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Thread: Lack of Press Coverage for Skating Events

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    Lack of Press Coverage for Skating Events

    Well, here we are at the beginning of the 2004-2005 competitive figure skating season, and once again I expect that my local newspaper, "The Asbury Park Press" - which has a circulation over 500,000 - will print practically NOTHING on any of the figure skating events. The Grand Prix events are never mentioned while the Grand Prix final receives about one or two small paragraphs. The US Nationals does receive some coverage, but it's buried at the back of the sports section. The World Championships also receive some coverage, but very little.
    The only time figure skating is actually covered in depth in my newspaper is during the Winter Olympics, and as you can imagine, the coverage from Salt Lake City leaned very heavily towards the pairs judging controversy and very lightly on the actual competition.

    "The New York Times" and other major newspapers contain more figure skating coverage, but even they do not cover the Grand Prix events or the other non-World or Olympic events in any detail. The Goodwill Games is practially forgotten.

    Why is this? Really, this is so frustrating! Every single high school football, basketball, and baseball game receives pages of photos/coverage, and the pro sports fill the sports pages. Why are winter sports, and figure skating in particular, pushed to the back of the sports pages, if they are included at all?

    Could it be that the sports editors consider figure skating to be a performance and not a sport? Could it be that the biased judging has so turned off sports writers that they refuse to cover the events? Could it be that the sports editors are somehow unaware of the legions of figure skating fans who would love to read about these competitions?

    From reading this forum, it's obvious that there are many very enthusiastic, knowledgeable figure skating fans. I say that we pool our talents and contact our local newspapers and urge them to give figure skating some decent coverage, for a change. I can be a nudge - no problem!

  2. #2
    On the Ice
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    Lack of Press Coverage for Skating Events

    At least we have the internet now. When I was growing up in the late 80's and early 90's we did not have the internet and I had to wait unitl nationals to hear anything about figure skating.

  3. #3
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Usfsa Should Contact The Newspapers

    With a circulation of half million, the newspaper and it's sports editor should receive news of such events I think the USFSA should have a listing of all medium to large newspapers and send PRESS RELEASES to their sports editors. The Asbury Park Press could even hire someone like yourself to cover the story when the event takes place,

    Joe

  4. #4
    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    I call the sports department at our local paper every year with this very complaint. I have been told first that of course they can't end anyone to cover the events (gotta cover NASCAR). After that it's "We will see what we can do".

    ESPN as we speak is showing two bimbos with men in polyester and bad wigs portraying the Pete Rose story to be followed by World Championship Poker, so I don't think the Figure Skating is not a sport argument is a valid one.

    Anyone else think Pete Rose looks like Moe Howard?

  5. #5
    Down With It
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    Well, I assume the press cover events that the majority or a significant amount of people would like to know about. I just don't think enough interest is there to give the news press and the TV stations an incentive to give Figure Skating more in-depth coverage during the non-Olympic years. Sad, maybe, but true.

  6. #6
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    Well, our Laura Lepisto won a JGP competition and I did not notice it even being mentioned in the newspaper. And that is something extermely rare if a Finn wins any skating competition of any level, LOL!

    Marjaana

  7. #7
    Rinkside
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    One of the main problems is this: most sports editors are men, and most
    of them do not follow figure skating, do not care about figure skating, and do not think that the readers of the sports pages care about it. Of course, that's a generalization, but it's often the case.

  8. #8
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Our newspapers are usually inundated with hockey, hockey and more hockey. To ad fininitum. Figure skating gets burried on the last page. Unless of course, it's the Olympics or the Worlds (especially if they are being held here in Vancouver).

    Now, with the Hockey strike on it's unusual not to see some hockey player on the front page or featured in the sports section. Also the radio talk shows are having a hard time finding material to talk about.

    Figure skating has always had a low profile as far as the media goes - not enough drama - aside from the Harding/Kerrigan scandal. It's always been an elite sort of sport and does not attract huge media attention.

    Like everything, sales and profit are the bottom line. Newspapers - at least in this neck of the woods - know Hockey is what sells their papers - not figure skating. Alas, figure skating is relegated to the last page.....

  9. #9
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    All of the above posters have genuine gripes with their local media. My suggestion would be to print out a USFSA newsletter about an impending fs event and send it to the Sports Editor of your local media (print, radio, TV, etc)

    Newspapers, in particular, are always looking for fillers to even out the print on one edition, and TV could use a 'filler' to conclude it's reporting instead of making dumb jokes with one another.

    Joe

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    Lindsay DeWall is US Figure Skating's new Director of Media Relations who is in charge of sending out their press releases to the national media. If you have specific ideas/comments/suggestions for getting skating mentioned in your local media, I recommend sending her an email at ldewall@usfigureskating.org

  11. #11
    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peaches1972
    At least we have the internet now. When I was growing up in the late 80's and early 90's we did not have the internet and I had to wait unitl nationals to hear anything about figure skating.

    ITA! And if you thought the late 80s were bad, you should have been following it during the EARLY 80s!! :sheesh: It was about 1985 before I realized that the Nationals, Europeans, and Worlds actually indicated the END of the season and not the beginning..... Tho I do notice that coverage seems to be diminishing more each year, at least in print media. Sports Illustrated used to have 3 page Worlds articles, but haven't since '97, nowadays if they get mentioned at all it's in a blurb in the front section.

    However -- it's still better than being in Australia during Worlds week, which I was in 2002. Talk about Thank God for the Internet!! Not WORD ONE in any of the papers there. Now, I realize that it's hardly a big sport down there, and also it was National Swimming Championships week -- however, I would have thought they would have at LEAST thrown in a little tiny paragraph somewhere mentioning Anthony Liu, given that that year he'd posted the best ever Australian Worlds showing -- but not a word. This is when I decided that there was just no way I could ever live down there!!

  12. #12
    Tripping on the Podium
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    GoldPatina27 summarized quite nicely the majority of newspapers and their sports departments. Unless you have a local major training center to catch their interest and someone in the sports department even willing to report on skating, all the news memos in the world will end up in the circular basket. Local town newspapers are more willing to come to a local rink and do a small story on a skater that has something to tell the public - and then only if you approach them repeatedly.

    It has taken years for the Hartford Courant to even begin reporting National/international skating results. Then they finally began doing a story here and there about someone at the Simsbury rink (because of the elite skaters high profiles.) The reporter was poor at first but gradually his reporting became better and now is quite good.

    And the internet has played a significant role in getting the word out and quickly. But the old stigma of figure skating not being a manly sport or interesting to men lingers.

  13. #13
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    LI Newsday used to report quite a lot about figure skating because Sarah Hughes lived in Great Neck, LI. The LA Times often has columns about figure skating because of course Michelle Kwan is a Southern Californian. So there are a few newspapers that do talk about figure skating, but they are few and far between and in many cases, they are local papers.

    When the NY Times does deign to feature stories about figure skating, often they assign a reporter who knows diddly squat about the sport and it shows. Last January, after the Nationals SP, they all but crowned Sasha Cohen the new US figure skating champion, probably because they hadn't done any research and didn't know that Sasha usually has problems in the FS at major events.

  14. #14
    SkateFan4Life
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    With a circulation of half million, the newspaper and it's sports editor should receive news of such events I think the USFSA should have a listing of all medium to large newspapers and send PRESS RELEASES to their sports editors. The Asbury Park Press could even hire someone like yourself to cover the story when the event takes place,

    Joe
    What a WONDERFUL idea!! I'll gladly cover the Nationals, Worlds, and Olympics for the A.P. Press. Fat chance, however, as nearly all of the sports writers are guys, and I suspect they assume that all sports fans, or at least the vast majority of them, are overweight, beer-guzzling couch potatoes who get their kicks out of watching other guys throw each other around on football fields, slam each other on wrestling mats, etc.

    Actually, I do write part-time for a local weekly newspaper, but that's just a "fun" job - it doesn't pay the bills. Of course, I could casually suggest to the editor that I take a "little trip" to US Nationals to report on any skaters who happen to be from NJ. Again, fat chance. The sports section contains nothing but local high school football, basketball, and baseball, all of which have a huge following around here. If you asked some of the locals if they ever watched figure skating,
    they might reply, "What's that?"

    The local ice rink in my area was, at one time, the training site for Alexi Yagudin and Usova/Platov. The press weren't allowed inside to watch them practice.
    I wasn't writing for the paper then. If they were still out there, you can be very sure I would finagle a way to "attend" one of their practices and, hopefully, speak with them. Alas.

  15. #15
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    Not just figure skating

    It's not just figure skating. There are PLENTY of other sports that get no coverage in local papers.

    BTW, ever notice how often a woman in any sport gets the cover of SI? Aside from the swimsuit models that is...

    Linny

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