2011 Approval Ratings – Stephen Harris

Continuing our Bruins theme, today we bring you Boston Herald Bruins writer Stephen Harris.

Harris is a Herald lifer, first covering the Bruins beat back in 1979. During a period in the 1980’s he was the Red Sox beat writer for the paper, but for the most part, he’s been covering the Bruins. Harris is the lead writer on the beat, doing the analysis and overview pieces for the paper.

He is also the closest that the Herald might have to an Olympic writer, having covered seven Olympic games during his career with the paper

You don’t see him on television, you don’t hear him on the radio (all that often anyway,)  so he might not be well known to you, but if you’re a longtime Bruins follower, you’ve surely read his work in the Herald.

He lives west of Boston with his wife and two sons.

{democracy:100}

Mainstream Media Review: BostonHerald.com

As Bruce is on vacation this week. BSMW will be featuring reviews of some of the websites and content from several Mainstream Media outlets this week.

The Boston Herald is firmly entrenched as the second newspaper in Boston, and despite the financial setbacks common in the newspaper industry these days, has remained a solid spot for Boston sports fans to receive the latest news on their favorite teams.

The Herald’s website has been pretty consistent in its look and feel over the last several years. There is a lot of information, but it is fairly easy to sort through. The BostonHerald.com sports homepage gives you the top stories of the day in the top section, with individual sections for ten other sports below that. A widget in the top right allows you to choose from the most recent sports headlines, or the most popular articles from that day. Below that is a window showing a few of their recently updated blogs.

Navigation is fairly straightforward, each team/sport has a link at the top, and when you go to each sub-page, the recent articles are lined up in the middle column top to bottom, with various widgets (team standings, blog links, top articles, etc) scattered in the sidebars.

In terms of the content, the Herald has shown a willingness to experiment. This season for instance, they have pretty much abandoned the typical “game story” in favor of the “Red Sox Recap” which highlights a number of the top storylines from the game, noteworthy stats, quotes, and a peek at the next game. (Not all that unlike what Jon Couture has been doing the last two seasons over at the Standard Times.)  The Red Sox beat is manned by stalwart Michael Silverman, newcomer Scott Lauber, and the controversial John Tomase. Tomase of course is best-known for the “tape-gate” scandal, details of which don’t need to be rehashed here. To his credit, Tomase has attempted to keep his head down and just do his job since coming on the Red Sox beat, but the fallout from the incident continues to taint his converage in the eyes of many readers, some of whom swore off the Herald forever in the wake of the incident.

Football coverage is handled by veteran Karen Guregian and Ian Rapoport, who joined the paper prior to last season, and immediately proceeded to start filling up his blog The Rap Sheet with everything Patriots related (and sometimes not). He’s been a great hire for them – a top-notch reporter who can also have some fun with his job. He’s been refreshing, as unlike many of his colleagues, he doesn’t take shots, and even when people disagree with him, I’ve never seen him get nasty when interacting with readers on Twitter on in comment sections.

The Celtics and Bruins beats are truly the old guard. That’s not meant as an insult. Between Stephen Harris and Steve Conroy on the Bruins and Steve Bulpett and Mark Murphy on the Celtics, there is about 100 years of Boston Herald experience between the four of them. All of these guys are old-school, solid reporters, who do their jobs under the radar, putting the attention on the teams they cover, rather than themselves. Of the four, Bulpett might make the occasional multi-media appearance, but most of the time, these four are just reporting and commenting on the teams they are assigned to.

Columnists include Steve Buckley and Ron Borges, who are both well known to Boston fans, probably for much different reasons.

The Herald attempts to promote breaking news with a yellow banner at the top of the page. Sometimes the news isn’t always “breaking,” but rather the most recent story. The screenshot above is an example of this. The struggles of Victor Martinez for the first month of the season wasn’t exactly breaking news, but instead, they decided to put the banner up to promote a rather nondescript Scott Lauber article on Martinez’s struggles.

The Herald website hasn’t quite embraced technology the way Boston.com has, videos are less common, chats less frequent, and they don’t really have an internet-only side other than the blogs. The content is generally pretty solid, and if you’re a diehard Boston sports fan, the Herald might not be your first stop in the morning, but it definitely should be on your list to visit sometime during the course of the day.

Bodden Is Back With The Patriots – Or Is He?

Last night there was quite a ruckus on Twitter as two very respected football reporters Michael Lombardi and Adam Schefter both reported that Leigh Bodden would be re-signing with the Patriots. Both guys are right far more than they’re wrong, especially Schefter, whose word I pretty much take as gospel these days. Meanwhile, Bodden’s agent, Alvin Keels was posting that nothing was done, or even agreed to.

We’ll see what happens today. If I had to bet, I’m siding with Schefter/Lombardi.

Speaking of the NFL free agency period, while Mike Reiss, Tom Curran, Christopher Price, Shalise Manza Young and Albert Breer have all done their usual solid jobs, I think the star of the first few days has been the Herald’s Ian Rapoport. He’s consistently brought good information, and angles and insight that some of the others have missed at times. The Rap Sheet has become a must-follow destination for Patriots fans, and he has been tearing it up on Twitter as well.

Otherwise, it’s a fairly slow day today with both the Celtics and Bruins off last night.

Selection of Tom Brady Makes 2000 Draft One to Remember – Jeff Howe concludes his series of reviewing the Patriots drafts under Bill Belichick with the coach’s first draft, one that is memorable for a certain sixth-round selection.

Patriots air of infallibility is waning – A good article from Tom E Curran, but headlines like that one really turn me off, and many times make me not want to even look at the article underneath the headline. Who ever said the Patriots were infallible? Who? C’mon. The article itself is candid, frank, without pushing silly agendas, but the headline is just dumb. (I know, Curran probably didn’t create it.)

Fielding more than his share of bad hops – Gordon Edes looks at how Dustin Pedroia used baseball as his focus when off-field things weren’t going so well for him last season. I also enjoyed this blog entry from Edes on Jose Iglesias in which Edes is giddy as a schoolboy over the potential of the phenom shortstop, and wonders if the Red Sox should put him right in the majors to start the season.

Why some Red Sox pitchers like throwing to some Red Sox catchers – The title of Rob Bradfords article this morning explains it all.

Big performances: Young trio impresses – Michael Silverman has a trio of young, gifted and intriguing outfielders making an impression on the Red Sox yesterday.

Beckett, Martinez on learning curve – Sean McAdam with another strong notebook from the action of yesterday.

La Russa still mover, shaker – Bob Ryan talks to Tony La Russa about his 33 years as a big league manager.

Hits like this don’t belong in hockey – Mike Loftus weighs in on the hit that Penguins forward Matt Cooke laid on Marc Savard Sunday.

Marc Savard fuzzy on details – Stephen Harris gets props for catching up with Savard at the Pittsburgh airport yesterday to talk to him about the hit and how he’s feeling.

Lockdown defense steadies KG – Chris Forsberg says that Kevin Garnett’s defensive performance down the stretch on Sunday night should be encouraging to Celtics fans.

Relentless defense critical to Celtics – Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics performance on defense in the last six minutes Sunday night showed that they are still capable of locking down an opponent, and that gives them no excuses going forward.

Also check out Greg Doyle’s Q&A With UNH TE Scott Sicko, who has gathered some interest from pro scouts.

Elsewhere, I was also disappointed with the news that Alice Cook was tossed at Ch. 4 after 25 years of service to the station. With the decreased amount of time that newscasts are giving to the sports segments, it makes sense to keep the rosters small, but I always enjoyed the job that Cook did, both with the sports reports, and on the Patriots pre and post game shows.