One Reporter

It was a sad moment. Yesterday, prior to the Mavs – Warriors game I went through my pre game routine on the Gauntlet.  Over the years the number of people asking me questions has varied from game to game.  From as many as 10 to as of yesterday, one. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News was there to ask some questions.

There weren’t bloggers. There weren’t wire service writers.  Just Eddie.

I recognize that this is partially a function of the fact that we are in the 8th slot rather than in 1st place. I also recognize that if I resigned Dennis Rodman or brought in Terrel Owens for a 10 day, or did or said something controversial that would change over night.

The Morning News and all the local papers and online and offline media are still covering the Mavs. We still get the ink, but the real question is what would happen if our local papers shut down and went online only ? How would we reach the casual fan that wont invest time to go to the online sports section or the Mavs website ?

Its a possibility I have to figure out how to deal with today

55 thoughts on “One Reporter

  1. Like others I too find it intereting the number of people blogging that say print is dead, and then quote or lament their lack of coverage. Seems like a case of crying Wolf in the case Mr. Cuban. I have read and heard you say many times that local papers don’t really serve a purpose.

    Comment by Scott -

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  3. Know what killed the newspapers? How about civic journalism?
    Newspapers no longer hold those in power to account. They rarely provide any news worth reading. And these young J-school grads are, in my opinion, a bunch of flunkies who wouldn’t know good eatin’ apple butter from baby crap.
    Maybe if the papers reported the news instead of relying on AP, Reuters or other manufactured content, people will read them.
    Also, again, just my opinion, newspapers should not be members of the local chamber of commerce. You would not believe the influence over the news that subversive organization has. Print a story they don’t like and you can kiss your advertisers “good bye”.
    Mark, I love “Bailout Slueth”. Keep up the good work.
    Can you devise “SEC Slueth” next?

    Comment by Philip -

  4. Mark – Now I know you are waaayyyyy smarter than I am, so I don’ intend for this to sound like a smart-ass comment. Here is a pretty simple answer to your question that could probably be found in many “Marketing 101″ books. The real trick is executing, which if anyone can figure out, you can!
    If you want to know how to reach the “casual fan that wont invest time to go to the online sports section or the Mavs website” just figure out “who they are” and either watch their behaviors or ask them about what else they like and do. This will give you what you need to know about how to reach them!
    For example, you might find the majority of your “casual fans” are males aged 44 and 65 who also play golf. Think you could figure out some ways to reach that bunch outside of print newspapers? I know I can, so I assume you can also!

    Good Luck!
    Oh by the way, if you ever need a marketing director for any of your companies, I would be interested! :-)

    Comment by Drew Hull -

  5. I can’t take credit for it but I heard someone mention something pretty thought provoking on the radio the other day regarding newspapers and the internet…

    What would happen if newspapers STOPPED publishing their content online and forced anyone who wanted to read their content to subscribe to the newspaper?

    It seems like they’re competing with themselves by publishing their content online and giving it away for free.

    Comment by LA Lakers Fan -

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  7. Mark,

    I work in public relations and we’re grabbling with this problem for many of our clients as well. Businesses tend to place more value in a clip — an article in a printed newspaper that they can hold in thier hands — even though the value might very well be stronger online, where that same article can be disseminated via Twitter, Facebook, other soical networks, even good old-fashioned email. It’s sad to see so many print newspapers struggling and unable to provide the same in-depth, thought-provoking coverage that we’re used to. However, no one seems to be providing any leadership in that industry. Instead of trying to figure out how to compete with the Internet, newspapers need to differentiate themselves from the web. Be better. Not just different. Absent that leadership, the online world will continue see its value increase. As a result, businesses need to shift their approach to media and communication.

    Heather (@prtini)

    Comment by Heather Whaling -

  8. Mr. Cuban – In the shadow of the demise of the local PRINTED paper you’re not alone. Big consolation there. I know… But, ask the grocer who can no longer reach customers broadscale with the free standing insert. Or, the car dealership. Or, the furniture store.

    Your 6.0th sense is telling you the change is underway. Work it! & GO MAVS!!

    Comment by Gerald Buckley -

  9. Was the twitter incident an attempt at this… I love your blog… just looking for ideas! LOL!

    (ps. if it was intentional it definitely doesn’t look like it… you’re good if it was meant to be!LOL)

    Comment by kenhendrix24 -

  10. The future is here and the NBA (old content) has been desperately clinging to yesterday’s business model.

    People, otherwise known as the fan, want what they have at the water cooler all the time — and technologies are readily available to meet their need. Where is the NBA on Facebook? Twitter? Streaming? Mobile? Same song, different and more efficient tune.

    You’re an owner — take some responsibility, get with it, or be left behind. Embrace your fans!!!

    Comment by Jason Nelson -

  11. I actually think its going to take a startup local/national newspaper to get it right. They will higher new and up and coming writers that have a passion for what they are covering and will do it for less money then a standard beat writer. Keep in mind these beat writers will be local and eliminatine travel costs and the will need to be able to cover the story from both sides. These people will probably have supplemental income from other freelance jobs in writing or a totally separate job.

    Now if this is a startup by a nobody, will you give that beat writer access Mark?

    Obviously the issue for a startup like this is distribution. I see the paper being free to start and the paper striking distribution deals with UPS or Fedex. They do it better than anyone and are already covering a massive amount of territory .

    Comment by Joe -

  12. As long as you own the Mavs I’ll be keeping an eye on them.

    Comment by Matt -

  13. Just a sports and life lesson opinion. Everything, really, runs in cycles. One reporter today, a hundred next season. How you achieve that next down the road convergence on your “Press Conferences” is determined by a future outcome of events. Short-term, that would be eliminating the Los Angeles Lakers in the Playoff’s. Advancing. Or another assigned opponent. Long-term, a winning streak. Next year. 30 games maybe, right off the bat in a row. Then 31, and 32 and 33 games in a row, until the record is tied. You couldn’t budge the Mav’s locker door open at such a time. Do to being over filld with 50 reporters, press, media and celebrities. But to, as you alluded in the blog maverick opening, “Do something controversial to change things immediaetly. A Dennis Rodman temp hiring stunt or such.” NEVER, get that idea completely eliminated from your thoughts. You can icertainly turn the entire franchise around with one achieavble focused concept, “winning.” Which creates excitement. Which stirs fans emotions. Which brings the Press.
    As already evidenced, The Mavericks are contenders. They made it into the Finals against the Miami Heat a few years back. My gosh, you were already there once. At the media’s darling attention. If you believe everything runs in cycles, and as an entire team you must all believe it then get ready for a second act. A major comeback turnaround. If not this season, then next.
    Pro Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry. There isn’t a chance in the universe if newspapers close down, professional sports information won’t be hand delivered to your ears and eyes via a giant brand new discovery. The risk of losing the populace fan base is inconceivable for even discussion.
    Advertisement/agencies/sport agencies alone would be and are working on it 24 hours a day. That is, how to keep you (the fan) informed, interested and updated with ALL Pro Sporting events and statistics. If is their lifeline.
    The fact that one reporter showed up for the “Press Conference” is, I agree, very shocking. This was a major Pro Sporting event. It probabaly won’t happen again. It’s just a cycle at it’s lowest point. Don’t hurry the cycle up though. Don’t pull a media stunt. Workwith the cycle and allow time passage. Short-term or long-term. But, like Kobe did in his situation two years back when he wasn’t happy and Lakers were not making the Playoff’s.He and the Lakers worked harder. Planned things out carefully and turned it all around. You’ll do the same I’m sure.

    Comment by patrick - NBA follower -

  14. I would love to cover the Mavs on our news site, Irving Weekly, but when we try to get access we are ignored because we are only online.

    I would also like to interview the players individually to have readers know them on and off the court.

    Comment by Hector -

  15. This has everything to do with the rapid demise of print media and little to do with winning. The Mavericks are in the playoffs, so they are winning. Maybe if they were in first place two more print reporters may have been sent to the game. But three print reporters is still a sad state of affairs. When I would go to Warriors games my father was covering in the 70s and 80s there were rows and rows of writers.

    As you and I have both blogged on over the past couple months, the old advertising based home delivery model isn’t working and we need to find a new model, fast, before the NYT and the WSJ are the last American daily papers

    I love your idea on having the teams fund a couple of beat writers per major league city, but that doesn’t seem to be picking up any steam.

    Hopefully your subscription model via cable services will be taken more seriously. I think its a great idea. We definitely need to think outside of the box.

    Not just sports, but this country in general, will be worse off without in-depth daily reporting….on sports, finance,local and international news and especially politics. The fourth estate is an important check and balance.

    Comment by Debbie -

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  17. It’s realy getting desperate.

    The Bay Area has seen some great writers (Geoff Lepper) cast off and forced to work on independent sites via blog and online networks. The Bay Area may have a broader online contingency than some places, I don’t know, and seems to still have about 4 newspapers too many, but losing talented coverage personnel is no good no matter what.

    Comment by Chris Cohan -

  18. If the medium is going online, support that. Be the first – jump to the head of the line by allowing online reporters press passes, etc. I shoot some sports photography and tried to get a pass to an NBA game to shoot one. It was denied. I wanted to go to the game anyways so I went. There were about 6 photographers there. And room for about what, 50? So mine was denied on what basis? Old policies most likely. Wasn’t a Mavs game though, FYI.

    If the only people who can get passes to ask you question are affiliated with traditional news media and those media are disappearing so is your coverage. Tell me how many online NBA bloggers are in Dallas and wouldn’t be THRILLED to cover the Mavs if you let them?

    Comment by pictureinfinity -

  19. The problem Mark IDs is that loss of local paper loses this particular channel to the casual fan not finding Mavs info elsewhere. In the paper, their attention is probably ambient — they may notice a headline. If they’re a casual fan, I’m not sure they’re even reading the game story or Cowlishaw column.

    So what to do? Well, Mark isn’t buying the DMN — as an entrepreneur, the economics are laughable, particularly for the print product.

    My first reaction was to create the newspaper version of a “time-buy” on TV: Quality editorial created by the team, placed in the paper but not at the cost of a traditional ad. In fact, sell ads on the page yourself and do a rev-share with the DMN. They won’t turn it down.

    But that won’t keep the paper version of the DMN from shuttering if the larger economics won’t support the business.

    If the DMN goes away, the casual fan will — by necessity — be forced to look elsewhere, not just for Mavs news but all other info. They will look to TV, radio, online, heck: the penny-saver at the supermarket.

    The point is to be more sophisticated about IDing where these casual fans are spending their time and reaching them there.

    The entire subject raises an interesting point about the value of “free media” for sports teams, and the dependence that has developed by teams on the free P.R. they get from local papers (which, obviously, in turn sell the access as ad space).

    You may need to consider that the era of the casual fan is over — if it even ever existed. Double-down on the avid fans — there’s one reason to court, not dismiss, the bloggers.

    If there aren’t enough avid fans to keep your business going and growing, that is an even larger problem.

    (BTW, avid fans are also the ones most likely to evangelize the product and use a lot of “word of mouth” to win over casual fans, as the commenter above correctly ID’d.)

    Comment by DS -

  20. I am not a knowledgeble sports fan. the only time I paid attention bobby Layne, Bob Cousy and Al Kaline were playing. Nonetheless, I have some observations about you blog comments:
    1. Winning will solve all problems.
    2. Have you read the local reporters’ columns? A lot of complaining and officious sounding punditry with virtually no really informative insights.I’ve learned more about basketball filtering out the puffery from Bob Ortegel’s comments and focusing the nuggets that remain than all the print articles I’ve read.
    3.Joe, above, had good ideas about raising the baskets in the NBA. Virtually no cost (unlike enlarging the courts) and would resolve my next question:
    4. Why can many 5 foot kids in youth leagues using 10 foot baskets shoot 50% from the field and 30% 3-pointers while many 6’8” NBA players can’t? Maybe the baskets are too short.
    5. Finally, why does Dallas have at least 4 pro sports teams with owners willing and able and trying to spend fortunes on talent, yet none of them can win the big ones? And at least three teams have star players repeatedly saying, “We just didn’t play hard enough?” Now, real serious and detailed analysis of those questions would be an interesting read.

    Comment by Mike -

  21. Problem: lack of an objective source for information regarding the (Mavericks) franchise.

    The newspapers are in some ways considered the official, objective, inside source regarding news. They have the contacts and walk the beat. As noted, most if not all blogs get their information from these “reliable” sources.

    The only suggestion I can make is to hire one or two beat writers of your own. These writers would have to be given a hands off approach, i.e. treated like they in essence work for someone else. Their objectivity would be questioned whenever a favorable article pops up, but if their writing is fair and objective it might work.

    A couple of things would need to be thought out and they revolve around two issues: one, how will management, players and “inside sources” react to someone who is essentially on the same payroll as they are? Second, what are grounds for termination? An outside reporter answers to their newspaper management, your reporter(s) answer to you.

    Comment by Sidney M -

  22. It’s inconceivable that we don’t have a local paper and wont invest time to go to the online sports section or the Mavs website .

    Comment by reddy -

  23. Even a single reporter can make a huge difference. Don’t be fooled by the apparent smallness of anything. Little things make a big difference. That’s The Power of Small.

    Comment by Rsouthan -

  24. Quick list of ideas:

    -Have a local TV show similar to Big Brother/Real World where your team is tracked CONSTANTLY. What do you guys have to hide? (except some top secret plays). THe more people watch your team and your players, the more they will be engaged by the characters and the team. Sports+reality television is the perfect combination – because they dont just sit on the couch all day looking boring, they go to battle on the court each night against the top athletes in the world.

    -Have the team be more involved in the community (I dont just mean BS NBA Cares program). Have team dinners in popular restaurants so fans see them, do some conditioning training in popular areas of the city, send your benchwarmers to do some marketing in offdays like a politician looking to get elected etc.

    -You’re probably the most entertaining sports franchise owner EVER. Take advantage of that, dont let anyone tell you otherwise..this is a form of ENTERTAINMENT. I’m a HUGE NBA fan (not a Dallas fan sorry), and I love to see owners involved in such a crazy way. It’s like the WWE where wrestlers have some guy ringside watching their back and always creating havoc.

    -You want a championship and this is probably the last shot before you have to ‘restructure’ the team. You’re playing the Lakers in the first round most probably…so go a little crazy, create some confusion in the Lakers’ mind. Hire some crazy 12th men who smells so bad that after the first 5 seconds guarding Kobe, Kobe will become nauseous. Have some guy always cherry pick and basicly play 4 on 5 defense – you should be content in having the Lakers taking open OUTSIDE shots since they have no shooters, and Kidd will make sure that a cherrypicking Terry always gets open layups.

    The possibilites are endless…you’re an innovator, a crisis is the perfect time to try this stuff no?

    Comment by Oytun -

  25. sorry, man. You’re trying to wag the dog. You want the Mavs in the paper (public eye), they got to win. Period. That’s just Dallas. You’ve probably studied the Cowboys, Rangers and Stars attendance figures and correlation to winning. This isnt Denver (Broncos) or Chicago (Cubs) or …is there a bullet-proof NHL fAnchise??? The Cowboys suffer to a lesser degree, but there are five Lombardi trophies in Valley Ranch HQ that have been helpful in building that resistance to the fickle fan.

    …or sign Brad Davis to a 10-day. :-)

    Comment by Cary R -

  26. Simple…have a product that’s worth being reported on. Even more simple….for all the money I spend on advertising my products/services the best way to get exposure/business is via word of mouth. Give people a good product, treat them fairly and all of a sudden you have hundreds if not thousands of unpaid sales people spreading the virtues of your product/service. It all comes back to the “experience” and “WOW Factor” that you provide to your consumer. Seems to me that many companies are forgetting that these days. Instead of spending $$$’s on flashy ads and gimmicks, spend a few minutes or two to call up your customer and just say thanks for spending their money on your product. You might be shocked by the reaction you receive, and even more shocked by the new order you receive from them the next day. My business is in the High Tech world, have been in it for 20 years now….starting to get the feeling that many of my customers are actually sick of all the high-tech mumbo jumbo and just want to get back to basics. They need something, they call us. WE answer the phone, (novel concept I know) they don’t have to go through some automated BS to place an order. We have gone back to the “Old School” way of doing business and we are doing well. Something to think about!

    Comment by S Young -

  27. Hey Mark, Pick the paper you know used to make money before schlepping and is now about to bite it. Invest in it to keep it afloat, ya gotta know some newspaper guys. Cost only ads for the Mavs also. You could have them on the front page everyday in one way or another. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  28. Tap into those local resources. Paper is being prinited in some form or another…

    Comment by Bruce R. Field -

  29. i guess in life.. the motto “focus on sales.. sales fixes everything”.
    In sports i guess its related… Winning fixes everything.

    kinda like the old days when you first bought the team !

    Comment by savednoteguy -

  30. PLEASE check this out:

    http://beefandsage.com/2009/03/manbabies/

    Comment by Kirk -

  31. This coming from a guy who once worked 2 hours in a Dairy Queen after insulting refs. How rich.

    Comment by SourBlaze -

  32. In my mind, the value of Newspapers in the age of the internet has always been portability. It’s hard to bring a big old desktop machine on the train/bus/taxi/whatever with you. Even laptops can’t provide that sort of portability, since one can’t access wifi everywhere they go. The real thing that has changed recently is the use of smart phones. As little as 5 years ago, smart phones were limited mostly to businesspeople’s Blackberries. Now EVERYONE wants a smart phone. The iPhone is responsible for a lot of this craze, but it has spread to all the phone manufacturers. Before I got my Blackberry, I would grab a newspaper whenever I got on public transportation. Now I will often just read the news on my phone. Newspapers can’t match the timeliness or portability of internet news on a smart phone.

    Comment by Matt -

  33. Ustream your press conferences and let designated writers ask questions without having to appear in person at the Mavericks game.

    Comment by Parveen Kaler -

  34. weldon said:

    “Major market newspapers have lost their focus. Few are owned by their local markets and few reflect the values of that local market. Whether it is the Star-Telegram or the Morning News, they MUST cover local events-city, schools, life and art, county and city government and the local interest feature story. They MUST THINK LOCAL!

    Their clip and print mentality and liberal column writers are not working”

    Which is wrong. Some of it is BS, but most is just wrong [and i find that most of the time when people complain about the content of newspapers its always the ‘liberal columnists’ they rant about. please.]

    Pardon me for a second for taking this outside the realm of sports [though not entirely] but for instance, this week the Chicago Sun-Times (yes, I work there) has run big stories on the mayor’s free — and questionable — trips around the world, the city’s failed — in that people are being adversely affected and there are rumblings of a little parking revolution — deal to sell their parking meters to a private company, the city’s shady way of promoting its 2016 Olympics bid. After those editions of the paper were published, the stories were all major news on the local TV and radio stations. And blogs.

    So it makes you wonder that once the newspapers, and their ability to pay a few people on their staffs not to ‘produce’ every day but to investigate and snoop around and maybe come up with a story once a week or once every few days, are gone, who will take up the slack? TV? Radio? Blogs? Hardly. That’s a big thing that bugs me about people who say ‘I don’t read newspapers, I get my news online, either on the news web sites or on blogs.’ Well, where do you think that news comes from? How much of it is original content? And who would keep an eye on the mayors, city councils, governors, etc. each and every day if the newspaper reporters — who now twitter and blog and all that — were gone? You can’t just show up at a mayor’s office and ask questions or make e-mail inquiries. You have to be at city hall, for example, every day, working the phones, dropping in on the various departments, talking to cops on the street, etc., and you need multiple people doing that.

    Take it even to the sports area — newspapers have the beat reporters (in chicago both papers have a beat reporter assigned to each MLB team, so there are both Trib and Sun-Times reporters covering the Cubs and Trib and Times reporters covering the Sox, day in and day out) who can devote all their time during the season to the team they are following. And bloggers? how many travel to each city the team travels to? how many bloggers go to practice each day? How many bloggers produce new content on saturdays and sundays?

    So yeah, the cat’s out of the bag for newspapers as far as getting readers to pay for content online, so the business profit model must change, but the organizational model?

    Comment by james -

  35. So what if there is no local news hack to ask you a question?

    We get the scores off the net, that is all that matters, not if your free throws are veering left of the rim pre-game, sheesh!@

    Comment by Mike -

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  37. “How would we reach the casual fan that wont invest time to go to the online sports section or the Mavs website ?”

    It’s not really a question of not investing the time but investing in the technology. I would have to think that it’s the older fans that don’t surf the internet or have the fancy phones with internet. My own parents and in-laws, though they get their emails, do not sit at the comp and surf for information. They are of the “old school” so to speak and continue to get their info from the newspaper. For now, there are too many baby-boomers around to let the newspapers fade away. But that doesn’t mean that as the baby-boomers die off, that the newspaper won’t follow.

    Comment by James Pickering -

  38. I meant to say: The results are mixed, but overall the quality is low and the articles biased.

    Comment by Markus -

  39. There’s another side to online vs offline content: On numerous occasions, I’ve seen offline papers saving money by hiring online writers (mainly bloggers) to write their articles rather than established and well-educated journalists (who of course cost way more). The results are mixed, but the overall the quality is low and often biased.

    The question is: what is worse? Low quality or nothing at all? Is a biased or unqualified answer better than no answer?

    I’m scared of where some news distributors are heading.

    Comment by Markus -

  40. “but the real question is what would happen if our local papers shut down and went online only ? How would we reach the casual fan that wont invest time to go to the online sports section or the Mavs website ?”

    Lower ticket prices and promos (e.g. kids under 12 free day), massive community outreach, and piping content into their cell phones.

    From MC> we have $2, $5 and $10 dollar tickets. Low enough ?

    Comment by billy -

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  42. Right, Mark. The crisis in media is all about how Mark Cuban will continue to promote his entertainment properties.

    It has nothing to do with the continued existence of a free press, which, unless corrupted by money, or imprisoned by the courts, performs a vital function by reporting the news.

    In other words, the press exists to call you on your bullshit — not to give you free publicity. You want people to come watch your crappy basketball team? Buy an ad — or a radio station.

    Comment by Thomas Franklin -

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  44. I think this falls on the NBA as a corporation. The Dallas Mavericks are a franchise that pays fees to the NBA. If the current distribution of media is changing, it’s up to the league to adapt and provide additional coverage for their franchises. Take a lesson from YouTube, Justin TV, etc. Online video is popular and can be both distributed and monetized (not saying profitably) with ease. Build a free online station that provides video acces to the interview area, locker room and media locations. Visitors can select their favorite teams and watch live streams. You can then syndicate the content across Hulu and other video sites. Every franchise is now exposed to millions of potential ticket and merchandise buyers.

    Comment by Michael -

  45. I believe it is the casual fan that will be looking online for news anyway. Maybe they wont go to a sports specific website but they will probably see the headlines from the online news site of their choice.
    I think the Gov’t needs to stay out of these businesses problems. The newspapers are failing because people don’t read them anymore they get their news online now. If the newspapers can’t find a way to keep/grow their customer base using this new delivery method then they need to go out of business. We don’t need to have newspapers. Just because they have been the method of delivering news for the past century+ doesn’t mean its going to be that way forever. People need to get over it. Who cares if the local newspaper goes out of business, we never read it anyway.
    Let the market run its course and let those newspapers that can’t adapt fail, plain and simple.

    Comment by Ravi -

  46. I think the online town hall meeting today would work as a format for you to field questions to reporters and casual fans.

    Casual fans could submit questions up to 30 minutes prior to town hall and be voted up and down (UserVoice does this for free).

    Reporters with press credentials could have real-time access to ask questions for follow up on certain thoughts or more pointed questions that would be similar to what they would ask in a live press conference.

    Comment by Jason -

  47. Just throw a fit as you were famous for a few years ago then you’ll get all the coverage you want from bloggers and the press. Might be well worth the million dollar penalty.
    Forgive me if you have been living up to your name I only keep up with you in the news not in sports coverage.

    Comment by cougarmark -

  48. Since I have some experience in working with and editing a small town newspaper, I find the current trends perdictable. (And, for certain, newspapers with handouts from the Fed is the worst idea that could be imagined!)

    Major market newspapers have lost their focus. Few are owned by their local markets and few reflect the values of that local market. Whether it is the Star-Telegram or the Morning News, they MUST cover local events-city, schools, life and art, county and city government and the local interest feature story. They MUST THINK LOCAL!

    Their clip and print mentality and liberal column writers are not working! Beat-writers are their survival. Scores, stats, local events–they must be there!

    Many years ago, my publisher stated that we should charge a fee for obits like the larger papers. I told him then and I will tell the papers now–Obits are NEWS. People read them. They are part of that is happening in our communities. And, there are stories behind those lives.

    Good news, local news will sell local advertizing.

    I no-longer take a newspaper–they are just not worth it right now.

    Mark, man I wish I could have a sit-down with you about this subject!

    Comment by Weldon McKinney -

  49. How would we reach the casual fan that wont invest time to go to the online sports section or the Mavs website ?

    You already said subpar performance was a factor, so add this:
    Turn the NBA into a sport that is actually fun to watch and employ players that fans will actually care about – the game itself is horribly unexciting – sit and watch a full game between 2 teams that you do not care about and tell me how exciting it is. Add that to the fact that the vast majority of NBA players are self-absorbed, cartoonish, boring, and lack the fundamental skills that once made the game great, and you have a perfect recipe for failure, which is what the NBA is now.

    First step in the solution – Raise the rim to 12 feet and make the court bigger. How absurdly foolish is it that NBA players play on the same hoop as kids in a 4th grade rec league. Raising the rim will force players to raise their fundamentals, which will encourage more teamwork, which will lead to more entertaining games.

    Comment by Joe -

  50. The possibility of this is starting to look more like an inevitability. I think your best position would be bringing it back to basics like you did with AudioNet. Mobile is key! With Twitter and iPhones and Slingboxes, the casual fan can have everything they’d want from what they had with dailies. Change isn’t always bad, you proved that many years ago m!

    Comment by Dan Paddock -

  51. It’s the same issue that companies deal with when people stop being influenced by commercials – like myself.

    As a consumer: How do I learn about great new products, updates, and even recalls?

    The shock is similar to a former POTUS who has not been to a grocery store since the self-scan system was implemented 6 years ago and then all of the sudden is shocked by the advancement/technology.

    I expect the tide will turn form people not wanting to be bombarded by commercials, to people really wanting to know about goods & services that would help improve their lives.

    What does that look like?
    I don’t know exactly, but I expect that the bottom line is that companies & organizations must produce more media, either by themselves, or hire outside companies. Similar to hiring a PR or Marketing firm, but different in what is produced, no longer will it be the 30 second spot, but rather will be full on show sponsorship, or making video, audio, still images, and text for their own shows, papers, email lists, websites, etc

    Then the other job will be to do market research, but not “how can I get the most eyeballs” but “how can I find the people who influence my real potential customers?”

    What if the Mavs started producing interviews, sports, and media that the bloggers, podcasters, etc could comment on? Produce articles that local papers could take and run with?

    … just some quick thoughts …

    Comment by Nation -

  52. You, your coaches and your players are probably going to have to do more local radio. Not just sports talk but news and maybe music formats too.

    Terrestrial radio, while declining, still has good reach and those stations aren’t going away in the near future.

    Was thinking this morning that it will be interesting to track attendance for the Mariners and Rockies now that they’ve had local dailies shut down or go web-only. I don’t really think there will be a discernible difference.

    Comment by Mikey -

  53. And it’s not just the casual fan, it’s also the casual voters. I read an article the other day that reported that voter turnout went down after a small town lost their newspaper. The ramifications of this trend are scary.

    I also heard an idea from a politician the other day that newspapers should be non-profit, government subsidized entities. I’m not a fan of more government, but maybe small town newspapers should be saved in the interest of the common good.

    Government supported newspapers versus no newspapers: tough call.

    Comment by Kevin -

  54. I find it interesting that so many online blogs like to tout that the newspaper is dead. But at the same time, nearly all the online blogs start with something like, “Today, the New York Times published a piece…” or “Last night, the Washington Post claimed….”

    It may be a big deal that blogs are where most people get their news. But, the voice of the newspaper is still the game changer. I think this is because they have more accountability. They can’t just print anything they want to…like many online only blogs do.

    Comment by Brian -

  55. Mark,

    I hear you amigo. I’m sad to see my hometown paper has done just that. http://www.seattlepi.com/business/403793_piclosure17.html

    Of course, they couldn’t keep the Sonics from leaving either, so I can’t say I’m too shocked. Glad to be in Austin now though. The Mav’s, Spurs and Rockets have all been fun to root for at various times.

    Comment by BillFitz -

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