Last Sunday’s Seattle Times sports section had a letter to the editor in which the writer groused the Times didn’t have enough coverage on WSU football.
Not to be outdone, we have a letter on this page asking for more Washington Husky coverage. I am hearing from a lot more UW fans now that the Huskies are back in the national spotlight.
I got phone mail from a very upset Husky fan last week who claimed we simply did not run anything on the Huskies. I called her back and asked for her e-mail so that I could send her all the stories we have run on UW since the season started. It was quite a list. Not as long as the WSU list, but certainly way more than zero.
She suggested we must all be Cougars and we should hire Huskies.
That’s common refrain. It’s also wrong. If you see a lot of something in most any newspaper, it is usually for one reason – we think it is what a good portion of readers are interested in. We have surveys, web traffic, attendance figures and water cooler talk that gives us a pretty good idea of where a bulk of the fan interest is.
If we based our coverage on where we went to college, Gonzaga basketball would be ignored.
For the record, here are the real graduation numbers of our current sports department: WSU (3), EWU (3), UW (2), Montana (1), Nebraska (1), Oregon (1), Santa Barbara (1). One of those WSU grads also got a degree from Eastern so he must really be conflicted. It should also be pointed out that our city editor is a Husky so that should tip our bias, right? And our editor in chief is a proud Ball State alum. That explains the mounds of Ball State coverage in The Spokesman-Review.
How about the local high schools? Of the sports staff that grew up in the Spokane area, here are the numbers: Lewis and Clark (2), Ferris (1), Gonzaga Prep (1). If you count where our children went to school, here are the numbers: Lake City (3), Post Falls (3), University (3), Lewis and Clark (5), Ferris (2).
None of those numbers matter. Those universities or high schools don’t sign our paychecks. We know we can’t give everyone exactly what they want. Our audience is way too diverse in interests. But our aim is to give everyone something they can use. Something they can learn. Something they will read.
Speaking of Huskies
Jacob Thorpe is our new Washington State beat writer and he has barely had enough time to move to Pullman.
Thorpe finished his internship with MLB.com on Sunday and started working for us on Monday. He is a Washington graduate and well versed in the Pac-12. His is also a student of good writing and very resourceful.
Thorpe replaces Christian Caple, who took a similar job with the Tacoma News Tribune, which allowed him to be closer to his one true love. No, I’m not talking about the Huskies.
Caple was also a Washington grad. Why are we hiring UW grads to cover WSU? We’re not. We’re hiring who we think is the best candidate for the job. The fact they went to school in Seattle is just a coincidence. Christian did a great job. I am confident Jacob will as well.
Besides, as a WSU graduate, it’s nice to be able to say I have a couple of Huskies working under me. Badabum.