San Francisco Chronicle Sports Section Comes Up Short

Saturday night, I went to the Emerald Bowl at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.  It was not on a par with the last Bowl game I went to, the 1973 USC -Ohio State Rose Bowl, but the battle between California and Miami had many exciting and interesting moments.

-Jahvid Best ran for 186 yards, including two truly spectacular TD runs in the first quarter.

-Cal lost a 14 point lead, missed a go ahead field goal, but then won in the last three minutes when Zack Follett forced the Miami quarterback to fumble deep in his own territory.

-Cal quarterback Nate Longshore stunk up the place, but then threw the one pass Cal needed, a TD to freshman Anthony Miller.

None of this made it into the banner headline in Sunday’s Chronicle sports section, “Savor it, Seniors.”  A  high school journalism student would flunk for such nonsense.  They must have had a beer drinking contest at the 21st Amendment after the game, with the winner getting to edit the sports front page.

But wait, there is more.  Most of the area above the fold is taken up by a picture of the backs of two Cal players congratulating Best after one of his two TDs.  This should have been a picture of Best running, and he made several fakes that would have made great shots, Follet forcing the fumble, Longshore or Miller on the winning score or at least some action from the game.  Judge for yourself.

Here is the shot that ran:


It conveys some emotion, but no action and is not visually interesting.  Here is another shot of Best from the Chronicle own web site from the same photographer:


Here is Best running by a Miami defender, a dynamic and newsworthy moment.  This is not a close choice.  Infuriatingly, the Chronicle gets this wrong all the time.  You have to go to the web page to see the action shots.

By the way, the lead photo in the Miami Herald (at least from the web) is this game action of the Cal run back after the key Miami fumble:


Their headline is “Cal Beats Miami.”

The Chronicle has great sports writers who are informative, opinionated and fun to read, but the management does nothing to attract readers.  My pet peeve is the TV listings.  Most people have cable these days and sports fans are likely to have sports packages or HD televisions, which are in 23.8 percent of U.S. homes with sports fans generally acknowledged to be leading the way.  But, the Chronicle does not include events on specialty cable channels, like the Tennis Channel, and does not indicate which events are in HD.

You would think that a sports section’s bread is buttered by promoting sports and that giving readers notice of televised events and promoting HD broadcasts would further this goal. The Chronicle either disagrees or has not thought of this.

Good headline and picture choice and expanded TV listings would cost nothing.  The Chronicle is not even trying.

UPDATE:  The headlines and pictures have gotten much better with the remake of the paper.  The TV listings are still inexcusably useless, omitting many cable telecasts and not indicating what is in HD.

~ by skaus on December 28, 2008.

One Response to “San Francisco Chronicle Sports Section Comes Up Short”

  1. […] to praise the new layout and content of the Sporting Green in the San Francisco Chronicle.  I slammed the old one (maybe everyone was busy doing mock-ups), so I should say that the layout looks great, the picture […]

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