Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why the big type for the Michael Vick story

Goodness gracious, Sandy, has your computer gone haywire or is your sports editor that anxious to fill his front page. The Michael Vick dog story is worthy of comment, but not with headlines of the size usually reserved for a declaration of war.
_ Carroll McKibbin

Executive Editor Sandy Duerr passed this my way, Carroll. First, I'm glad to see the headline caught your eye -- in that sense, it worked, as a key aim we have is to get a reader's attention.
But more to your point that the design overplayed the story: Surveys of sports fans consistently show that the NFL is the most popular sport by far in America today. Within the game itself, Michael Vick is a superstar and franchise player for the Atlanta Falcons. So for him to be indicted on allegations of conducting dog fighting is big news. Also, the NFL this year has raised the bar for conduct of its players. Criminal behavior is not being tolerated under the lead of the NFL's new commissioner. So the story gains an extra bit of newsworthiness for that reason. Fans will be watching closely to see how the league reacts to this case.
Finally, this point of the summer is a slow time for sports. Baseball is continuing, but not much else is going on. This story is helping fill sports sections across the nation today, and it was a big story for most newspapers.
Should war be imminent, as was the case when our troops entered Iraq, you can be certain we will announce that news in big type. On the front page. This story was on the sports front, where the rules can be more relaxed.
_ Tad Weber

1 comment:

pooflag said...

I suspect there are more dog fans than football fans in this country.