For as long as most of us can remember, beat writers at the Denver Post have been allowed to make game predictions about teams they cover -- but no more, because of a decision by the paper's editor, Greg Moore.
The dictate went public Friday afternoon, when Broncos writer Mike Klis appeared on Mile High Sports Radio, at 1510 AM, with hosts Nate Kreckman and Joel Klatt, who hooted at the very idea of a prognostication ban.
When Klatt and Kreckman asked Klis if he thought the Broncos could defeat the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday (which, unfortunately, they couldn't -- or at least didn't), the Post staffer explained that his supervisors had concluded that offering picks about a team beat writers are supposed to cover in an even-handed way potentially undermined their objectivity in the eyes of readers. Klis added that the change had been instituted after the San Diego game, when pretty much everyone who weighed in foresaw a Chargers victory (instead, the Broncos won).
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What was the real motivations for eliminating predictions? And did readers upset that none of the writers had confidence in the Broncos have any impact? Not according to Moore, corresponding by e-mail, who says, "It is an ethical move. Sports writers are no different than other news-beat reporters. We would not have political reporters picking sides in a political contest.
"We did not get a single complaint from outside," Moore continues, "but I did look at the predictions before the San Diego game. Obviously, I had seen these for years. And it occurred to me that it must be making it hard for news reporters, especially when they pick against the team they cover. In an equal vein, these beat reporters don't want to seem like homers, always picking the Broncos. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed an unreasonable position to put these reporters in."
According to Moore, "We consulted with the writers and, after getting their feedback, we stopped. It is not a big deal, and it is something I should have thought of a long time ago."
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Klatt and Kreckman don't agree. On the air, they scoffed at the switch and spoke about writing a letter to the editor complaining about it. Meanwhile, the Sunday Post featured four predictions about the Broncos-Ravens contest, all by columnists paid to offer their opinions. Two expected a Broncos win, two anticipated a Broncos loss -- and Klis kept his views to himself.