BSMW Awards Recap – Best/Worst Football Beat Writer

Today we look at another talented group of writers, the beat writers who cover the New England Patriots. This is obviously a challenging gig, not only because of the success of the team and attention the franchise receives, but also because the Patriots communication policies force the writers to often times have to work harder to come up with stories and news on the team.

There seem to be two groups of media types around the team. Some old-school media types grumble at the lack of accessibility and pine for the old days when there was plenty of back-channel communication and easy stories just flowed from loose lips throughout the organization, from the locker room to the front office. The second group are a younger, more ambitious crew who know the rules and work within them just fine. They know they need to work a little harder to come up with the scoops and have to stay on top of things in order to get the chance to break a story. They know what type of questions to ask the coach and avoid the type of questions that will not get any sort of response from Bill Belichick.

Most of the latter group are in the category we’re considering today, the beat writers. They’re around the team on a daily basis and know what works.

Here’s who the voters felt was the best on the Patriots beat in 2005:

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In the 1397 votes cast, it came down to essentially three men. Mike Reiss, Michael Felger and Tom Curran. Reiss was the winner by a comfortable margin (486, 35%) What’s interesting is that Reiss isn’t technically the beat writer for the Globe. He does cover the team on a daily basis on his Reiss’ Pieces blog on Boston.com and blogs extensively on game days, providing updates and news as things happen. Reiss does do articles that appear in the Globe paper as well, but technically Jerome Solomon is the Globe’s beat writer for the Patriots. Felger (399, 29%) is also a prolific writer, coming up with stories and articles even during the offseason. Since he began his radio show with ESPN Boston, he has reduced his Patriots work slightly, as John Tomase is now the beat writer for that paper. However, Felger remains plugged into to the operation in Foxboro, and provides good insight on the team. Curran (264, 19%) takes third here, and it’s not even close after him. Curran is another hard working writer who has shown an understanding of the game and the way the Patriots operate, making him an in-demand guest on radio and television. Ironically when Felger left WEEI’s Big Show to do his own gig on ESPN Boston, it was Curran who benefited with more appearances on that program.

Even those those three were well ahead of the field, the others should not go unnoticed. There are a number of very good writers left among that list.

Reader Comments: Reiss gets the nod here. Best guy in the entire media in getting substantive real-time information to his readers…

Now, the voting for worst…

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Once again, the voters recognized the work of this group and elected “no one” being deserving of the label of worst. It was pretty overwhelming, too with 687 out of 1342 votes (51%) going this way. For the beat writers, I think this is a good choice. The writers that people object to when it comes to Patriots coverage are columnists and other media types who aren’t around the team every day.

John Tomase picked up 197 votes for 15% of the total and Jerome Solomon had 140 votes and 10%. Each was in their first season of covering the Patriots and were underwhelming at times.

Reader Comment: Went with Tomase as the worst. Very odd hire by the Herald…

Tomorrow: Best/Worst Media Blog

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