They say a drowning man will clutch at a straw. Which appears to be the case at 18th and Grand as the beleaguered Kansas City Star dials sensationalism into every headline it can to try and keep its head above water as readership and revenues continue to plummet.
So instead of getting down in a three point stance and focussing on delivering a steady diet of quality local and area news- rather than of two day old headlines about mass shootings – readers get melodramatic, exaggerated stories about Kansas City being a “murder capital” and the like.
Are Royals headed to downtown KC? City starts talks, studies four sites
Here we go again, kids…
Another trip to the PR plate once championed by former Star business reporter Kevin Collison, who practically single handedly lead the charge for a downtown ballpark a decade ago.
The above headline set off a wave of social media chatter that the Cowtown might at long last get its very own Wrigley Field a la the Chicago Cubs.
But here’s the deal.
It’s one thing to get a legitimate news scoop about something of the magnitude of this being in the offing. But trust me, if it were, the power players behind the scene would be playing their cards close to the vest and keeping low profiles unit such time as the ducks were lined up and they were ready to swing for the fences.
Which is not the case here.
Nope, in this “scoop” the players were more than happy to get the story out with their names prominently attached, just like Burns & McDonnell in its failed bid to waltz off with the new KCI airport deal.
“The city of Kansas City is funding a study of at least four potential sites for a downtown baseball stadium for the Kansas City Royals, according to documents obtained by The Star,” the story begins. “A series of emails shows that Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte was involved in funding studies of four sites within the downtown loop that might be suitable for a baseball stadium.”
Now let’s get real.
Documents obtained by The Star? C’mon, this ain’t Wikileaks.
Does anybody really think the newspaper conducted some kind of investigation and uncovered top secret plans?
This is a clear case of the parties with vested financial interests using the newspaper to send up a trial balloon. And sure enough, right up top, the financial players likely to benefit directly from such a project take their bows.
Starting with sports architecture firm HOK,
“Others involved in the planning include Jon Copaken, principal with real estate development firm Copaken-Brooks, the Downtown Council of Kansas City, JE Dunn, The Cordish Co. and Tower Properties,” the story states.
Those kind of movie credits aren’t presented by accident, as a result of hard nosed reporting.
Conversations with the Royals are underway and “real progress” is being achieved, a conveniently leaked email from Copaken reads.
So will it really happen? Don’t hold your breath.
“We’re perfectly content where we are, we think it works well. Thirteen years from now, who knows what the situation is going to be? I can’t hold anybody back from doing what they’re doing on their side. We would listen.”
Then there’s the matter of the half a billion dollars to build the stadium and finding parking spaces for upwards of 40,000 folks.
Pipe dream, anyone?
So is this a real “scoop” as Collison writes on his blog site CityScene KC?
Remember what I said about burying the lead?
Check out the final line in the story:
“Don’t get too excited yet because we do a lot of long-term planning,” Schulte said. “That doesn’t even mean anything is being contemplated.”
There you have it; from “real progress” is being made to “doesn’t even mean anything is being contemplated” in 22 short paragraphs.
So which is it, all the news that’s fit or all the news that fits?
You make the call.