Covering Motorsports Now
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Race fans, you can add the way which you are viewed by daily newspapers to the list of indignities you are suffering these days. Because the fact is, you are being treated by those media outlets as unimportant at best and objects of ridicule at worst.
Daily newspaper editors and publishers are throwing you and your concerns overboard, race fans. Throwing you overboard along with the other refuse which they consider nonessential to the profitable operation of their empires. That might be worth remembering when you go shopping for auto-racing news and entertainment in the coming years. It might lead you right back here.
Within the last two weeks, the Kansas City Star and the Miami Herald, both of the McClatchy chain, have decided that motor sports no longer warrant coverage on a beat basis.
Those two papers have joined a parade of dailies – including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Nashville Tennessean, the Arizona Republic, the Detroit Free Press, the St. Petersburg Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Tampa Tribune and many more -which have sprinted for the exits when it comes to providing readers with quality writing and reporting of racing.
Dating back to last year, and even the year before, media centers and press boxes at major race tracks featured growing rows of empty seats. Many of the seats which are now occupied are fitted with the bottoms of newspaper reporters whose day jobs are covering high school sports or backing up the backups on stick-and-ball sports. Restrictor plates to those reporters are things which Jenny Craig meals are served upon. Yet most of those same newspapers continue to cover their stick-and-ball teams with two, even three or more, designated beat writers.
This turning away from motorsports by daily newspaper does not surprise many of us who have worked the beat on a professional level over the years. We know that even when times were good for newspapers, the sports editors, copy editors and other writers on other beats treated racing with a combination of derision and disinterest. Few sports editors took an interest in the sport, much less bothered to attend an event and mix with fans and competitors. Few copy editors bothered to professionally research the sport and as a result, were unable to weed out even the most obvious of the brain-fart errors which reporters filed as they hustled toward deadlines. Few assistant editors for motor sports thought that anything other than Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick made for readable copy. The fine points of the sport, the fascinating peculiarities which make the sport so interesting and appealing to true fans, were routinely dismissed as “too technical” by these editors.
And worst of all, those of us who have seriously covered the sport of auto racing, a sport we believe to be the most fascinating of all, have had to sit and listen as those around us in our newsrooms talk condescendingly of the fans who buy our papers and patronize our advertisers. The revolting and incorrect racing stereotypes of popular culture live on in newspaper sports departments from coast to coast, border to border. All the while, editors and publishers and advertising reps wonder why it is that more and more fans are turning to the Internet and television to get their racing fix. Gee, can’t understand that.
What’s a race fan to do?
A good start is to put www.racintoday.com in the “favorites” tab of your computer or hand-held (our mobile site is up and running and Kyle Busch-fast). Here you will find NASCAR, open-wheel, drag racing, rally, dirt racing and more. Here you will find entertaining and insightful features on drivers, crew chiefs, owners and teams from a staff of award-winning writers. Here you will find educated opinion from highly experienced racing journalists who have roamed the teams’ garages and shops, who have spent as much time in haulers as some crew members. Here you will get news and notes from reporters whom drivers, crew members and team owners know and respect and trust. Here you will get motor sports news that your daily newspaper thinks you no longer deserve to have.
We at Racin’ Today look forward to serving, informing and entertaining you for years to come. We look forward to hearing from you and we look forward to arguing with you.
We hope you enjoy reading this website as much as we do writing it.25 Comments