Umaine media coverage deficiencies

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Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby driveandive » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:28 pm

Do Maine newspapers, the BDN in particular, do any investigative reporting that throw a negative light on UM? How about an occasional editorial? I have read plenty of articles on student violations and crimes, but can’t ever remember reading an article implying University policies or Administrative decisions need scrutiny.

I guess the question is, does the media do its job covering UM or is it more like an extension of the Umaine PR department? It seems to me there is information the could sell papers that is not sought out, and not just sensationalized articles, but basic information people actually want to know.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby Crunch » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:05 pm

Same old people working for the same old outlets. Don't rock the boat. Keep the job and keep it easy.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby thebam » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:44 am

Overall coverage of UMaine athletics is sub par by the BDN.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby bcbc55 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:34 pm

thebam wrote:Overall coverage of UMaine athletics is sub par by the BDN.


thebam: OTHER THAN PRE OR POST GAME WRITEUPS All they get to cover most of the time is negative happenings for UMaine athletics and then if they cover that too much then they'll be criticized for that.

Give them something positive to write about besides Sig Koizar's basketball accomplishments, academic accomplishments and outstanding community volunteering work and her well-deserved awards all we had this winter for positive news was Sigi and the Women's basketball team which was mostly positive until the 5 transfers came up. So even the women's basketball program ends on a negative note.

Mens's Hockey and men's basketball both had losing seasons. The men's basketball team had very little positive happen at 6-25 and then the very negative"BREAK" incident and how poorly that was handled.

Give the BDN something positive to write about UMaine so that they won't just have all the negatives to write about.

They have been more than fair to the University especially on not dwelling on the negatives more then they have to.
Last edited by bcbc55 on Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby thebam » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:39 pm

1. Pre season coverage of upcoming sports. I emailed them 2 years ago to do a Maine baseball preview. It came out the day before the season started.

2. Actual game coverage. Taking " staff reports" from other markets is not covering the team.

3. Ask the hard hitting questions. We all agree their have been a lot of pathetic performances from the hockey proram lately. Yet, Larry ( usually) continues to just lob softball after softball at the coaching staff, although he did sort of go after them a little bit after this year, but usually doesn't push very hard.

The paper is scared to death of making anyone at Maine " upset" , even when they deserve to have those questions answered. They treat Maine athletics with kid gloves and that's not fair to the ticket buying public most of the time.
The latest implosion of the women's program deserves some hard questions. Someone at Maine knows why all these transfers happened. Has anyone gone up there and asked that question? Sure, they'll get a canned " no comment " in all likelihood, but then report that. 4 transfers from the women's program : Maine has no comment.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby bcbc55 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:56 pm

thebam wrote:1. Pre season coverage of upcoming sports. I had to beg them 2 years ago to do a Maine baseball preview. It came out the day before the season started.

2. Actual game coverage. Taking " staff reports" from other markets is not covering the team.

3. Ask the hard hitting questions. We all agree their have been a lot of pathetic performances from the hockey proram lately. Yet, Larry ( usually) continues to just lob softball after softball at the coaching staff.

The paper is scared to death of making anyone at Maine " upset" , even when they deserve to have those questions answered. They treat Maine athletics with kid gloves and that's not fair to the ticket buying public most of the time.
The latest implosion of the women's program deserves some hard questions. Someone at Maine knows why all these transfers happened. Has anyone gone up there and asked that question? Sure, they'll get a canned " no comment " in all likelihood, but then report that. 4 transfers from the women's program : Maine has no comment.


thebam: I have not found it to be true in my criticizing UMaine men's or women's basketball teams in fact in my "Off the Rim" Tuesday Basketball Column. Last week I had some questions that were much more on the negative side then on the positive and it went to print without changing my thoughts and ideas positive or negative to UMaine basketball programs.

So my experience as a part time writer for them is I am given a specific topic or I suggest a topic and it's approved each week and then I write it. The last 6 years when the men's basketball program has been down I have written each year before, during and after the season evaluative articles that were more negative then positive.

After stating the negatives I have always given my thoughts on how to make the negatives positives to improve the program.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby turkeyman » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:30 pm

The short answer to Driveanddive's question is No. No media outlet in Maine does investigative reporting in sports. Not for a long time, if ever. I have the same impression that I believe D&D has, that the coverage is softer than ever.

In the case of the BDN, which I know best, it starts with newspaper economics. The sports staff is down to five. Ernie Clark, Pete Warner, Larry Mahoney, Ryan LcLaughlin, Joe McLaughlin. By way of disclosure, Ernie and Pete took journalism classes I taught at UMaine. They are among the few students whom I couldn't dissuade from newspaper careers, try though I did. Before joining the faculty, I worked briefly on the copy desk at the BDN, so my perspective may not be unclouded. With nearly the same number of teams to cover, and with more sports offered by many schools, these five are stretched thin covering games and working the phones to get game stories. That's not an excuse, just a reality. Newspapers have responded to lower sales by cutting staff. That's answer No. 1.

When those guys were in my classes (1980-83), the BDN's circulation was more than 80,000, largest in Maine. I believe it is about 35,000, today. Circulation draws advertisers. With the advent of the internet, circulation slid. When Craig's List and other online services arose, newspapers lost their cash cow, which was classified advertising. I don't remember the numbers, but if you total the revenue from, say, 10 pages of classified advertising, nine columns to the page, 22 inches to the column (at perhaps half to three-quarters of an inch per ad), you are looking at significant income lost, maybe several thousand dollars a day. With sharply lower income, the BDN and virtually every other newspaper has less money to spend on staff, which means thinner staff, thinner coverage, thinner paper, thinner satisfaction among readers. And the beat goes on . . .

Answer No. 2 is that the paper, like most, has responded to the times by making itself scarcer. I would happily buy the BDN every day at the store at the corner, and did. But the BDN quit delivering to stores in New Sharon several years ago. Dropping that "ego circulation" also cut total circulation, and that is the figure on which advertising rates are set. Regional staff has shrunk, too. With no circulation to speak of west of Pittsfield, there is no need to keep a reporter to cover Somerset County. And the beat goes on . . .

The BDN has the largest online presence in the state, but it is the only major paper with no paywall. Portland and Lewiston let you read a few (10 in Portland, five in Lewiston) articles a month before you have to pay. I see no way the BDN can sustain free online service. It must start charging if it is to survive. When it does, the question is how many of us will ship 10 or 20 bucks a month to Bangor? I already pay $20 a month for the New York Times. Much as I love newspapers, how much can a retired guy spend for papers every month?

On the specific topic of sports coverage, I cannot recall much enterprise reporting at the BDN or anywhere else in Maine. There was a flurry of independent reporting around the Huggy Dye case about 15 years ago. Maybe a bit about Stephen Cooper's arrest. Not much else. Years ago, the paper might have sent a reporter to Kansas City when UMaine grad Jovan Belcher went off the deep end. But not in 2012, when it happened. I once required a student working for the campus paper to pursue a story on a football player who had trashed a dorm room. The student balked. He had never imagined a sports writer having to do that kind of work. But, he got the police report, interviewed some honchos and published it all in the Daily Maine Campus. That may be the most investigative reporting I have seen in Maine sports coverage. For the record, he and I remain friends, but he no longer works in journalism.

Answer No. 3. Reporters may have less access to athletes these days. I believe reporters need athletic department approval to interview athletes, other than interviews of stars of the game right after the game. Certainly, the department is much more restrictive with news than it was. Where, for example, on its website can you find information about the five players who ditched the program last week? Or of Chrstiana Gerostergiou, who transferred last summer to Vanguard? The good news is laundered through the department, the bad news is ignored. This leads to soft coverage, as reporters, even when they get access to athletes, may shy from asking the tough questions lest the department cut them off for future interviews.

Finally, answer No. 4. The BDN has decided that its future is as a statewide publication. It has put almost all of its resources into beefing up southern Maine coverage, specifically Portland. It has a features writer, a photographer-writer and a news writer in Portland. I have heard that a significant number of people in southern Maine are clicking on the BDN website. The PPH may be getting better in local coverage, but it was so bad for so long -- not to mention being politically suspect under, first, Richard Connor and, then, Donald Sussman -- that the BDN was a strong alternative. With resources more limited than ever, I don't expect the BDN to beef up sports coverage a bit, least of all enterprise reporting in sports.

As to the other papers, Lewiston has always had a sharp sense of its geography. If UMaine has a star from the Lewiston area, it will cover her/him. Or a local, such as Isaiah Harris, doing extremely well out of state. Your kid's name will get into the Sun Journal if she plays at Dirigo long before it will if she plays at Colby or Orono.

Portland's newspapers have never, in my opinion, covered college sports well. Portland fancies itself a professional sports town, and minor-league hockey, baseball and basketball have got the above-the-fold spots in the sports section. It has made some effort more recently with, first, Jenn Menendez and, then, Mark Emmert, covering UMaine sports pretty much full time, but no one is doing that now.

To be fair, Kevin Thomas covered wbb well this year. His package on UMaine wbb on the first day of the AE tournament went front page, and should have. The PPH also published what turned out to be the only programs available at the tournament, since America East produced no programs until the final game five days later in Albany, by which time the pages about six of the eight teams were irrelevant. His coverage of the five players' bailout last week was strong, too, and was put together quickly when the news broke.

Beyond those four answers, consider this. New industries always challenge mature industries. More often than not, the mature respond poorly. Movie are an exception, and they survive in an age of TV and internet, though of course not as they were in the '30s. The question is still open as to whether newspapers will survive. How they respond will determine whether they carve out a niche in the new media world.

We can be pretty sure that niche won't be carved out by enterprise reporting on UMaine sports. For the foreseeable future, we need to rely on folks on sites like mbr.org. So long as we have parquet and bam and mj and TAL and Dunbar and others whom I have overlooked, that is where we will get the news and much of the enterprise reporting. Wish we could get back onearmedman and Sean Stackhouse and umsuperfan and others to enrich the board.

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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby bcbc55 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:02 pm

driveandive wrote:Do Maine newspapers, the BDN in particular, do any investigative reporting that throw a negative light on UM? How about an occasional editorial? I have read plenty of articles on student violations and crimes, but can’t ever remember reading an article implying University policies or Administrative decisions need scrutiny.

I guess the question is, does the media do its job covering UM or is it more like an extension of the Umaine PR department? It seems to me there is information the could sell papers that is not sought out, and not just sensationalized articles, but basic information people actually want to know.


Bob: Another interesting and insightful post concerning UMaine basketball.

Attendance is down for the men's program because they are not winning and if they didn't count the season and corporate tickets there were games when the men did not have 200 bodies in a seat for some games.

The women could well be in that situation next year with the loss of Sigi and the 5 transfers.

Maine is a high school basketball state, that is why if you had former High School Mainers on the roster and making contributions you would or couldn't do much worse then what the men have been doing the past 3 years and even before that since 2010 for that matter.

In fact, in 2010 when they went 19-10, 3 Mainers were starting and 2 other Mainers would have been starting if they had not left the team.

Husson men and women have the best of both worlds as they have winning teams and have a lot of Mainers playing especially the women with most of the players and best players are Mainers and the men start 4 Mainers.

Plus, they draw very well and they are playing in BANGOR AS IS UMAINE. In fact, in the NCAA 3 NAC conference tournament held on a Friday and Saturday as hosts because they had the best conference records they drew extremely well, probably out drawing any Maine basketball men's or women's home crowd this season.

IF THE BASKETBALL PROGRAMS ARE GOING TO LOSE, THEN LET'S LOSE WITH FORMER MAINE HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS.

AT LEAST THAT WAY MAINE WOULD PROBABLY DRAW BETTER THAN LOSING WITH NON MAINERS WHO MAINERS HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON WITH AND CANNOT IDENTIFY WITH THEM AT ALL WHETHER THEY ARE out-of-staters or international players. This way we could at least keep the scholarship money in Maine.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby mainah57 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:11 pm

bcbc55 wrote:IF THE BASKETBALL PROGRAMS ARE GOING TO LOSE, THEN LET'S LOSE WITH FORMER MAINE HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS.

AT LEAST THAT WAY MAINE WOULD PROBABLY DRAW BETTER THAN LOSING WITH NON MAINERS WHO MAINERS HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON WITH AND CANNOT IDENTIFY WITH THEM AT ALL WHETHER THEY ARE out-of-staters or international players. This way we could at least keep the scholarship money in Maine.


Yikes, Cim. I was hoping someone would call you out on this ridiculous and borderline-xenophobic post, but it seems like most of MBR has tuned you out by now. (Can't say that I blame them...)

Mainers have "nothing in common with non-Mainers"? Can't "identify with them at all"? Do you really think the average Maine basketball fan is thinking "ugh, that out-of-stater Liz Wood is someone I could never relate to.... but Courtney Anderson, she represents me!" I'm going to go with NO.

I have an idea... let's kick off all the non-Mainers from the WBB team next year!!! Let's just give 100% of the playing time to our good ol' "relatable Mainers" (we can even bring on a few walk-ons from the intramural basketball teams!)! Let's see how that goes!

I love Maine as much as the next person, but dude... I really hope this post is a joke.
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Re: Umaine media coverage deficiencies

Postby Linguist » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:22 am

The UMaine Athletic Department is about as secretive as the Pentagon. Trying to get information out of there is next to impossible. There are very few leaks of information that will talk on the record with media. And it isn't just Creech as the AD, that place has been a fortress of silence with Abbott, James, Tyler, you name the AD and doesn't matter. That is the "Maine Way". The sports information directors do not give out information, they deflect and deny.

Remember Bangor is a small media market with few options for sports journalists, and UMaine will hold grudges, not just in athletics but in other areas of the university as well.

If the BDN were to do a hatchet job piece on the coaches, not only will they not get access to coaches, players, administrators from the Athletic Department, the university public relations will cut off access to other potential interview subjects from Academics. So all of the other stories about Habib Dagher creating off shore wind turbines are gone, anything about covering tuition increases, or an incident on campus is GONE.

That place is a tight ship, and if anything slips out they do their best to cut the leak and the one who reported it.


Pretty impressive actually.
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