Over the last decade, it seems as if the Patriots and/or NFL beat writer position at the Boston Globe has been a breeding ground for sportswriters that would eventually be hired by top sports media organizations.
In 2001, the job belonged to Michael Smith, who currently works at ESPN. His successor, Mike Reiss, would follow in his footsteps, though he focuses on the Patriots and other New England teams for ESPN’s Boston sports portal. In 2008, Albert Breer would assume the role, but give it up after just one year to join NFL.com and NFL Network. Breer’s replacement would be Greg Bedard, and he has been writing about the Patriots and other general NFL stories for the Globe since.
Until now, it appears.
And yet somehow, the Globe didn’t see this coming.
According to Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen (not to be confused with the current general manager of the Washington Redskins), sources claim Bedard is being heavily wooed by folks at Sports Illustrated to join their publication, as well as its Internet presence, SI.com, as an NFL writer based in Boston.
Allen subsequently reached out to Bedard to comment on the rumor; he “politely declined.”
Meanwhile, Allen also reports via sources that Bedard’s current employer “is making preparations as if they expect Bedard to depart following next month’s NFL Draft.”
Given how Breer, Reiss and Michael Smith before him have become more visible names in the industry since leaving the 141-year-old newspaper for greener pastures, the fact that the Globe is just now preparing for Bedard’s eventual exit is a surprise to me. It should be standard operating procedure whenever they hire a new scribe to fill the position, just based on history alone.
Should he agree to join the entity owned by Time Warner – which recently announced its desire to unload all of its magazine units, with the exceptions of SI, and of course, Time – Bedard would join a talented array of writers including Peter King (who recently re-upped with them, though he will be doing a notable amount of work for SI.com; he also appears on NBC and NBC Sports Network, primarily during football season); Richard Deitsch, who covers sports media, especially in his weekly “Media Circus” column on Mondays; and Jimmy Traina, whose bi-daily online “Extra Mustard” column attracts a large audience of young males, a highly-coveted demographic in sports business.
Last summer, SI was forced to cut sixteen staffers, mostly editorial, and most of them by way of voluntary buyouts. It’s a plan many publications have resorted to as, paraphrasing a quote from The Buggles, the Internet kills the newspaper star.
It’s fortunate how SI, in the wake of that move, is able to add to its own galaxy of stars.
As for the Boston Globe, it looks like they’ll have to work on filling a black hole.
UPDATE, 3.20.13: Well, it’s official.