Is Local Media Coverage Keeping Pace with the Blues?
In the past I’ve been pretty vocal about my displeasure in the coverage (or lack of coverage) from the media in the St. Louis area. I give credit to the local scribes and the work they do yet those with the power to decide what story appears where I give a failing grade. As you’ll see in the post from March 9th, the Blues are in a rare position, sitting at the top of the NHL with only a few weeks left in the season. How did StlToday.com handle the story? As you can see above, the Blues rise to the top of the league is evidently not worth featuring.
St. Louis is a baseball town. I won’t argue or dispute that fact as the numbers really don’t lie. Coming off a World Series win, baseball has been the main topic of conversation even while the Blues have been dismantling each and every team they face for the better part of the last couple months. As soon as Spring Training started, St. Louis shifted full-time into baseball coverage. Not only is this evident in the paper but also on local news stations, radio broadcasts as well as the actual coverage of St. Louis Blues games which now feature previews of what Cardinals segments are running later in the week. I’ll give the last point a pass as Fox Sports Midwest does a tremendous job of bringing Blues hockey to my television set, so promoting their own content doesn’t bother me too much – just try and keep it out of the actual play-by-play.
However, on the whole the St. Louis media is failing. Yes, there have been occasional articles about the Blues from the main St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz. When he does chime in, usually his analysis is pretty accurate but it unfortunately comes from a man that spends the majority of his time discussing hypothetical situations surrounding the Rams and Cardinals rather than spending any real time on the team actually playing games that count.
Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch does a great job. He brings all the elements you’d want and expect from a beat reporter. Unfortunately, his articles are often left tucked away on the actual StlToday site, hidden from the view of the regular visitor that may not click through to the actual Blues page.
When it comes to local television and radio coverage about the Blues, that topic is just too embarrassing to cover. For the most part, the sports shows that air in St. Louis talk about everything but hockey. What are the Rams up to? How did Player X look walking from his car on the first day of Spring Training? What did Albert Pujols say in Anaheim now? Rarely will you hear any serious Blues talk despite the team looking its best in over 10 years. I’m not asking show hosts to pretend to talk about a sport they know nothing about – that’s almost more painful than not having any coverage. At the very least, they could bring in a knowledgeable hockey voice. St. Louis is full of them and has an outstanding blog scene, bringing some educated opinions to the listeners.
This isn’t a new trend. Coverage of the Blues has been lacking for years. I’ve been under the belief you must earn coverage. The Blues needed to right the ship and win some hockey games in order to deserve their spot in the headlines and their place in talk radio. I think it’s safe to say the Blues have done their part. They have become an elite team in the NHL. Now where’s the coverage?
To be fair the Blues have graced their way on to the front page of the Post in recent weeks. It’s not like they never have been featured. However, when the Blues took over first in the NHL, what was the response? As you can see above, there really wasn’t one. This has been the case all too often. If there is any story even slightly involving the Cardinals or Rams, the Blues are pushed aside regardless of how significant their story might be.
I think I speak out for a large majority of Blues fans that want to see more respect given to this team, especially at the local level – the National media is a topic for a different time. You can’t say the Blues haven’t earned it.
St. Louis may be a baseball town but it can also be a hockey town. There’s room for both.