Working in the Coalmine

Andrea Canales wonders why there are so few local reporters around her beat.

And I think Scott Wolf provides an answer.

And complaining about your job is an odd way to build interest in the print media.

Most fans of the MLS don't get their news from print media anymore, and this is part of the reason. We've pretty much written off the print media, because their coverage of the MLS is this sort of grudging, resentful whining. After, what, thirteen solid years of negative local coverage, at least one team in the MLS is doing pretty well, according to my untrained eye. And as far as the other local team in the MLS, well, four years of coverage ranging from favorable to fawning hasn't helped them, to coin a phrase, one whit.

These two paragraphs just sum up the sort of coverage the MLS gets around these parts. Editors and publishers watch their numbers go down faster than INSERT YOUR LEAST FAVORITE FORWARD HERE. They notice the inexplicable popularity of David Beckman or whoever, and demand that their reporters cover Bentham at all costs.

Reporters bump into the following factors: (1) frosty relations between Galaxy and the local media long before this, thanks to the popularity of T.J. Simers-style snarky sports coverage; (2) the horrible experiences the Beckham family have had with the "legitimate" media of their home nation; (3) the motivation of both Team Beckham and AEG to Control The Message; and (4) said declining numbers of the local print media making it not cost-effective to spend time on skeptical local media instead of, say, goofball entertainment reporters or whatever.

Reporters thus fail deliver Beckham tidbits (and, to their credit, don't fall back on the English alternative of Just Making Crazy **** Up), and editors cut coverage of the MLS, punishing...who, exactly? Not fans of the MLS, who have long ago abandoned the printing press in favor of other outlets. Not teams in the MLS outside of Los Angeles, who don't pretend to need Beckham updates. Not the Chivas USA, who need Beckham coverage like they need more holes in their heads. And if the Galaxy are feeling the pinch, they're masking their agony pretty well, what with the leading the league in attendance thing they've got going.

Sadly, even if local media had raised its standards in covering the MLS, the numbers would have gone down anyway. The Internet is chewing up and spitting out Real Journalism right now, and since I've heard tales of useful and entertaining journalists in other cities who like the MLS and respect its fans also falling under the knife, I'm not going to say this is a Good Thing. Hell, Andrea Canales went on the Booze Bus to San Jose, and I didn't, so right now she's a better source for the Fan Experience than I am. It's a shame that soccer coverage is being cut - so is everything in print media. It was a shame when Scott French lost his Daily News gig, however the hell long ago that was. Three years or more? At some point, romanticizing printing press and wood pulp becomes the career equivalent of saying "I ain't a-movin'" when the hurricane is twenty miles offshore and closing fast.

But I don't miss the "different perspectives" of Jaime Cardenas and Billy Witz. I won't miss Luis Bueno, and I won't miss hearing about how David Beckham is aloof and unapproachable.

Especially seeing as how Beckham ain't such a bad sort after all, if you get to know him.