Hello!!! Is anybody out there?

When I took this job, the immediate feedback that I got from friends in the endurance community, was "finally, all of the major media outlets in town have sucked at covering endurance sports."  

In defense I understand our place in the pecking order of things, endurance sports aren't sexy, don't bring in big crowds or big dollars. While I get that triathlon, biking, kayak racing and other endurance type sports are considered fringe, it is beyond ridiculous to know that yet again, two of the biggest sporting events in the world, are getting the Heisman from the Tribune, Sun Times and the Daily Herald.

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The Chicago Triathlon and the Chicago Shoreline Kayak Marathon are both this weekend.  Both events bring world class athletes in to compete on our shores and streets, but don't look for any real coverage in the three local papers.  I called to check, the best response was from Dan at the Sun Times, which was "We will give it(the triathlon) the same coverage we always do."  When I Googled that coverage, the first hit was an article from 1996!  Still there's hope.

The Daily Herald, Tom sort of stammered an answer that they are relying on AP to cover the events for them and they don't have the man power to cover everything.  AP is covering the largest triathlon in the world for a local paper, that thousands of it's readers are racing in.  What?

How many fat, ass kissing, hot dog sucking reporters do you need to cover the fact that the Cubs suck, Ozzie is upset and Cutler is playing his old team in Denver this weekend.  There I did it for them, now how about a little something, something for the kids in spandex. I know it's important to be able to hangout in the locker room, tell jokes with the boys in the hopes that they will invite you to their golf tournament, but come on, AP covering the races for you.  Man that's just lazy.

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The Tribune, the same company that supplies the fuel for Chicagonow.com.  Despite the fact that I have personally been rallying for something, anything!!! All I got was a shrug and the promise to possibly do something, maybe, kind of, don't count on it.

Forget the fact that the average yearly income of an Ironman is 150k plus, they are men and women between the ages of 30-50 and have plenty of disposable income.  Who would want to appeal to that tasty demographic?  I need to read more about Nascar in Nashville and how Milton Bradleys "feelings are hurt because the fans boo him."

Man up Milton! Lets throw your butt into Lake Michigan against Andy Potts, have you get kicked in the head a few times and see how your feelings are then.  

There are future Olympians and World Champions in Chicago right now, being completely ignored by the media, despite years of sacrifice and training, you don't hear them boo hooing about those mean old fans.  They have something a lot of our pro athletes lost a long time ago, integrity, guts and passion for their sport.

In a town where you can't swing a flat tire without hitting a sign that says "I Back The Bid," you would think our local media would be chasing these Olympians down, lobbing sound bites and quotes at them.  Asking them about how great Chicago is and why it would make a great Olympic venue, helping to build the Olympic buzz and show the world that we care.  

Nope. It's more important that we read about Bears lineman Anthony Adams and his legal troubles with a Gurnee cleaning company. 

So, there it is.  If you want your sport covered by these papers you have to let them know how you feel, otherwise it's more fun times with Uncle Lou and the Cubbies.  Maybe I am wrong, maybe you feel the same, I would love to hear your thoughts, and more to the point, I am sure the folks at the Tribune, Sun Times and Daily Herald would as well, here are their e-mails, just in case you want to drop them a note.

Tom Quinlan- The Daily Herald - tquinlan@dailyherald.com
Tim bannon- The Tribune- tbannon@tribune.com
Dan Cahill- The Sun Times- dcahill@suntimes.com

Comments

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  • Your point about engaging the Olympians to support "the bid" is excellent. You'd think that Daley would have been all over that one!

  • Thank you for your Tri passion. All sports should get their fair share of attention.. Especially one growing so rapidly. I mean, the IM events fill up within 24 hours of the open registration.. There is a great demand for Triathlon coverage. What better sport to highlight than one that is inclusive to all levels rather than just the super human athletes. Thanks Dave for backing up our sport. Good luck to all of you racing this week end! We will see you out there on the course. Daily, Trib, Times... GEt on it!!!

  • It is a shame such a great city can host a world-class event and get so little attention from the local media. The City of Chicago itself is great in its support of endurance sports. After all, closing down roads for a bunch of guys and gals in spandex and allowing us to have any room on Lake Shore Drive shows a huge commitment by the city. It is just also one of many events it supports (marathons, Bike the Drive, Shamrock Shuffle, ect).

    I really wish the media would have embraced this event. I do wish they would take your suggestion and use it as a chance to promote the Olympics. My guess is that at any world-class event in Brazil the media is all over the opportunity to help bring the Olympics there.

    So, endurance athletes are out there. We just are often overlooked by the media.

  • The lack of enthusiasm for media coverage of the Chicago Tri is insane! How can Chicago newspapers NOT cover the tri and the range of athletes racing? We should be proud of hosting this major event and the incredible people involved (all of the volunteers, too). This is certainly a great opportunity to showcase how Chicago handles a large athletic event - just as we'd like to do for the Olympics, right?

    All I can conclude is that these editors don't have a clue about triathlons and aren't remotely interested in endurance sports. I invite them to learn more, ask questions, and meet the fun/smart/dynamic people involved. The media needs to promote and support exercise and activity participation- rather than merely reporting on games we watch from the couch.

    I bet any Chicago Triathlon participant would be happy to be interviewed by all the daily papers. Bring it on!!

  • I consider it ironic that our nation is fighting an obesity epidemic of huge proportions, especially among children and that our local media outlets can't think of an appropriate angle to approach coverage of Endurance Sports. I personally started training for my first sprint triathlon 3 years ago to help me maintain a lifestyle change and loss of considerable weight - a lifelong struggle I might add. I had never been "athletic" or even run more than a 12 mile a minute 5k. The impact this sport has had on my life and my daugthers' lives is amazing. It has not only enhanced my physical well being but has made a huge impact in dealing with stress, anxiety and depression. The commitment it takes is such an amazing example to my children of what you can do when you put your mind and body to something. And, its a sport where you can constantly strive for better, competing with yourself on your own terms.

    We had our first ever junior Tri in Evanston a few weeks ago for kids 7-14, sponsored by the local Y and it was a huge success. That kind of event would never have happened 10-15 years ago and the growth and interest among adults spurs this level of exposure. If we don't commit to covering the biggest and best events, how can we ever expect events like the Evanston youth Y tri to blossom and grow, and show kids big and small there may be a sport that's right for them.

  • I didn't even know there was coverage of endurance sports in Chicagoland!

    How about some love for adventure racing? The Thunder Rolls (http://www.thethunderrolls.org/) is going on this weekend, you had quite a few Chicagoland natives just get back from one of the top races in the AR world, Primal Quest (www.ecoprimalquest.com) (myself included), and there are several other AR events in the area...

    Regardless I agree it would be awesome for these events to get more press! The Tri is truly a world class event and the lakefront does not get utilized near enough.

  • In reply to etnie21:

    Wow, did you compete in Primal Quest or support a team? Where do you typically train/workout? I'm jealous.

  • In reply to etnie21:

    Hi gang, Mike Kellams here. I'm the Tribune's Sports Editor. David Wallach never contacted me nor Deputy Sports Editor Tim Bannon. When Tim asked him via e-mail where he had heard that we're not covering the event, his response was, "That's not what I was told." If he had bothered to talk to either of us (my phone is listed in every Sports section, every day) he would know that we are covering it, with a story slated for Sunday's Sports section and covering the results in Monday's print editions. Just as we did last year. David, the next time you need to know something about Tribune Sports, you know where to find me.

  • In reply to Kellams:

    To correct you. I did try and contact Tim, twice. I spoke to one of your people in the Sports dept. and I pleaded with Tim to call me back.
    I was told by a source that nothing was going to be done. You are familiar with a source? Anyway, they are a reliable source and we went with what we were told. I know you are busy, but a simple call back would have made this all clear.

    Again, we are thrilled to see that you are covering the race. If you have any questions about what to look for, feel free to ask.

  • In reply to DavidWallach:

    I know it's fun to play journalist but how good is your source when you got it completely wrong re: the Tribune's plans? We're covering the triathlon, just as we had planned and you have would have heard if you had actually left a message with a phone for Tim or I to return your call. It's that simple. Good luck to you all this weekend. Have a great time. Mike

  • In reply to Kellams:

    Thanks for checking in. Any time you want to "play journalist" you let me know. I think it would be fun.

  • In reply to Kellams:

    While I cannot comment on whether or not messages were left or not. I can say that I am very happy that the Trib will be covering this as they did last year.

    I remember the very small article done last year, it listed the pro winners and comments about how some of the pros did not have a great day because they just got back from the Olympics.

    I think the base comments made in this blog are vaild, I would compare the coverage of the Chicago Marathon. For the marathon there are any number of stories leading up to race day (including stories of the elites who commit to run months in advance) and EVERY person's time printed in Monday's paper. For the Tri there are two small stories usually and nothing about any of the 'age groupers' who work for weeks, months, or all year to make this their 'A' race.

    I am not bashing the coverage, I remember two years ago some OUTSTANDING coverage of the wounded vet's efforts in the Chicago Tri! That was great.

    I think recognizing the drive, determination, and dedication of ALL 8500+ athletes is what people are looking for.

    I fully understand that the Marathon has 40K entrants compared to the 8500 for the Tri, but I dare to say that the coverage is far less than 21% (yes I used a calcuator for that one) of the Marathon coverage.

    Please understand I focused my comments to the Tri because that is the event I am competing in, you could insert any Chicago endurance event in place of the Tri.

    Again, my hope is that all the Chicago media outlets (read - Channel 2, 5, 7, 9, & 32) give these atheletes their due coverage. If this debate creates more buzz then my guess is it accomplished EXACTLY what David wanted.

    Best of LUCK to EVERYONE on Sunday!! Stay WARM!!

    Bill

  • In reply to Kellams:

    I'm not following. Do you do all the events in one day?

  • In reply to etnie21:

    Sorry, for clarity, one edit I should have made (caught in the double-negative trick bag) ... Tim told David that we are covering the race. "That's not what I was told" was David's response. Apologies for any confusion. Good day.

  • In reply to etnie21:

    Thanks for clearing everything up Mike, we are happy to hear from you guys, you should stop by the world of endurance sports more often. As you can see by the comments there are plenty of folks who would be eager to see and hear from you and your staff.
    So tell us what are the plans, so we can promote it and get people to read the Tribune. It looks like you are the only paper giving the race any real attention, and we want to make sure to help promote that fact.

    Thanks again for your comments. We all look forward to your coverage.

    David

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