Minter: Credible Information Gap Is Getting Bigger
By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
I read on the Internet yesterday that National Speed Sport News was ceasing publication. I guess I’m just like most everybody else these days. I get my racing news online for free, but I also wonder when the point will come where those who gather the racing news just can’t afford to put it out there without being reasonably compensated.
Racing websites and news on the Net have cost a lot of us our newspaper salaries. It’s led to the end of publications like NASCAR Scene and National Speed Sport News.
Some might say that it’s just a sign of the times, progress. But it could be that it’s no coincidence that declining interest in racing in general and struggles at many short tracks across the country have occurred during a time of dwindling racing coverage by print publications.
Of all people, it was a young Brad Keselowski last year who did the best job of summing up what it meant for NASCAR Scene to bite the dust. I’m certain he’d say the same about NSSN.
Here’s some of what Brad said about a year ago: “As a kid growing up in the sport, the Scene was like a fixture for me. My parents would bring that home every week from when they were at the race track. So even if I didn’t go to the race, I’d get the Scene.
“I grew up in kind of this middle zone, so to speak, where the Internet was just starting to come in…
“Growing up I relied on a lot of different sources like the Scene and so forth. That makes you wonder how the next generation is going to get their news from credible people, credible journalists and so forth. That scares me more than anything else.
“Naturally businesses are going to come and go. That’s the American way. That’s capitalism. But
what scares me is the top trusted media, the people that you believe in when you can read a story and know that they’re telling you the truth and know that there’s no bias, that this is the real deal, and to see some of those organizations go away is really scary for me.”
Back in the days when I covered short track racing, National Speed Sport News was the authority on that part of the sport, and all the others too for that matter.
In his column that was the paper’s biggest drawing card, publisher Chris Economaki called it like he saw it. And he was up to speed on all aspects of the sport. If I stumbled across something really interesting on the Southern short track scene, Chris would note it in his column, giving me and my paper full credit. He must have subscribed to and read dozens of papers to be able to do that.
It’s a tough day for anyone who loves motorsports to see National Speed Sport News go away, even if a part of it will remain in some online form.
The official statement from Chris’ daughter, Corinne, shows that it’s much more than a business decision.
“This is one of the saddest days of my life,” she said. “The sluggish economy has made it too difficult to continue publication, and no matter how I try to make the numbers work – and believe me, I have tried –it is just not feasible to keep the business going.
“For 76 years, since August 1934 when my father, Chris, sold copies of the first issue at Ho-Ho-Kus Speedway in northern New Jersey, to today – as I oversee the very last copy printed – this paper has been an integral part of my family.”
– Rick Minter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments