Hearne: Lawrence Newspaper Practices ‘Homerism’

crotch shotAll dressed up, nowhere to go…

Living in Lawrence these past six months I’ve come to know what a sub par newspaper sports section looks like. It’s one thing for the Lawrence Journal World to practice the fine art of homerism ad nauseam, quite another to take it the levels it does.

I can barely imagine the Jonestown Advocate (or whatever) dishing out the level of of Kool-Aid hype for Jim Jones devotees that the Journal World does for Bill Self.

Which wouldn’t be half bad if the rest of the sports section made at least a token effort at covering the other area sports teams its readers undoubtedly follow – the Chiefs, Royals and Sporting to name three. Beyond minimal wire copy filler, that is.

NCAA-Michigan-Kansas-Basketball-ElijahSo it’s not wildly surprising when the Journal World glosses over the odd KU basketball reality bite.

Like Sweet Sixteen scapegoat Elijah Johnson.

Early in the game Johnson laid a fist bump on Michigan’s Mitch McGary for all to see and drew a flagrant foul call. And probably should have been ejected.

Yet the Journal World game story’s up top take more-or-less lets Johnson off the hook

“It wasn’t intentional,” Johnson is quoted. “Coach asked me if I did it and I didn’t know what he was talking about.”


Buried towards the end of the story is a vague Self mumbling about Johnson making a poor decision.

To its credit that’s not how the Star (and most other media) handled Johnson’s low blow.

Sam Mellinger called it what it was, a cheap shot.

Ditto for The Dagger‘s Jeff Eisenberg:

“Referees reviewed the play and assessed a flagrant 1 foul to Johnson, a somewhat lenient ruling considering replays appeared to suggest the low blow was intentional.

Unlike the Journal World, the Dallas Morning News and countless others held Johnson’s feet to the fire.

“They gave him a flagrant 1 (foul),” McGary told the DMN. “I don’t know what it takes to get a flagrant 2 nowadays.”

ku_bkc_wvu_12_t640There’s more.

“McGary said the hit momentarily dazed him. He said he believes Michigan wanted to make Kansas regret its rough tactics. Kansas coach Bill Self said after the game ‘that’s not how we play at all…

“I think first couple plays of the game, they wanted to punk us,” McGary added. “Then him giving me a cheap shot, they wanted to make a statement. We just said, ‘No, we’re not going to take this . . . Big Ten’s prepared us very well.”

In fact pretty much, everybody from the Washington Post to the Detroit free Press labeled Johnson’s move a “cheap shot.”

Everybody, that is, except the Journal World.

Maybe I’m taking things a little to the extreme, but isn’t the main goal of a newspaper to provide actual news and not gloss things over while dishing out crybaby headlines?

Am I wrong?

Or did Johnson and KU get what they deserved?











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13 Responses to Hearne: Lawrence Newspaper Practices ‘Homerism’

  1. the dude says:

    Hard to call it a low blow when all they do is suck off the local team and not call a duck a duck. A little objectivity is good every now and then. You don’t have to continually bow at the holy altar of the only sport KU has ever been good at just because.

  2. Mellinger let KU off easy. Not a shocker as 1/3rd of the readers come from that mediocre, low class University filled with high school B- students.

    I think it is beautiful. Elijah Johnson gets outplayed the entire game, blows free throws, then goes full potato in the OT and doesn’t take the layup.

    Congrats to Michigan, the champions of the west. KU didn’t roll on the court and lie prostrate until they had to be carried off like they had the vapors. So it’s the little victories for KU fans this year. They only literally cried.

    Grow up and be a man out there. You are embarassing your school.

  3. rkcal says:

    It was as cheap as a shot can get. As a KU fan, I’ll be embarrassed for him, since it doesn’t seem he has the sense to be. It really does matter how you play the game. Hope he’s happy with this legacy; nobody will remember the 39 pt. game in Ames. Instant karma got ya, EJ. Too bad you dragged your teammates along with you.

  4. Super Dave says:

    You moved to Lawrence so what was you expecting? Something better than the Star? Well maybe that isn’t hard to do but the Journal World has always been very pro KU and will stay so I am sure. I am sure KU spends a whole lot of money with the Journal and so well they just are maybe practicing good business sense what ever that is anymore when it comes to running a newspaper.

  5. Not quite says:

    What I read from the Journal-World’s coverage of the KU loss wasn’t that critical. The column citing “karma” for KU’s loss was kind of lazy. But that doesn’t mean the Journal-World as a whole is pro-KU. Look at Dolph Simons’ Saturday column, which often shakes its fist at KU. And the paper embarrassed the university last year when it showed the large number of basketball players studying communications and African American studies (http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/jun/15/athletes-tendencies-cluster-certain-academic-field/).

    I think you’re wrong in your generalizations about the paper and its sports section. That said, there isn’t much proactive criticism.

    • admin says:

      Have you actually read the Journal World? I mean, the actual newspaper, not just the online sports part.

      They don’t even send a beat reporter, freelancer or anybody to Royals and Chiefs games, even thoughLawrence is basically a suburb of Kansas City.

      They have a feature where former Jayhawks playing in the NBA get their playing time minutes and stats reported daily, game-by-game. That’s really relevant…zzzzzzzzzz.

      And yeah, they cover high school sports to what I think is a fault. But that’s small town and even the Star made a big deal out of making that a priority while I was there several years back.

      But rather than diversify and cover the aforementioned sports and other sports stories of interest to locals, they run two page trucks of meaningless color photos from the men’s basketball games.

      It’s like total filler. I mean, the games are on TV mostly but it’s just easier and cheaper to kiss up to KU with a handful of giant photos than it is send a couple bodies out there and do some reporting and/or column writing.

      Speaking of which, the only sports columnist Tom Keegan spends so much time forcing out columns about KU sports that it’s kind 0f a joke really. Imagine trying to slice and dice something over-and-over for an entire year basically about just two sports teams.

      One of which totally sucks, and the other without really being very critical. If at all critical. Keegan’s basketball column writing is basically a 12 month blowjob. I’m not even sure if he’s allowed to write anything snarky.

      Try this; subscribe and read the Journal World for three or six months and get back to me if you still disagree.

      • goose13 says:

        KU brings in the most revenue in Douglas County and the City of Lawrence. That is why they cover KU. Money. To expect the LJW to be anyting else, is expecting too much. It has been that way for decades. Heck, the school newspaper is more critical on KU. Most newspapers in college towns do the same. They know if they are too rough on the local college, it will cost them. If you are looking at LJW for news, then you are not going to find it. Anybody who has read it, has known that the first time you read it.

  6. Ross says:

    Why on earth would it be necessary for what you call a “suburb” of KC to send their own beat reporters Chiefs/Royals games? KC Star beat reporters don’t ever add any insight – not sure what some chump stringer from Lawrence would tell me about a game that I can’t read elsewhere. As usual, you overvalue what reporters are able to bring as far as insight and commentary. Luckily, the rest of the free world has realized this and stopped paying for what they can get for free. For the most part, reporters are all hacks who bring no skill or insight beyond what the average message board poster can bring. I would think that would be even more exagerrated in a suburban rag like the LJW.

    • admin says:

      Why would it be necessary? Good question.

      Why is it necessary for anyone to? Because the game plan in journalism to to hire the best writers and thinkers and originate stories that people will want to read. That’s the objective.

      You are correct that the quality of reporting and column writing is well below par here in Lawrence.
      But there is so much room for improvement. Unfortunately, the local newspaper is run by a local boss man and not real editors and publishers, so it’s good old boy central more often than not.

  7. Fresh says:

    “Which wouldn’t be half bad if the rest of the sports section made at least a token effort at covering the other area sports teams its readers undoubtedly follow – the Chiefs, Royals and Sporting to name three.”

    “They don’t even send a beat reporter, freelancer or anybody to Royals and Chiefs games, even though Lawrence is basically a suburb of Kansas City.”

    Why would they? Anyone in Lawrence that cared can just look online. Your utter surprise that Lawrence is a KU town is fascinating since you’ve lived in the area most of your life.

    I understand why you shit all over the Pitch and Star. It is petty, but I understand. Why you continue to bash the LJW is odd. Just typical shit stirring on your part.

    • admin says:

      My utter surprise, eh?

      Nice try, but don’t put words in my mouth. Because for one, I’m not at all surprised, let alone utterly surprised. I am disappointed as a reader in the content and quality of the sports section here. And not just the coverage, but the column writing.

      People can read everything online, but that doesn’t mean that if you’re a news organization you don’t want to provide your own original content. Quality content. And don’t forget, we’re talking about the print edition of the Journal World here, not the online version.

      Using your argument, they could post all those color photos and more online and use the print space to originate broader sports coverage for their readership.

      That you think media criticism is petty speaks to your limited world view.

      It’s long been one of the pillars of alternative journalism, chipping away at the big dailies and Greg Hall does a nice job taking on the local sports media. His was one of the highest read columns in the Sunday sports section of the Star when he wrote it several years back.

  8. Fresh says:

    “Look at Dolph Simons’ Saturday column, which often shakes its fist at KU. ”

    Dolph hates KU. Absolutely hates KU. He is basically the fifth Koch brother.

    “It’s long been one of the pillars of alternative journalism, chipping away at the big dailies”

    The LJW is a mid-market daily newspaper. You appear to be aware that the online version has won multiple awards and is considered a top 10 mid-market newspaper website. I’m not sure why anyone cares about print editions anymore. They are doomed.

  9. TOby says:

    Hearne didn’t you write a column for lj world? what happened to that?

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