By TOM WILLIAMS
The 54th Super Bowl is history – a great comeback win for the Kansas City Chiefs (the team from Missouri) and an initial championship for former Eagles coach Andy Reid.
Dave Weinberg covered Reid on an almost a daily basis for 14 years and it would have been great to have his comments and observations on the coach. But The Press of Atlantic City could not offer its readers those evaluations because Weinberg became a free agent about six weeks ago when the Press let him and a few other key players go.
Weinberg, as most of you know, was a three-time winner as New Jersey Sportswriter of the Year; was a state finalist for the award 18 times, including 2019; and has also been recognized with awards and inductions for his coverage of the NFL and boxing through the years. With Mike McGarry (another multiple state award winner), Weinberg formed one of the very best one-two sportswriter combinations in the Delaware Valley.
But the area’s daily newspaper, probably in a cost-cutting decision, no longer had room for him.
The paper didn’t allow him to finish the Eagles season, though they did let him write a farewell column. If you missed it, you can read it here.
Instead of Weinberg’s coverage, the Press ran wire service stories of the Eagles regular season finale with the Giants and the playoff game. Wire stories are good but they are not unique. Instead of giving Press readers coverage that is not available anywhere else, the NFL stories in the paper the last six weeks have also been available in many other publications.
The style of print journalism has changed radically over the past couple decades. Many publications are more interested in how many people hit their web pages than how many pick up their printed newspaper. Some even are inclined to run photo scrapbooks of unrelated events just to peak curiosity and get visitors to click. And the earlier deadlines (another cost-cutting measure) frequently make it difficult to properly cover events played at night.
Its pretty much an industry-wide change. Since the circulation of print newspapers is trending downward, the owners are looking to take advantage of technology and the ability to read stories on a computer, tablet or cell phone. And they are both selling access to the online content to readers and encouraging advertisers to spend money on their web pages.
But content is still important.
Readers can no longer open their paper every morning (or open their device) and find the latest from Weinberg, McGarry and an assortment of talented writers like Guy Gargan, Patrick Mulranen and John Russo all in one place.
Weinberg is missing.
Well, actually he isn’t really missing. Mike Gill jumped into action and you can read the columns and stories Dave was offering exclusively to Press readers here on 97.3-ESPN’s website. And access is free.
We all understand that a positive bottom line is important to surviving in any business. But it remains to be seen if weakening the product you offer is a positive step toward survival.