Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Globe's Crosby Chronicles

Sports Illustrated had a story on Friday that talks about The Globe and Mail reporter Shawna Richer's assignment covering Sidney Crosby's first NHL season.

"If we really wanted to penetrate the life and times of a great player, and through him understand hockey as a sport, social and cultural phenomenon and business, we had to be there for all those serendipitous moments of meaning," says Edward Greenspon, the editor-in chief of The Globe and Mail. "If we were going to commit to this, we wanted to commit fully."

So they have. For the next eight months, Richer will chronicle the life and times of Crosby. The project is called The Rookie, dubbed as such for the NHL's most heralded prospect since Wayne Gretzky. Richer will write about Crosby two or three times a week in the paper, and blog on a near-daily basis.

I talked about Shawna's assignment briefly before, and then I posed the question to my readers: 'How much Crosby is enough?' So far, I'm not sure I have an answer. (Here's the latest piece from Shawna that talks about Sidney's first goal on Saturday.)

I find it fascinating, however, that Sports Illustrated is reporting on the activities of Canada's national newspaper. Of course, this is what I do, but seeing the American sports media reporting on the Canadian sports media in a meaningful way is interesting (and rare) in any context.

Toronto's sports media scene is a competitive one, with four large daily newspapers all competing for the same eyeballs. It's doesn't come as a surprise, then, that The Globe's decision to have a reporter shadow Crosby is a hot debate topic in media circles (something I haven't seen publicly, but often run into privately).

After all, stationing a reporter in Pittsburgh to cover one player (and, some would argue, one story) consumes a lot of resources, not the least of which isthe paper's former Atlantic bureau chief.

Despite the fact that I declined to comment on the matter earlier, I will say now that I like the move. Fellow blogger Tom Benjamin is often critical of the Canadian sports media, and in the sense that a diversity in opinion and coverage is lacking, I would agree with him. An all-Crosby extravaganza a few times a week is a risk for the paper, but it also shows a willingness to venture outside the box — something that becomes increasingly important as newspaper circulation rates continue to drop in North America.

For now, I'm enjoying the stories that are coming out of the Crosby Chronicles. The real test of the series' effectiveness, I suspect, will come months from now when we're hearing about Sidney's 18th goal and not his first.

Will that be 'enough Crosby'? I suppose we'll see.

Thanks to Steve Ovadia at Puck Update for originally posting the SI link.

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