Baltimore’s Oriole-less Newspaper

Print is dying. We all know that. Newspapers are bleeding out and have been for years.

The Baltimore Sun makes no secret of its slow, painful demise. The newspaper, owned by the Tribune Corporation, is really a sad skeleton of what it used to be.

But The Sun hung onto its decent sports coverage, even when it was laying off reporters and closing bureaus. The last good reason to read The Baltimore Sun was Orioles, Ravens and Terps coverage. Cause heaven knows, they didn’t cover much else.

But this baseball season has brought a weird trend. Look at the paper this morning. The front page features some stories about crime and guns. Nothing new there. There’s a story about fish in the Susquehanna River. That’s kind of interesting. And there’s a big Photoshopped banner talking about the Notre Dame lineman the Ravens drafted last night. At the bottom of the front page, as big as any news item, is an advertisement from the Orioles, urging you to buy tickets to the this weekend’s series against the White Sox.

No mention whatsoever of Baltimore’s 10-2 smackdown of the Sox last night.

That’s OK. After all, it was NFL Draft Day and football rules the world. So let’s take a look at the sports section.

The lead story involves a huge photo of Roger Goodell and new Raven Ronnie Stanley, posing with a Ravens jersey. Never seen THAT one before! Nice job, Sun! It’s accompanied by a story and a column by grouchy Mike Preston, declaring the draft a bust.

We also have lacrosse coverage. (gaaack!)

The only Orioles story on the front of the sports page is a piece by beat writer Eduardo Encina about last year’s O’s-White Sox game played in front of zero fans during the city’s post-Freddie Gray unrest lockdown.

The game story and the first mention of Thursday’s win is at the bottom of page 4 of the sports section. Page 4? The story ran a scant 330 words, followed by a handful of notes items.

How do you not put the game story on the front the hometown paper’s sports section? This seems to be The Sun’s new MO: run feature or bio stories about players and bury the game. What’s the idea? Are they hiding the score and details of last night’s game?

Does your hometown paper do this? I don’t get it. Even the tease at the top of the front page doesn’t mention the game. Two items – the death of Joe Durham, the first African American to homer for the Orioles and the score of last night’s Capitals-Penguins playoff game – occupy the tease space.

Durham belongs there. He was a historic figure and his death is a genuine loss. The Caps-Pens? Last time I looked, the Caps play in Washington, not Baltimore. To put an out-of-town NHL score on the front page of the Baltimore Sun while leaving off last night’s Orioles home victory over a good team is sorry home-team coverage.

One comment

  • The Cleveland Plain-Dealer is mum on the matter, but I don’t believe they’re sending writers out on Cleveland’s road trips this year.

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