Monday, August 4, 2008

Media Farewells

What a horrid weekend for native sports fans. Skip Caray dies, and then then news that Tony Barnhart is taking the AJC buyout.

Skip Caray... I always thought he was a ton better than his dad. I never understood the Harry Caray worship, personally. And I'm not sure that Skip was necessarily one of the great all-time announcers, for that matter - I don't really know how one ranks these sorts of things, anyway. But he was ours, and as far as I'm concerned he was the best. He was an unabashed homer, which in my opinion should be a requirement for a sports announcer. He was smart, too, and it reinforced the notion that baseball was a thinking man's game.

Watching the Braves with anyone else calling the game feels like cheating.

Tony Barnhart is one of the best college football reporters around, and like Maria Saporta, I hope he lands somewhere that I can continue to read him. I actually first read about Barnhart's buyout from Michigan blogger Brian Cook - Barnhart is that influential. Some suspect that he is headed to ESPN, joining AJC alum Mark Schlabach, who was the UGA beat writer at one point.

The list of journalists leaving the AJC is pretty staggering, both in quantity and in quality. I've already mentioned Saporta and Barnhart, but I am also pretty familiar with Juile Hairston and David Pendered, since they covered politics and development over the years. They did pretty good work, as far as I'm concerned.

When the layoffs are done, the AJC will have lost 1/3 of their staff. Unlike some bloggers, I do not revel in the slow death of the paper daily. I really enjoy holding and reading a paper, and I rely on the AJC to know what is going on locally. So I mourn their demise a little, and long for the days of Ralph McGill and Henry Grady.

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