Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Are you watching the Olympics?

THE OLYMPIC GAMES are going on in Tokyo. Are you watching? Do you care? Are you all wrapped up in the U.S. men's basketball team losing a game? The women's soccer team losing a game? Swimmers and divers and runners and bikers and, well, skateboarders?

I admire any athlete who trains for a lifetime and represents their county. It used to be the Olympics was a purely amateur event. That's when it was interesting. Joe Schmoe, a carpenter from Romania, trains at night and somehow makes his country's Olympic team, then shocks the world by winning his event. 

Now it's 13-year-old skateboarders who are winning gold medals. Geesh.

Olympic Skateboarders

The way the games are viewed has changed. Used to be events taking place in a different time zone meant watching the tape delay and wondering who would win. On Sunday NBC showed the men's basketball team blowing a late lead and losing to France. France? Whatever. The game had been over for 12 hours and everybody knew the result, so why bother watching a painful collapse by a super team full of professionals with bloated salaries and entourages? I watched 30 seconds and went back to my golf nap.

There are a few events worth following. Like Simone Biles and gymnastics. Wait. She had a mental breakdown today, or yesterday, or tomorrow, or whatever time zone Tokyo is on. Well, at least the 24/7 news cycles can show endless stock footage of her on the vault and then bring in a talking head who doubles as a mental health counselor to guess why she actually quit.

Then there's the fact no fans are allowed to watch, and COVID is running rampant, and maybe the games shouldn't have taken place in the first place. Nah. Let 'em play. Who cares if a global pandemic is still raging? The Olympics take our minds off trivial things like living and dying. 

I'll check out the results, and if a big event is on and it's not midnight, maybe I'll watch. Or sneak a few peaks between gigs and golf naps.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Muddy the river online

QUINCY HAS A new online media outlet, the Muddy River News. It's being staffed by former Herald-Whig reporters and editors, and it's bankrolled by a local attorney and banker. 

This is no flash in the pan project. It has serious backing and is going hard after local advertising dollars. It's not a personal grudge outlet like the online Quincy Journal Bob Gough ran with the legendary and late Chip "Tookie" Gerdes in 2008. It didn't last long, but it made traditional media stand up and take notice of the new player in town, the online media. Muddy River has also recognized the power of the podcast, unlike the rest of Quincy media.

Gough started the site and quickly hired former Whig news and sports guy David Adam. Steve Eighinger was hired to write columns for Muddy River, and he has a huge audience in the area thanks to his many years of writing about the Quincy Raceways. 

The latest hire was a major coup - Matt Schuckman, who was a sports write and editor at The Whig for more than 20 years. Muddy River is launching a sports section in August and getting Matt to come aboard is a huge plus. It will be very interesting to see what the section covers geographically and if Matt is going to be a one-man show, a daunting task in a sports-crazed area. 

These guys are good at what they do and they are my friends, so I'm not going to give some overanalyzed dribble about Muddy River going after The Whig and other media outlets. I wish them the best of luck and they appear to be serious about entering the local media fray. 

The site is free, unlike the Whig's online edition, which gives you five free clicks and then puts up a paywall. 

Muddy River has a huge advantage right off the bat because it has little brick and mortar issues. The Whig staff has steadily shrunk and they are still in a big building at the corner of Fifth and Jersey. Muddy River is located in the Maine Center just a block or so away at Sixth and Maine.

I hope both outlets do well. Competition is a good thing, and it might force the new owners of The . Whig to up their game. Or maybe not. I still have friends at The Whig even though I left nine years ago, so I wish them the best too.

I don't read much local media coverage unless it's a big event. Muddy River won't change that. But it is a product of our digital age and shows how much our media consumption and habits have changed, and more power to them for starting a new endeavor.