“Goodbye Chargers-Hello Trouble”
The Chargers are gone, and left behind, bitterness, resentment, still simmering anger, and emptiness.
That surround the fans, and that problem now enveloping the media.
Now the newspaper has a real issues. What to write, what to talk about, in a community raging over the loss of the franchise.
The Union-Tribune got rid of its NFL writer, Michael Gehlken, since gone to cover the Raiders for the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Left behind is know-it all NFL columnist Kevin Acee, who no longer has a team to write about, and is no longer welcome within the Chargers inner-circle for calling departing owner Dean Spanos, “a coward”, rightfully so, for refusing to negotiate with the city and county, nor meet with the media.
But the UT has a nitemare on its hands now in terms of content. What does Sports Editor Jay Posner do to fill up all those column inches that used to be taken up by the Chargers storylines.
Game stories, columns, notes, features. What once was a ‘must read’ by the fans, is now an enormous turn-off by readership. Incensed by all Team Spanos did, they no longer want that content.
The UT has decided only to run reprints of the parent LA Times stories, a true turnoff.
How bad has it gotten?
Looking for filler content, and that is all it is, Acee has authored columns “Who will Chargers fans root for now that their team has left town, turning their back on them?” Who cares what team Joe Six-Pack is going to root for.
Another piece, expansive in the column inches devoted to it, was a piece of the Padres uniforms, the bland Blue & White vs Bring Back the Brown. A real reach in terms of content.
And a puff piece on Ted Leitner, the Padres jack of all trades announcer, but that is stuff we have all heard from him, and read before.
The UT has also given us in depth written pieces of things like rugby, lacrosse, high school baseball, air races, all off the radar topics.
Yes, Mark Ziegler has continued to author long form pieces on all things Aztecs, and there have been extended pieces written on Soccer City-the MLS-Aztecs stadium, and rightfully so.
Padres coverage has been extensive, but how long and how often can you write about the future blueprint and the current teams struggles?
It is odd the decision making process there at the UT. They have given significant coverage to the Tijuana XOLOs, who play in another country, but have done very little, on the successful AHL-San Diego Gulls.
They ignore the once proud San Diego Sockers, whose franchise and league have almost become semi pro in stature.
If I were king, I’d dive into that think tank, and rethink, who you have on that staff, and what they should write.
Make Acee a true NFL columnist, travel him weekly, make him write NFL content.
Take one of your Padres writers, and make him your MLB national guy, same concept. It can not be all about the Padres weekly.
We may not have an NBA team, here, but up there, LA, we have two, so develop a concept of how you cover the National Basketball Association.
Allow Mark Ziegler to become a college basketball guru nationwide, to compliment his Aztecs coverage, and write it weekly.
Continue to let him excel in the Olympic venues with columns also coverage.
Find someone strong to be a college football columnist.
Put your exceptional golf writer Todd Leonard out on the PGA beat, for big events, and big stories.
Develop someone to cover NASCAR, Indy Car, Formula 1, and get him to write weekly.
Ditto for an upgrade of coverage in the Gulls, but expand that to all things American Hockey League and the NHL.
Expand John Maffei’s roles to more high school stories and a weekly high school notes column.
And re-insert what once was well read, the Radio-TV media columns the papers put out. Complimentary or critical, people paid attention.
Change the focus of the paper. Utilize the resources from the parent LA Times. Time to rethink content. And not just ‘cut and paste’ stories from the AP wire, of load it with big pictures, or fill up the agate page with stats.
The Chargers left a big void. The newspaper now has a big hole to fill in terms of what they put in the paper everyday.
Have to be bold. May have to spend some money differently. May have to force people to write alot more. But readers value opinions and information.
Make those guys from Nick Canepa to Bryce Miller, give us more. The same with those guys covering beats, or being sent out to cover things no one pays attention to. Re-brand your people, re-style the content.
This is a unique market, a melting pot from across America.
Who were the most popular guys in the newspapers you used to read back home? The Peter Gammon’s-Boston Globe’s of the world. Mike Lupica and all things in New York. The columnists like Tony Kornheiser in Washington, or the guys in LA-Philiadephia-Atlanta-St. Louis.
What’s wrong with going back to a formula that worked, re-defining jobs and the stories they file? Throwback columns, so people don’t throw out your newspaper.
What’s on TV now?. Lots of talking heads, lots of opinions. It seems to be working there. Why not here, in my morning paper tomorrow.
Opinions and notes columns, in a major market with people from everywhere. Better than what we’re getting right now for sure.
The Union Tribune should strive to develop that now, because this market would take to it, this market should probably demand it.
When I am king, that’s what I’d do, better than what’s being done now.