Scooped again, and again and again

What is the difference between a newspaper, a failed lawyer turned writer and a good college football blog?

Nothing.

All three run photographs of players and then provide ominous interpretations of what these photographs mean.

This is actually good for blogs and Internet sites.

Not so good for a respected media outlet.

While the NCAA conducts a massive multi-front investigation of Auburn, the Birmingham News and its reporters have ignored the story. The Birmingham News and al.com have consistently been scooped by outside newspapers and media outlets. Why investigate when you can reprint what the New York Times reports and ESPN exposes and HBO’s Real Sports uncovers.

Getting scooped by Bryant Gumble must freaking suck. A real editor and a real publisher would be enraged over such an outcome.

Scooped was once a bad word in the newspaper business.

That was back when newspapers had pride. That was back when newspapers had competition—does anyone remember when Birmingham had two newspapers?

Oh for those good old days.

Today the state is forced to endure a failed newspaper with a shrinking influence that is too lazy to pursue a major NCAA investigation. Would the news and political sections of the newsroom allow this kind of sloppiness?

It wasn’t long ago when the Birmingham News won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigative reporting on the corruption in Alabama’s Two-Year College System.

With an Auburn-fan as publisher, the Birmingham News was scooped and scooped and scooped again when it comes to reporting on Auburn.

Coincidence?

It is either incompetent leadership, or something else is going on at the Birmingham News and in all of Advance Publication’s Alabama properties. When the New York Times comes into your backyard and beats you on a story about the Southeastern Conference—something is wrong.

Aren’t local papers supposed to do a better job because they have a local focus? The SEC’s office is right here in Birmingham. Advance has beat writers for both Alabama and Auburn. How could these reporters have failed to get the news about the NCAA’s confrontational exchange with Auburn coach Gene Chizik at the SEC’s spring meeting in Sandestin?

Why is the Birmingham News so interested in a men’s clothing store in Tuscaloosa or some other rabid fan that knows the men’s store owner and football players, but has failed to break news about Auburn’s NCAA troubles?

When you compare the reporting in the newspaper, it is clear there is a serious problem in the newsroom.

Again, is it leadership or something else?