Friday, January 01, 2010


If you go to the web site of the Washington Times this morning, you will find an entry there by Corey Masisak on his blog, “In the Room.” Don’t wait long to read it, for it is likely to be the last entry we will be seeing from Corey for a while (hopefully a very short while) and the last we will see from the Washington Times about the Capitals.

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.


NovaCath said...

I totally agree with you. Losing Corey is a big loss for Caps fans. I read a number of Caps-related blogs and those who think that blogs can totally replace newspapers are sadly mistaken. I enjoy your blog, but not all Caps- related blogs are as well written or provide as good analysis as yours does. Plus, most bloggers do this on the side and a number of the Caps-related blogs have ceased or consolidated, such as A View from the Cheap Seats and Red Skate. The beat writers are the ones who went to all the practices and games and being critical of the team, when necessary, is part of their job. Caps fans are lucky to still have blogs like yours to read, have Vogs and Stretch on the team site, and have Tarik and the Examiner, but losing Corey is a big loss. Best wishes to Corey for the future.

Hooks Orpik said...

It is a shame. Growing up near Richmond my father would almost religiously plunk his coins in the box and get the Washington Times, always leaving the sports section for me.

In the days before internet I literally grew up reading the work of guys like Thom Loverro, Dan Daly and Dave Fay. Their good work probably pushed and shaped me into writing just as much as anyone.

Again, just a shame. Hopefully all those displaced wind up back on their feet very quickly.