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Interesting Take on Coach K's Local Media Complaint

Perhaps not what we thought it was. Still petty though.

From ACC Sports:

“It’s interesting, always interesting to me in 29 years here,” he said later in his post-Davidson monologue. “The subtleties of the local press is funny in some respects.”

Some of those “subtleties” are at least partially of Krzyzewski’s own doing.

He is the least-accessible coach in the ACCl. With just a few exceptions - like the week of the Duke-UNC game - Krzyzewski’s only media availabilities during the season come immediately after games and for 10 minutes every Monday morning on the ACC’s weekly conference call.

Krzyzewski has done little to nurture anything more than a tepid relationship with the writers who do cover his team on a regular basis, preferring instead to deal with the national press who frequently drop in to do stories on the Blue Devils’ program.

On this particular occasion, Krzyezewski’s ire was mostly likely raised by the Raleigh News & Observer’s decision to pull veteran writer Luciana Chavez off the Duke beat.

Although it replaced her with a team of three reporters – led by Ken Tysiac, who had previously covered solely N.C. State – the move leaves the Durham Herald-Sun as the only daily newspaper in North Carolina to have one writer covering the Blue Devils full-time.

The rival Tar Heels, by contrast, still have four media outlets – including Raleigh – on their beat.

The access might be a bigger issue than even Friedlander is making of it here.  Krzyzewski snubs the local media.  While Roy Williams has at least one sitdown per week with the local reports, K is only available when he wants to be or required to be by the ACC/NCAA.  That is not endearing yourself to the local papers and I think the lack of good material from head coach or players means fewer feature articles.

The economics issues for the newspaper industry is also an intriguing angle.  Newspapers are slowly dying.  Couple that with some of the worst economic conditions in nearly 30 years, it creates a perfect storm circumstances that lead to very tough decisions on coverage.  One such decision was the pulling of Lucianda Chavez off the Duke beat and instead assigning out a team of reporters to cover them.  Friedlander asserts this is the bee in K's bonnet not the fact the ranking was not recognized.  And it is within K's purview to complain about this but I would think doing it privately or through his SID would make more sense given there are legitimate reasons.

For example, the aforementioned access issue is pertinent to the discussion.  If Duke basketball maintains a closed attitude with the local media then why on earth would a newspaper needing to save money assign a beat writer?  UNC get mentioned as having four media outlets with a beat in Chapel Hill but at the same time, UNC also is much more forthcoming with the media on various issues.  This was evident last season in the whole "we don't release our injury information" shot K took at Roy because UNC got into the habit of releasing injury information to the media on what was almost a daily basis.  And there was a reason for that.  It is called demand which leads to the other reason why Duke enjoys less focused coverage from the local media.  Quite simply there are far fewer people looking for news about Duke than there is UNC or NC State for that matter.  UNC's student population is 20,000 more than Duke's that means UNC graduates four times as many people and since it is an in-state school and long considered the "university of the people" there are allegiances(like mine) that transcend actually attending the school.  The demand for news about UNC from Tar Heel fans is going to trump the demand from Duke fans several times over.  As a newspaper editor looking to cut costs can you really justify continuing to send Chavez all over the place covering Duke when the readership might not be as strong or do you make the tough decision to cut that beat.  The former makes sense in terms of economics.  K may not like it but that is life right now for many media outlets.

Then again I am sure K also misses Chavez's glowing accounts and general sycophancy where Duke was concerned.  Besides who needs the N&O when you have Duke Basketball Report and both 620 and 850 broadcasting your games.