Editor and Publisher recently at the general failure of sports writers over the years to cover the use of steroids by baseball players.
Following one team day in and day out is always going to be tricky — write about sensitive topics and risk getting the cold shoulder from players or management, just as reporters covering the White House risk losing access to sources as a result of too much muckraking.
As a reporter for the Dallas Morning News notes: “A beat writer has to continue covering a team or a sport. If you piss people off, they shut you out.”
But many writers from the ‘80s and ‘90s now regret not being more aggressive about covering the issue, the article notes, which is a good reminder that good journalism may inevitably lead to some antagonism with organizations’ communications departments.
Tougher coverage of the issue might have benefited baseball, too, if it meant curbing a problem before it become so apparently pervasive and entrenched.