltimore on their road jerseys until recently. Once it comes out the Cal was using hgh during his ‘iron man’ period you guys will be fleeing to the Nats. Until then, here is your precious coverage: your team is in last place, nobody goes to the games (unless Yankees and red sox fans are taking over the most over rated ballpark in America), your owner is a douche and it’s going to be the same story next year.

  21. ThisGuy

    June 15, 2011 at 11:30 PM

    Coverage of national sporting events is critical both for sports fans generally and to reflect on and provide perspective for our own teams. The Post can’t do it for the SCF because they don’t have columnists who know the sport. I’d like to see some columnists with something smart to say about hockey, not just the Caps. And yes, there is a difference, which Smokin’ Al articulated nicely in the post Jamie linked so I won’t repeat.

    As for the Baltimore issue: I voted yes only because I remain an Orioles fan (loyalty – funny thing, that). But I don’t give a baker’s fuck about the Ravens. I understand why the Post dropped the O’s though so I don’t care.

  22. Ketel on Rocks

    June 16, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    I voted “no” on both.

    – WaPo national coverage is redundant at this point. If they want to ship the columnists out for a game to write, I guess that’s fine. But reading the dry transcripts of what happened last night doesn’t make much sense after you’ve already seen the highlights a bazillion times. I go to the Post for the stellar “Sports Bog” and the opinion pieces (which are of dwindling interest — yes, I’m looking at you Tracee Hamilton).

    – As others have mentioned, the Baltimore bamas have the Sun.

    Maybe I’m different because I was never an O’s fan growing up. I don’t hate the O’s, indifferent in fact, but I don’t care to see the few resources left in the Sports Dept. devoted to them.

    And Ravens coverage? In the Washington Post? Ugh. There is something extremely off-putting about that idea. The term “self immolation” comes to mind.

  23. BB

    June 17, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I gave up on the Post when it starting giving so much coverage to Virginia Tech. VT is 200 miles from DC – as far as New York. Baltimore is 40 miles. Why is there more coverage of VT than O’s or Ravens? Of all the schools within 200 miles of DC, why cover VT? Because the Post is a NoVa paper. Most of the staff lives there and the coverage reflects the fact. If the NoVaPost wanted Maryland readers, they would cover MD sports.

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