ILCA Women’s Networking Group

Catch A Tiger By The Tail…Then Please Let It Go by sgramsilca
December 9, 2009, 7:13 pm
Filed under: 1

By Scott Grams
For once, everyone is talking about golf. Unfortunately, it is because the greatest golfer of our time has become embroiled in a sex scandal. When the mighty fall, they fall hard. I understand Tiger is a prominent and world class athlete. Yet even the enormity of his celebrity does not justify the sheer volume, shock, outrage, and coverage this story has received. What Tiger did is wrong but it does not deserve the level and depth of coverage it has gotten since Thanksgiving. It is like the Pope died.

I don’t know what is more disturbing, seeing tabloid news try to act like real news or real news act like tabloid news. Watching TMZ act like journalists is like watching monkeys dress in human clothes or dogs walk on their hind legs. It is comedic but unnatural.

It was Bryant Gumble who helped put the Tiger Woods story into perspective. Bryant is a career newsman who has seen stories come and go. He has seen stars rise and fall. He said that the reason the Tiger Woods story is still scorching hot news is not because of what or who it involved but due to when it occurred. Bryant said that November-February is the slowest time for news. Nothing happens. People are preoccupied with the holidays, cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Congress is usually mired in endless debate. The Super Bowl is still 2 months away. TV goes into reruns. Movie studios drag out their duds and Oscar dramas. The news cycle demands that a story may only be put to bed if another more interesting, shocking, and lascivious story dethrones it. Unfortunately for Tiger (and the rest of us) there is no end in sight.

Bryant was right. The story will languish on until a more scratching story comes along. He gave the example of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford who got himself into hot water earlier this year when he both disappeared and then admitted to an international love affair. Now Mark is still in trouble but America has pretty much forgotten about the story. Why? Because a few days after the story broke, Michael Jackson died. All of a sudden we glommed onto that story and forgot about Mark, his love triangle, and the State of South Carolina.

Listening to Bryant Gumble I ALMOST forgave the media’s incessant coverage of the Tiger Woods story. I almost shrugged and asked, “what are you going to do?” But that isn’t fair. Why can’t we use “slow news days” to cover stories that would not be covered elsewhere. Why can’t newspapers cover charities? Why can’t radio stations interview good Samaritans? Why can’t television stations dig deeper into stories than the 30 second fluff we get most news nights? I’m not naïve enough to think these stories will replace commuter crashes, political scandal, or the War in Afghanistan but they should get a day to shine when the only other alternative is Tiger Woods.

Take for instance the McCormick Place union issue. The news media got excited for 2 days because they heard about the $150 case of Pepsi. That was the least surprising news I heard that day. I have union and catering stories that will make your hair turn white. BTW – 12 breakfast burritos at McCormick costs $96. Remember that next time you fold a 12-cent flour tortilla around a 15-cent egg. The loss of three massive trade shows will have dramatic implications on the city but the story only generated 2 nights worth of coverage. ½ of all Chicago’s tourism business comes from trade shows and we just lost 3 massive ones. Yet, the news media gave up on that story and would rather talk about Tiger Woods.

Our businesses use the slow time around the holidays to retool and think strategically. It finally allows us to catch our breath and look to the future. It is a time to organize our businesses and work on projects we wish we had time to donate to during the busier times of the year. For once, we feel like we are out in front of our professional lives. We don’t waste the quiet. Why do professional news organizations get a free pass? When you finally get a “slow news day” of your own, don’t waste it. Think of all the projects and people you wanted to concentrate on when time was at a premium. Remember, idle hands do the devil’s work…just act Tiger Woods.


1 Comment so far
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Wow! You could be the next Bryant Gumbel! Well done! Terre

Comment by Terre Houte

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