Claws Out

by Ryan

If you ask most newspaper people, the Associated Press is a necessary evil. Canned news stories may not be the best of reads, but not every daily on the planet can be there to cover everything of interest. Small papers need national stories, and a major news conglomerate like the AP is the place to get it.

However, when it comes to sports coverage the Press is all but pointless. The stories are generic and vague, and with budget cuts the coverage is shrinking by the day. Oftentimes their national perspective means the stories the local readership wants, and sports fans these days want as much information as possible.

The Sabres want their website to garner more hits yet they refuse to employ people writing game stories. Instead they write features and farm out the heavy lifting to the AP. We can get that story in at least five other places (including NHL.com along with the real highlights), why would we waste the page view to find it on Sabres.com?

tallon09But that’s not what we’re here to talk about, at least not today. This afternoon let’s look at this tepid pile of garbage. Now I’m not going to FJM it, but only because it’s already formulaic enough on its own. The story attempts to be a summary of former Blackhawks GM Dave Tallon’s reaction to the coup executed in Chicago over the weekend.

Instead, it reads like a recap of a conference call, which is exactly where it came from. I have no way of confirming whether Andrew Seligman was on the call or not, but it wouldn’t have mattered. All he had to do was read this and spend the next ten minutes or so doing the copy/paste thing. Now no real journalist would do a thing like that, but in Andrew’s case it would just save him the trouble of transcribing. Wouldn’t want things to get too complicated for him.

Poor story construction and questionable quote selection aside, let’s get to the real issue here:

On Tuesday, the Blackhawks moved him from general manager to senior adviser of hockey operations. Now, Stan Bowman, coach Scotty Bowman’s son, is the GM.

Anyone catch that? Coach Scotty Bowman? If I remember correctly, Blackhawks GM HockeyScotty Bowman retired from coaching years ago. He’s not the coach of the Blackhawks, or any other team. The team usually introduces him as “coaching legend Scotty Bowman”, but he serves as a senior advisor for Chicago, something well known within hockey circles.

Whether intentional or not, Seligman is wrong. Either he completely messed up his facts, or he was unclear in his writing and didn’t spend enough time with the fine details of the story. The entire purpose of the piece is Tallon’s reaction to this personnel move, so you simply must have a firm grasp on what that change is. At the very least, more than two sentences should have dealt with it.

Perhaps he was on a word count, but how about something like this:

On Tuesday the Blackhawks removed Tallon as general manager, replacing him with Stan Bowman. Bowman is the son of coaching legend Scotty Bowman, who serves as a senior advisor for the Blackhawks, the same position Tallon now holds.

Perhaps a bit messy but hey, I’m not the professional here. Apparently Seligman is, but clearly this wasn’t one of his better efforts.