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Editor's Note: The title of this article was changed from "Hey ESPNBoston: Stop stealing the Globe's sports staff," due to readers' confusion of getting my point across (see Boston Herald paragraph).
About a week ago, I read something very interesting on apsportseditors.org , the official website of the Associated Press Sports Editors (ASPE).
It was the November Newsletter written by Boston Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan entitled, "Fending off the ESPN.com invasion. "
Sullivan described the recent invasion of ESPNBoston and how the company literally was trying to steal all of his Globe sports staff.
If you've been following the Boston sports reporting scene, you've noticed that the Globe lost two of its top guys in New England Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss and Boston.com Sports Producer Chris Forsberg to ESPNBoston the month it launched.
Then a week ago, former Globie Gordon Edes' name and face magically popped up on ESPNBoston's blog as the new Red Sox beat writer. Coincidence? Here's how Sullivan's piece starts off:
It started with a staffer calling me in early August. You know the type of call. "Can I talk to you?” he said with a mysterious tone. He came into the office the next day, and that’s when I found out ESPNBoston.com was on its way.
At that time, that writer told me he was only having preliminary talks, but wanted me to know (which I appreciated). Several weeks later, he accepted a job offer (which I didn’t appreciate).
Sullivan then goes onto tell that ESPNBoston offered jobs to six Globe employees. Who they were, only him and those people know.
Comcast SportsNet got wind of the news and soon followed suit as it offered jobs to five Globe staffers. On top of that, the Globe and CSNNE were competing for the same football writer (Albert Breer?). Here's how some of those staffers with the offers handled it:
The staffers with job offers seemed to wait until the weekend to call me. I would then call our editor, Marty Baron, to keep him up to date. One time he answered his phone and said, "Joe, I know when I hear from you on a weekend, it can’t be good news.”
It was true, the news was rarely good. It either had to do with the job offers our staff was receiving or the Boston Globe’s financial situation.
So why in the world did both ESPN and CSNNE want all of the Globe people? Apparently the Boston Herald was second choice if on the list at all (Sean McAdam and Joe Haggerty joined CSNNE).
Maybe just because the Globe is the best of the best of Boston sports coverage? But rather than admitting defeat, ESPNBoston tries to woo them in switching over to "the dark side?"
"We not going to apologize for trying to get the best people on our team,” said Patrick Stiegman, vice president/executive editor of ESPN.com.
"This wasn’t an attempt where we said ‘Let’s go see if we can raid someone’s staff.’ The idea was who would be the best talent in the market? In fairness to us, we’re trying to get the best people. If you want to be the best, if you want to do the best, you have to hire the best.” What Stiegman said is all of the proof in the world.
Nice going ESPNBoston. The only way you think you can beat the real hometownies is to just simply take them, thinking it'll destroy the organization as a whole. If you've also noticed early this month, Boston.com has been revamped quite a bit itself.
The best part is that ESPN is a member of the ASPE as is the Globe. It's almost like having the New York Times Co. shipping half of the Globe staff over to New York.
In a way, this is almost sickening. There's nothing like a little bit of friendly competition, but enough is enough. Not everyone can survive, so who's going to be the one to die?
To read Sullivan's full newsletter, click here.
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