The Washington Times has decided to close its sports desk.
If anyone thinks this is good, that this is the sort of “creative destruction” that a vibrant economy needs to grow, this fan is here to tell you, “bullshit!”
Sports is the “music” of the high school curriculum, seen as something of a luxury item in a newspaper that aspires to bigger things, seen as something that can be discarded so that the “real” business of news or education can proceed when things might not be going so well when it comes to the economics of it.
Truth be told, and politics aside, the Washington Times sports section was the only thing leading me to put some coins in the box most every morning and read the Times. And Corey Masisak was one of those writers who did a splendid job on his beat, which happened to be covering the Washington Capitals. His was a particularly hard job to do in that he was coming on the heels of a legend in the Washington sports media universe. Replacing a “hall of famer" – the late Dave Fay, who is remembered at the Hall of Fame for his winning the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for his distinguished career in newspaper journalism – is a tough act to perform.
We had the pleasure of knowing Corey only through his words – his beat coverage of the team, his “In the Room" blog, and his frequent Twitter updates. To call his body of work a “must read” for Caps fans is faint praise indeed. He had grown into a worthy successor to the beat Dave Fay walked for so many years.
Unfortunately, that body of work rests incomplete because of decisions made in the corporate offices of the Times. These are tough times indeed, doubly so for newspapers, a medium that finds itself in jeopardy of extinction itself. But the tough times will pass, as they always seem to do in a vibrant economy. What won’t pass, it appears, are the tough times that Caps fans will now endure without Corey Masisak lending his voice to the coverage of the team on its march (we hope) to a Stanley Cup.
There are those who have, and no doubt will, spout crocodile tears over the demise of one more piece of the newspaper industry. We’ll hear how newspapers don’t get it, how they haven’t kept up with new media techniques and technologies, that online news and the emergence of bloggers is where the medium is headed, and so on.
Well, we think that sentiment is so much nonsense, and we think Corey “got it” in a big way, as did many of his colleagues at the Times. The Washington sports community is diminished for his, and their absence. In his last entry, Corey states:
“When I started covering this team I knew there were shoes too big for me to fill when Dave Fay passed away, but I am positive the standards and expectations set by his work made me work as hard and I could.”
Well, as one reader, let me say this. If Dave Fay’s shoes couldn’t be filled, you certainly wore them comfortably. You and your words will be missed. Here is hoping we get to read them again very soon.