What if papers cut sports sections instead of biz sections?

Chris Roush

Chris Roush is the dean of the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. He was previously Walter E. Hussman Sr. Distinguished Professor in business journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a former business journalist for Bloomberg News, Businessweek, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Tampa Tribune and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. He is the author of the leading business reporting textbook "Show me the Money: Writing Business and Economics Stories for Mass Communication" and "Thinking Things Over," a biography of former Wall Street Journal editor Vermont Royster.

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  1. Howard Owens says:

    Is somebody trying to seriously suggest that business sections drive the same kind of readership as sports sections? Really? Seriously?

    There’s no comparison. The idea is laughable.

  2. Jason Kramer says:

    Ditto what Howard said.
    The fact that there isn’t an uproar over the removal of business sections proves it’s the right decision.

  3. Todd says:

    That raises a good question. How many people read the business section compared to the sports section? I saw a readership survey at one major metro that found more readers claimed to have read the business section than the sports section. Could you address that question in the blog?

  4. Becky says:

    Actually, the idea isn’t laughable at all.
    In our market, readership surveys have shown the size of the audiences for biz and sports sections are about the same — roughly a third of all readers. But, Sports has an advantage on increasing street sales — when the local teams are on winning streaks — and in attracting advertizers. May not be true in all markets, but still, definitely not laughable. And, maybe incorporating biz coverage in the A section or in Metro is a good call, all things considered, in some markets.

  5. James Overstreet says:

    I agree that it is not laughable. In Memphis at The Commercial Appeal, surveys indicate almost identical readership.

    The 2004 Scarborough Report showed the Business Section attracting 305,000 daily readers, compared to 327,000 for the Sports Section — 34% and 36% of the MSA, respectively.

    The latest report, 2006, indicated the Business Section has 312,000 readers, compared to 347,000 for the Sports Section — 34% and 37%.

    Maybe sports fans are more passionate and vocal, but the sheer numbers appear to be relatively even.

  6. Ted Craig says:

    Isn’t this going backwards? Moving ton sections was the great innovation of the 1960s. Now, we seem to be returning to the all-in-one format.

  7. Drew Voros says:

    If stock agate is a waste of space, as some see, then certainly the sports section agate page is, too. ESPN.com, NFL.com, NBA.com, MLB.com, NHL.com is where real sports fans go anyways, just like the arguement that stocks prices are found online. And at what point do we stop getting horse gamblers a free ride with their agate?
    Of course cutting stock and sports agate pages serves no one but the bottomline, and that’s just for the nexct quarter.

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