Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Crosby Chronicles

Sports Illustrated recently had a story that talked about The Globe and Mail's assigned Crosby-stalker, Shawna Richer. She has been stalking Crosby for the paper and will be covering his entire first season in the NHL.


"If we really wanted to penetrate the life and times of a great player, and through him understand hockey as a sport, social and cultural phenomenon and business, we had to be there for all those serendipitous moments of meaning," says Edward Greenspon, the editor-in chief of The Globe and Mail. "If we were going to commit to this, we wanted to commit fully."

Now Sidney Crosby is used to lots of attention, but how would you feel if you had a reporter assigned to cover your every move? How would you feel if your job was to simply cover one player for an entire season?

"I told [Crosby] I was here for The Globe and Mail and that I was from Halifax," she (Richer) says. "As soon as I said I was from Halifax, he lit up [Crosby is also from Halifax]. I told him I would be covering the team for the whole season, but really my focus would be on him, and not in a daily every-move-you-make-sort-of-way but sort a broad way that hopefully got at other stories. He said, 'That's cool.'

"It's interesting: He's 18 years old but he realizes that if he wants to be the ambassador to the game, which he clearly does, this is all part of his job."
Ichiro Suzuki and any Japanese baseball player can surely relate. They have a whole team of reporters that follows them around and reports every little item back to the homeland. If they can manage, Sid can manage too. It's just not something we're used to seeing in Canada.

James Mirtle, who also works for The Globe and Mail, wrote his thoughts on Sports Illustrated taking notice of the Canadian reporter stalking Crosby.

I find it fascinating, however, that Sports Illustrated is reporting on the activities of Canada's national newspaper. Of course, this is what I do, but seeing the American sports media reporting on the Canadian sports media in a meaningful way is interesting (and rare) in any context.

Toronto's sports media scene is a competitive one, with four large daily newspapers all competing for the same eyeballs. It's doesn't come as a surprise, then, that The Globe's decision to have a reporter shadow Crosby is a hot debate topic in media circles (something I haven't seen publicly, but often run into privately).

As long as the market is there and people are interested, we'll continue to see more Crosby media than we know what to do with. Will this lead to a Crosby backlash? Not likely, since the kid is pretty aw-shucks darn nice and all that. Don't blame the kid for the media ruckus, since it's a self-feeding monster more than anything.

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