Why I write about EMU athletics; or Free Press FAIL
On a fairly regular basis, people ask me why I write about EMU athletics. It especially seems to confuse people who discover that I’m neither a student nor an alumnus of Eastern Michigan.
“Why EMU?” they ask. “Why not whatever school you went to?”
The answer to the second question has always been easy. I live in Ypsi — have for a while — and the schools I attended aren’t near enough that I could actually go to sporting events with any regularity. Plus, they’re already thoroughly covered, both by professional media and high quality amateur bloggers.
The first question can be a little tougher to answer. Of course, there’s the local thing, and certainly that’s part of it, but only a small part.
The real answer is that I looked around and saw that no one else was really covering EMU athletics, certainly not in the way you’d expect a Division I program to be covered. This morning I came across a perfect illustration of this. We all know that the major area media like the Detroit News and Free Press rarely mention the Eagles. But even when they do, all too often it looks like this: the Detroit Free Press EMU football season preview. Let’s break it down point by point.
- Length. When the News or Freep do bother to mention EMU athletics, it tends to be a short piece, not a feature. The article is 279 words, plus a schedule. This article took less than an hour to write while I was doing a half-dozen other things (including trying to watch games on ESPN3), and it’s 60% longer.
- No details. The aforementioned schedule gives dates only, not times.
- Formulaic. “Gillett is the one to make the offense go.” Really? You could plug in any team’s starting quarterback and have at least a 75% chance of this applying.
- Blatant factual errors. Apparently the anonymous Free Presser who slapped this together didn’t notice that Dwayne Priest isn’t on the roster any more. As you probably know, if you pay passing attention to EMU football, Priest was a senior last year. He’s gone. Listing Priest in “Key returners”, “Players to watch”, and “Reason to hope” tells us that you’re just not paying attention. Speaking of not paying attention…
- “EMU has a killer schedule”. I took issue when people wrote this last year, but suggesting it this year it’s just plain absurd. I wrote about the expected difficulty of the schedule this morning, and all I have to say is that if you can look at that and call it a “killer schedule”, you have no business writing about football.