What is the future of sports writing in Sacramento?
This uncertainty comes on the eve of Super Bowl XLV and on the heels of many changes in the sports-writer world, both locally and nationally. Over at ESPN.com, former Washington Post scribe Michael Wilbon left his newspaper after nearly three decades to do a column for the online version of the popular sports channel. Former Boston Globe writer Jackie MacMullan made the same switcheroo.
On the Sacramento Bee front, both top Sacramento Kings reporter Sam Amick and sport-section editor Bill Bradley left the hive last year for online endeavors, Fanhouse and 27x7, respectively. What’s more, the Bee was scooped a few times last month on major stories by locally based online blogs, most notably on January 11, when Sactown Royalty broke the news that the new Kings arena would in fact become Power Balance Pavilion.
Years of cutbacks at the Bee sports desk—there are but a handful of reporters and only one columnist, Aileen Voisin—have made it harder to compete with online news sources. The common sentiment is thus: By the time sports news hits print in the A.M., it’s already old news, what with myriad blogs and the 24-hour TV carnival.
So what’s the future?
“There’s no chance ESPN comes to town. Ever,” assured Sactown Royalty editor Tom Ziller. “They wouldn’t even launch ESPN Miami when LeBron settled there.” Ziller says the future of the Bee’s sports section likely will be its “high school and small college sports” coverage—he noted the reporting on Sacramento High School’s Josiah Turner a few weeks back—although he conceded that the high-school basketball beat won’t keep the sports section alive if/when the Kings leave town. (Nick Miller)
Mark it with zeroes
Take the Dude bowling. Just don’t go to the lanes.
Instead, sign up for the River City Food Bank’s Empty Bowls fundraiser. The event features 1,500 pottery bowls made by local students and potters. Participants pick out an empty bowl, to symbolize hunger, and then can fill it from gourmet soups donated by local restaurants. Appetizers and wine will also be served. Restaurants scheduled to participate include Chops Steak, Seafood & Bar and the Bogle Vineyards.
River City aims to raise $100,000 from the fundraiser, up from $86,000 last year. The need has also increased from last year, with local hunger on the rise. River City also experienced a setback in October when its headquarters burned down. The food bank is now temporarily at Sutter Medical Center until it can find a permanent site.
The Empty Bowls event will take place at the Sacramento Masonic Temple (1123 J Street) on March 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m., and March 8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for lunch and $50 for dinner. Tickets can be purchased online at www.rivercityfoodbank.org or at the Trinity Cathedral Bookshop (2620 Capitol Avenue) or The Avid Reader at the Tower (1600 Broadway). (Hugh Biggar)