Sunday, January 10, 2010

Some thoughts about the Joplin Globe's coverage of the WCHS Band's Rose Bowl trip

It was hard not to be impressed with the Joplin Globe's coverage of the Webb City High School Band's trip to the Rose Bowl last week.

For the first time, the Globe successfully combined its print and internet capabilities to offer complete coverage of an event that meant a great deal to a sizable portion of its readers.

In addition to the daily updates in the print edition, reporter Emily Younker, who accompanied the Webb City band to Pasadena, offered photos and coverage on the Globe's internet site and on its Facebook and Twitter editions.

Ms. Younker's blog of the Rose Bowl trip was the most successful in the Globe's short blogging history. For the first time, Globe blogs actually received a large number of comments that were not submitted by the Globe's other bloggers.

From all appearances, this would seem to be a total triumph for the Globe. Unfortunately, it was not.

That is not the fault of Ms. Younker, who did an excellent job of chronicling the adventures of the Webb City group. The problem is Webb City was not the only high school which had a band participating in one of the New Year bowls. While the Globe lavished space, both in print and on line to Webb City, the Joplin High School Band traveled, unaccompanied by a Globe reporter, to the Cotton Bowl.

The Globe did offer coverage of the JHS a story which also featured three other schools, including, once again, Webb City, I wondered if this had something to do with the comparative importance of the Rose Bowl to the Cotton Bowl. Undeniably, the Rose Bowl is the bigger attraction.

But the simple fact is, it doesn't matter. As someone who has been on the other side of this charge, I feel comfortable saying it- it is the Joplin Globe, not the Webb City Globe.

I waited to write this, first to see if extra coverage would at least be included in the Globe's free weekly, the Joplin Herald. (You might recall, that is the newspaper that was created, according to former Publisher Dan Chiodo) because there was not enough room in the Joplin Globe for Joplin news. Last week's Herald, the same as every week's Herald, was a collection of reprints from the Globe. No extra coverage of the JHS trip to the Cotton Bowl was offered.

At different times when I was at The Carthage Press and the Lamar Democrat, I was accused of turning the newspapers into the Webb City Press or the Lockwood Democrat, usually because of coverage of sports teams that were sadly for the local readers, were still playing when the seasons had already ended for the Carthage or Lamar teams. One thing I would have never done was to shortchange coverage of the home territory.

One thing I always made sure of when I was at Carthage was that the breakdown of Carthage news compared to the coverage of other communities were 3 to 1, a ratio which I confirmed on a regular basis.

There was nothing wrong with the blanket coverage the Globe provided to the Webb City High School Band. It is just a shame it did not see the need to provide the same kind of coverage to the high school band in its home town.

I waited to see if there would be any kind of negative reaction to the Webb City coverage. To this point, I have seen none, at least not about the lack of coverage for Joplin High School.

I can think of four possible explanations.

1. It just isn't a big deal and nobody cares about it.

2. There was negative input, but the Globe kept it from public view. (I don't believe that it what happened.)

3. Joplin High School supporters are used to this kind of treatment and just shrugged it off.

4. Nobody from Joplin was reading the Globe.

Anyway you look it, this was another public relations blunder for the Joplin Globe.


Anonymous said...

Why didn't the Globe send a reporter when the JHS band went to the Rose parade?

Anonymous said...

the globe has never seemed to be a supporter of the joplin school system. i never have understood why.