Letter From the Editor: The Times, They Are a Changin’

Published: July 8, 2012

Perhaps our most controversial piece ever, but some things just need to be said.

This week, Hornets fans went into panic mode after the Times-Picayune incorrectly stated in an article that the Hornets could not sign-and-trade Eric Gordon. Readers were led to believe by sites such as ours that this was a live possibility, and once word came down from ‘the most credible’ of sources that this was not the case, they were forced to question everything they thought they knew. Of course, after some feedback from us, the Times-Picayune decided to check their facts and came back with a different conclusion.

Our loyal readers and Twitter followers begged us to call the T-P out on this one, and behind the scenes the seven writers for this site discussed how we should handle the situation and how we should handle similar situations moving forward. What irked me, personally, was that we got tweets and comments saying something to the following affect:

A blog knows more about NBA sign-and-trade rules than the local newspaper! smh

The implication here is that a newspaper is usually a superior and more credible source. Based off of what? Because they have been in the game longer? Because they have advertisers? Hornets247.com has four more writers covering Hornets basketball year round. We produce, on average, 6-15 thousand words of original content per week covering a variety of topics, most of which the T-P never touches. We interact with our readers on a minute by minute basis, and answer their inquiries, point them in the right direction when needed, and have a weekly podcast that features their questions.

So why is it that it is a shock to some that we are the one who got this right? We have access to CBA expert Larry Coon, due in part to our affiliation with ESPN. We have a NASA contractor on staff with a Ph.D. in mathematics. We are simply more qualified on subjects such as these, yet some people are still stuck in a day and age where print media ruled the world.

The fact is that the Times, they are a changin’.

The paper that is an institution in the city of New Orleans is planning to cut back their print coverage to just three days a week, while they shift their full-time attention to their online coverage. The writing is on the wall, and it is clear that an online only Times-Picayune will be a reality in the foreseeable future.

I am comfortable in saying that Hornets247.com is the premier source for Hornets news, insight, and analysis. What I will not do, however, is disrespect our elders and act as if they had nothing to do with our success. Simply put, we all grew up on the Times-Picayune or a paper just like it. Their content is the foundation of our knowldege base, and if not for that foundation, advanced stats, CBA FAQ’s, complex trade proposals, and the like would go straight over our heads.

The days of simple, surface-level content satisfying the sports fan is over. A straight forward recap piece with two or three generic sentences from the team’s star gets skimmed over, if it even gets read at all. Instead, people want trade rumors, a better understanding of the CBA, draft prospect profiles, a deeper look into why the team is succeeding or failing, and insight on what can be done to make the team better, with evidence to support those claims.

Because of their business model, traditional newspapers cannot take the chances that sites like ours can. Additionally, they have to carry that weight they’ve carried for so long: working the beat, traveling with the team, attending practice, and making all grind of the year-long basketball super-season mesh with the 24 hours news cycle and daily deadlines. Because of this, their product appears static to those fans who want to dig deeper.

It is what it is, and it served a purpose once upon a time. That time has come and gone, but I want to emphasize that it is not necessary to bash traditional media just because they have fallen behind. We owe them a tremendous amount of respect and graitude for getting us all to this point, and should forever be remembered for what they did at their peak, not how they failed to quench our insatiable thirst in their final years.

We at Hornets247.com hope to be a source to both you readers and to our media brethren, including the Times-Picayune. We rely on the Times-Picayune and others for what they do best, and we welcome them working with us on what we do best so that we have the best coverage for the most dedicated and most educated fan base of any team in any sport.


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