The May 8 Message column looked at the ways travel budgets at print and electronic media outlets have been impacted by tight budgetary times -- and coverage of the ongoing Stanley Cup matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins shows that this situation is affecting news organizations nationwide. Whereas subscribers to the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News are receiving updates on the series, which Detroit leads 2-0, from familiar hometown scribes Terry Frei and Rick Sadowski, respectively, that's not the case at many other papers, including some major ones.
"Newspaper Coverage is Way Down in Canada, U.S.," a May 23 piece in Toronto's Globe and Mail, points out that the only Canadian papers outside Toronto committed to start-to-finish Stanley Cup reportage are the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province -- a shock given hockey's status as Canada's sport of choice. In the States, the situation is similar. The Washington Post and Newsday are skipping the finals, as are the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer, even though Pittsburgh is a mere four hours by car from Philly. That leaves the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, which only decided to pony up the dough because of the intriguing Red Wings-Penguins matchup, plus papers in Detroit and Pittsburgh along with the Boston Globe, the New York Post, USA Today, the Columbus Dispatch and the two Denver dailies. A few other papers plan to provide partial coverage, but most will make do with wire copy.
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The decisions by managers at the Post and the Rocky to open up their wallets even though the Colorado Avalanche's playoff run ended prematurely testifies to Denver's status as a fine hockey town even as in reinforces comments in the aforementioned Message offering made by Greg Moore, the Post's editor. Moore said, "We've decided that there are some signal events, like the Super Bowl and Wimbledon and the Masters, where it's important to give our take on what happens there." For now, the Stanley Cup is clearly included among these attention-getting spectacles. But if the economic challenges at the dailies don't ease during the next twelve months, the press boxes at next year's NHL finals could be even less crowded than they've been in 2008. -- Michael Roberts