Mariotti Departure Met With Rejoice, May Have Business Implications

Jay Mariotti’s decision to leave the Chichago Sun-Times has everyone from colleagues at the newspaper, his bosses, the people he covered, to almost anyone in sports media jumping for joy. Never before do I recall such happiness around a decision to quit. Not even Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens received this much negative publicity.

Two points I draw from this decision and subsequent reaction. Mariotti made it clear he was leaving to work on web-related projects because that’s where he sees the industry going, stating his Bejing experience was the tipping point. Well, thanks for catching up with the rest of the world Jay. Anyone that has not recognized the power of blogs and podcasts is missing the boat and won’t stay in business much longer. Newspapers are already busy remaking their image around new media. Its doubtful newspapers will continue to see a mass exodus of talent. However, they may be forced to lay off talented sports reporters due to shrinking revenue and less viewership. Writers don’t need to leave for online exposure, newspapers need to create the online forum for them.

On the other hand, a veteran sports writer, Mariotti probably expected to catch on easily somewhere. Unless he already has a handshake deal with someone (Boston was reported) the outcry against him may hurt his employment. Mariotti will not stay unemployed, but he’ll struggle to get the same contract he may have received if someone actually liked him. More disconcerting than likability, the comments show nobody respects him at a personal or professional level. Not good for the resume.

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