“Content Sharing” Agreement Between Boston.com and SI.com

In a post by Chad Finn on the Boston.com Extra Points blog, the following “Editor’s note” appears:

Through a content-sharing partnership with Sports Illustrated and SI.com, occasional articles and information from the magazine and its website will be used on Boston.com. The partnership begins today with some Patriots-related insight from Peter King’s popular “Monday Morning Quarterback” column.

The sharing apparently goes both ways. Check out SI.com’s new NFL Insider:

shaughnessy-si

 

Boston Globe/Boston.com To Charge Online Readers

According to a report in the Boston Herald this morning, you will soon have to pay in order to read The Boston Globe and Boston.com online.

There have been a lot of rumblings recently that more and more newspapers and news outlets are going to attempt to raise their falling fortunes by limiting access to their online work and charging readers a fee to access and read it. An Associated Press (another news agency looking to get more protective of their content) article this morning reports that News Corp.’s newspapers will also soon be charging for content. 

While I can see that their logic in not wishing to keep giving away their content and work for free, I have my doubts as to whether this is going to be successful.  The AP article above has Rupert Murdoch pointing to the Wall Street Journal and WSJ.com as a successful model for paid content that the rest of News Corp. will be trying to emulate.

I’d say there’s a bit of a difference between the content of the WSJ and The New York Post, another News Corp. outlet. You need to have content that’s worth paying for. If you don’t buy the paper are you going to pay for the privilege of reading Dan Shaughnessy’s latest?

What I will be interested in seeing, should this come to pass, is whether all of Boston.com will be a pay site, or if you’re only going to be charged to read items that appear in the paper edition of the Globe. Will we have to pay to read Reiss’s Pieces? Chad Finn? Are you going to pay to read Boston Dirt Dogs?

Obviously, this will all have an impact on what I’m doing here at BSMW. Should I bother to put together links to all the newspaper stories if only say, 10% of the readers here can actually get to them? Do I need to start recapping articles in more detail, rather than posting the links? That might cause issues, if I pass along for free information that a reporter has gathered and his website is charging a fee for access to. Will the traditional morning links just become obsolete?

 Non-Newspaper related sites like WEEI.com, NESN.com and Comcast SportsNet could see their online content gain more traffic, assuming they remain free of charge to access. Team sites, like RedSox.com, Patriots.com and Celtics.com, which are already producing their own coverage and content, would also seemingly benefit should the local newspapers decide to start charging for content. Free, independent sites like CelticsBlog.com, PatriotsDaily.com and messageboards like the Sons Of Sam Horn  and PatsFans.com would also likely benefit from increased traffic as fans go to get their fix of information and sports talk.

Is what The Boston Globe is producing, specifically on the sports side, since that’s what we’re dealing with here, so exclusive and valuable that readers are going to pay, in this economy, to be able to read it, when they can get most of the same information for free from the above sources? I might consider paying something just for Reiss’s Pieces updates, but not a whole lot.

Much will depend on the price. If it were say, $19.99 for a year, people might go for that. Make that $19.99 a month, or a week, I don’t think so. Will they continue to fill the space with ads in addition to the subscription charge? Will they lower the cost of the print edition?

To me, there’s also a difference between news and sports. Most people saw the game last night, and know what happened. Most people did not see the latest business deal or homicide, or see MBTA GM Daniel A. Grabauskas resigning. Would they consider charging for news coverage, but not sports? Can they be that creative?

An article on News Futurist – Newspapers: 180 years of not charging for content makes the case that newspapers haven’t actually charged for content since the 1830′s and it’s not really practical to start doing it now.

Lately, I’ve been reading a great blog -  The Future of Journalism on Salon.com, written by King Kaufman, who has done a lot of sports writing, and Katharine Mieszkowski. They’ve written quite a bit on this topic, as well as the other issues facing newspapers and online journalism these days.

Update, Friday PM: – Here’s an AP story on the matter: Boston Globe ponders charges for online content

Two questions for you, the sports news consumer:

  1. Will you pay to read newspapers online, or will you look elsewhere for your sports news and updates?
  2. What should I do mornings at BSMW, if a subscription to the newspaper sites is needed to access the links?

Friday Random Thoughts

A few things on my mind this week…

Looking forward to the return of the RemDawg…he posted on Twitter that he was getting closer to a return…but his absence might end up doing Don Orsillo a lot of good in the long run. Remy is about the only partner Orsillo has ever worked with on the Red Sox telecasts, and this experience (I think they’ve trotted out about 27 partners for Orsillo thus far this season) has allowed Orsillo to stretch his legs a little, and this a good thing. Dennis Eckersley has been his most frequent partner, and at first, Eck would comment on a play and ask Orsillo his opinion, and there would be a pregnant pause, and Don clearly wasn’t used to having his partner ask him about the play. They’ve gotten as time has gone by, and in the Orsillo is going to be better for the entire experience.

Chad Finn, God bless him, might be the only person in town who takes more shots at WEEI than I do. Here’s a nice zinger from today’s Boston.com chat:

[Comment From Guest]
Do you now find it amusing that the Big Show has been so dismissive of people who were suggesting that Ortiz get his eyes checked? Their confidence in their opinions seems spectacularly misplaced. I still remember them making fun of every caller in the fall of 2006 who said the Patriots needed a reciever who could “stretch the field,” then the following spring they couldn’t stop talking about how Moss’ speed was going to improve the offense.

12:51 Chad Finn:
Nah. Their mode of operation is to be dismissive of anyone who knows more than they do and has an original thought. So they tend to do a lot of dismissing.

On the other hand, Finn has passed me on the “snide comments from Ordway” scoreboard.

Earlier in the week, Tom E Curran addressed his December column, in which the possibility that Tom Brady’s 2009 season was in jeopardy was suggested:

In December, a source told me Brady was significantly behind in his rehab from the early October surgery that fixed his torn ACL and MCL. A buildup of scar tissue after an infection set in limited the range of motion in Brady’s knee and there was laxity in both the ACL and MCL. While the source never said Brady’s 2009 season was doomed, it was noted that the laxity could present a problem if the scar tissue and range of motion prevented him from strengthening his leg.

Clearly, Brady’s made up whatever time he was behind. Now, the strength of the knee and repair by Dr. Neal El Attrache, who performed the surgery have made the knee strong enough for Brady to participate at a fairly astonishing level in early June.

Health is a transitory thing. And while I most definitely stand by the original story and the bona fides of my source, Brady is certainly not behind schedule now.

It’s better than Curran’s last comments on the matter where he merely said that “NBCSports.com” had reported that Brady was behind in his rehab.

Massarotti Chat Deconstructed

Tony Massarotti held a chat on Boston.com today, and there were a few items of interest to come out of the session.

Here’s one noteworthy exchange:

12:42 [Comment From BruschiJersey]
Mazz – you often seem to insult Boston fans, and imply that none of them see the faults of their own teams, why do you despise all of us so much?

12:44 Tony Massarotti:: What? I don’t despise anyone. I believe in open, honest discourse. I don’t believe in being a homer or a blind loyalist as I don’t think that accomplishes anything. The best relationships have some give and take, self-criticisms, etc. Why is everybody so sensitive?

So being a homer or blind loyalist doesn’t accomplish anything, but being a contrarian on everything, and being critical just to stir people up is productive? Help me out here.

As far as being sensitive, this is the guy who complained about how the younger player never “asks about you, the way any grounded person would. He never asks you for a movie tip or restaurant recommendation.”

Later in the chat, he was asked about the steroid issue:

12:13 [Comment From Nick MD]
Is it safe to say that we can now assume that David Ortiz took steriods? He is having the classic steriod breakdown that players have. Thoughts?

12:14 Tony Massarotti:: I don’t think we can “assume” anything until there is a reason to. I am very reluctant to make these sorts of accusations without some definitive proof. That’s why most media people don’t just throw names out there. Too risky.

So wait, the other day he criticizes the Boston fans for having “spent relatively little time wondering about the ramifications” of the steroid era on our players while “in our cozy little cocoon.”

But at the same time, we can’t make assumptions, or accusations, especially against the guy Tony wrote a book with. I see.

And more:

12:55 [Comment From Janice Harwood]
Tony, why isn’t anyone looking deeper into this reported meeting with the Duquette Sox where a doctor may have spoken to players about the advantages of using steroids in front of a consenting front office? Was there any buzz about this practice back then where you were covering the team? And was there any buzz about Manny Ramirez’s activities back in 2002-2008 that could have been reported on?

12:57 Tony Massarotti:: I think we are looking deeper, but it’s hard to prove one person’s word versus another. Merloni has clarified his statements some, saying the team never “promoted” steroids so much as they were aware that use existed. I think we all knew that, but it’s a different matter when a player (or former player) says it. To me, it’s akin to a HS rally on drug use. We KNOW kids are using; we just don’t know which ones.

12:58 Tony Massarotti:: At the time, I can assure you there was no buzz. And if there was something shady about Manny that we knew of, we would have reported it.

12:58 Tony Massarotti:: Still, criticisms of the media during the steroids area are legitimate. We didn’t understand the magnitude of the problem, either, until it was too late. Shame on us.

Wait, is KNOWING (but not really) the same as assuming, or not? I’m confused. So it’s fine to assume in general but not in specifics? How does that work?

He says there was no “buzz” about Manny, yet we’re the suckers for believing that he was clean while here?

The last bit the media not understanding the magnitude of the problem reads good at first glance, but did they not understand it, or did they just ignore it? The guy who reported about seeing all the stuff in Mark McGwire’s locker, Steve Wilstein was villified and treated as an outcast by his media colleagues for what he reported.

“Shame on us” – Not “me,” Nothing saying “I screwed up” but making into a collective act, without personal responsibility.

Still, it’s better than nothing. I doubt however, that we’ll see that kind of admission in a column.

Tony Massarotti Shows That He Hates The Fans Again

I’m loathe to even link this, but Tony Massarotti has proven once again, that yes, he does hate you.

  • You “cheer for laundry above all else. “
  • You have a “tendency and willingness to look away when something like this happens” – referring to Manny Ramirez’s suspension, of course.
  • You won’t examine “whether the Red Sox cheated their way to a world title” because it is “far too messy a task.”

Yes, Massarotti asserts, Manny Ramirez was “almost certainly” using PEDs during his stay in Boston too, but the fans won’t acknowledge that.

I’ll just ask one question. Where was the intrepid Tony Massarotti when this was all going down right on his own beat? He chides the Boston fans for believing their own players were clean, yet he never reported otherwise. Massarotti was on the Red Sox beat during the height of the steroid era. All this was supposedly happening right under his nose. We never heard him say a word about it.

But it is the fans who are blind.

Do we really think Massarotti would’ve ratted out anyone in the Red Sox clubhouse had he known about it? As the wise man Butch Stearns once said, I’m not so sure about that.

And as far as the Red Sox “cheating their way to a world title,” apparently he hasn’t read the work of his Boston.com colleague Chad Finn, who stated last Friday that It is ludicrous to suggest that yesterday’s sad revelation has any bearing whatsoever on the Red Sox’ world championships in 2004 and 2007.

Finn, unlike Massarotti, does a little homework, and notes that every single World Series champion between 1995 and 2004 had, at the very least, one player who has since been associated with steroids or other PEDs.

If people want to bring the Red Sox down, than all those other teams are coming down, too.

Reiss’ Pieces “Live Blog” on Sunday Night

Boston.com announced today that they will live blog Sunday night’s Patriots/Colts game using the Cover It Live software. (BSMW’s David Scott was an early adopter of the technology) They say this will allow for much quicker updates, while also allowing readers to interact with the writers during the game itself.

It’s an interesting experiment and might be worth checking out.

I do see a downside to doing it this way, and it goes like this: Oftentimes, if I’m out watching the game at a friend’s house, or even at home and I see something that I might want some more information on (an injury, or incident during the game), rather than going to a computer, or pulling out the laptop, I’ll often grab my phone and pull up Google Reader Mobile, where I have subscribed to the Reiss’ Pieces RSS feed. Then I can see on my phone what information Mike, or the other writers might have about the situation. I don’t see a way to do this with this way of blogging the game.

This brings me to another item that I’ve noticed that Boston.com has changed recently. Apparently they have turned off full feeds in their blogs, at least the ones that I’ve noticed (including Reiss’ Pieces). This is incredibly annoying. Readers now only receive a headline and perhaps one sentence summing up the entry, and are forced to click through to read the entire entry.

While I understand the reasoning behind this (more click throughs=more page views=more advertisements being shown) it is still an inconvenience, especially when we go back to the cell phone user. Before, in Google Reader Mobile, I could read the entries right in the application, and get the information I was looking for, now they require a click-through, and a whole new page – not always formatted optimally for the cell phone – has to be loaded, which giving the connection speeds, can take quite a while.

Not really the “instant information” fix I’m looking for in those situations.

Finally, I understand that online video is the hot thing right now, but I don’t always want it. I know some readers have complained about the videos, noting that they can’t view them from work,  (or from cell phones again) or the computer they’re using can’t view them. For me, it’s a time thing. I don’t want to sit through a 3 minute video when I can read the same thing in 30 seconds. With some of the videos I simply don’t understand the appeal. Why do I want to see Dan Shaughnessy or Tony Massarotti from the Garden giving their views on the just-completed Celtics game? These videos are also being shoehorned into the blog entries, and while there are a few that are informative, for the most part, Boston.com would be better served just putting the material into text.

I like a lot of what Boston.com is doing to bring sports fans the latest information, these were just a few things I’d like to see improved.

Tony ‘Miserable’ Massarotti In Top Form

We knew that Tony Massarotti hates the Patriots and their fans, and he has continued his slanted coverage of them in his new role at the Boston Globe.

While his Red Sox coverage is generally shiny and positive, his Patriots postings consist of things like Tony’s Top 5 most disturbing statistics about the Patriots. You know, Patriots fans probably aren’t feeling all that great already, and Tony feels the need to pile on more misery, even though the season has already gotten as disturbing as it can be. Now that posting is from a few days ago, and I just now got around to seeing it. Lucky me.

His first statistic is an old standby.

With Tom Brady as his starter, Bill Belichick has a career record of 87-24. Without Brady, Belichick is 43-58. As Bill Parcells might say, you are what you are. As Belichick might say, it is what it is.

How many times is this going to be trotted out there? First used by Ron Borges, this stat has been repeated over and over and over again by the self-proclamed “objective” members of the meda.

How come no one says: “With David Ortiz on his roster, Terry Francona has a career record of 468-338. Without Ortiz, Francona is 285-363. As Bill Parcells might say, you are what you are. As Belichick might say, it is what it is.”

How about: “With Kevin Garnett on his roster, Doc Rivers has a career record of 66-16. Without Garnett, Rivers is 273-312. As Bill Parcells might say, you are what you are. As Belichick might say, it is what it is.”

No, you don’t hear either of those. It’s only Belichick that this stuff gets applied to.

I prefer to turn it around and say Belichick’s career record without stiffs like Bernie Kosar and Drew Bledsoe is 105-46. (Something like that anyway…I’m counting the second half of the ’93 season after Kosar was cut, and all of the ’94 and ’95 seasons, and not counting the first 18 games of his New England career when Bledsoe was the QB.)

Massarotti Debuts at Boston.com

Tony Massarotti has landed in his new space over at Boston.com. It appears a large part of Massarotti’s section will be Tony’s Top Five – his look at the top five sports stories in Boston at the moment.

Massarotti states what his role is going to be as follows:

In recent years, as the Internet has continued to grow and informational distribution has changed, a predictable and indisputable chasm formed between old media and new media. Our hope is to bring you the best of both worlds — the accountability and access of the old school with the speed, ingenuity, and interplay of the new. Certainly, we are going to make our mistakes along the way. Unfortunately, failure is almost always a side effect of development and growth.

Nice sentiments, but I hope that Massarotti isn’t inferring that those “best” qualities of each are mutually exclusive. “Accountability” in my mind hasn’t been synonymous with “old school media” in some time.

Also on Boston.com, Chad Finn continues his more frequent updates on his Touching All The Bases Blog. In the Reiss’ Pieces blog this morning, Finn was mentioned as part of the team that will be updated that blog, noting that he will be updating the blog from time to time with news.

Globe Shuffles Things Up, Adds Massarotti

The Boston Globe this afternoon announced in a memo a number of changes to the sports department. Adam Reilly has the memo outlining the moves.

The biggest is the addition of Tony Massarotti to the Globe in “a newly created position as he will become the face and voice of boston.com sports.” He will also contribute to the print edition of the paper. Massarotti starts his new job the first week of September.

Amalie Benjamin was officially named the Red Sox beat writer, replacing Gordon Edes, who recently departed for Yahoo! sports.

BSMW favorite Chad Finn also gets a promotion to a newly created position, that of “sports news reporter for boston.com.” Finn will be keeping the page updated throughout the day with “fresh and interesting items.” He will also begin this job in the first week of September.

The paper also announced that Corey Allen will be replacing Finn’s role as part-time copy editor.

Some interesting moves here by sports editor Joe Sullivan. The Globe takes Massarotti away from the Herald, and with Rob Bradford having already left for WEEI.com, this move further weakens the baseball staff at the tabloid. Massarotti loses his WEEI gigs, though he had already scaled them back considerably over the last year. The Globe needed a new columnist/voice under the age of 50, and they get that in Massarotti. I just hope that this sort of stuff doesn’t come over with him. Now that he’s not going to be writing for a tabloid that often uses sensationalism to sell papers, hopefully Massarotti’s style will stick to the analytical, smooth style that comes through in most of his columns. Besides, the Globe already has one Dan Shaughnessy.

Benjamin has her fans on the Red Sox beat, and this move was expected all along. She’s not spectacular, but is competent and enthusiastic for the job. Nick Cafardo likely didn’t want the full-time travel that goes with the job.

It will be most interesting to see what Finn does with Boston.com, and what, if any, design changes are in store for the site. It will be good to have more writing and content from Finn, who has certainly paid his dues, and now is being rewarded with what could be his dream gig. Finn’s obvious love and passion for sports, coupled with his humor make this a very good promotion for the Globe and boston.com.

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In New York sports media news, Neil Best reports that Mike and the Mad Dog is no longer, as Chris Russo has left WFAN.

Approval Ratings – Tony Massarotti

Tony Massarotti, come on down…

Massarotti has been with the Herald since 1989, as he joined the paper fresh from Tufts University. He was the Massachusetts Winner of the 2001 National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Sportswriter of the Year award.

He’s been covering the Red Sox since 1994, but in recent years has moved into more of a general columnist role. With a few exceptions, his columns on sports outside of baseball usually tend to be on the negative side, and his recent column attacking Patriots fans alienated many readers.

He is highly visible on the Boston sports media scene, appearing on WEEI, Comcast SportsNet, NESN and WHDH TV.

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Tony Massarotti Approval Ratings
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