Observer Coverage

I just sent this Letter to the Editor at the Observer. Anyone else agree about their shoddy coverage?

I felt compelled to respond to Scott Fowler’s column on Thursday asking, “Why the Empty Seats at Charlotte?” As a Charlotte basketball season-ticket holder, I think Scott hits the nail on the head with many of his points, but I find his appeal for fans to attend games very ironic considering the way The Observer covers the 49ers. He shouldn’t have to look far for one of the answers. It’s right under his nose.

On the day of the DePaul game Scott writes about, the Observer ran the game preview on the last page of the sports section, while stories on the front page included a new high school football field with artificial turf, a column on George Karl and a recap on the S.C-Kentucky game.

Having worked in the Charlotte Hornets’ media relations department for several years, I know how many peoples’ perceptions in this town, especially the casual fans, are created entirely by what they read in The Observer and hear on sports-talk radio. If the Observer considers Niners-DePaul “back page news” on game day and their upcoming schedule isn’t run on page 2 similar to the way Charlotte’s other major teams are, many folks aren’t going to realize there’s a big game until after it’s played.

The Observer has had a very casual approach to the Niners’ beat over the last several years. Unless it’s the day of the game or day after, the Niners usually have no presence in your paper. Other than a very occasional feature, there is nothing thought-provoking ever written. The previews and recaps are very generic with little analysis and there is no buildup to games during the week.

C’mon, guys! We’ve got a nationally ranked major college basketball team in our own city. Not Columbia, Chapel Hill or Durham. But right here in Charlotte. Let’s show them the attention they deserve and then let’s see if the fans act accordingly.

We usually do get nice coverage after games (like today), it’s just the pregame that we don’t get. But I’m not complaining about coverage this season. Like a lot of people have said, the newspaper has to cater to their readers - it’s just smart business. And the vast majority of the O’s readers don’t care about Niners pregame.