Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hejda Introduction and Treasure Hunt

Well, the bad news for Avs fans is that the Red Wings jumped to a convincing 5-0 lead against the Sens last night, before some late goals made the final score closer than the game was... and those Red Wings are heading to Denver for a game tonight. The good news for Avs fans is that the Red Wings had to travel across three time zones and gear up for a game the very next night, so maybe the Avs will catch them a bit out of breath. Those Red Wings are all old and soft, you know. Whatever happens tonight, it will be great to have hockey back!

And now, on to the articles...

Defenseman Hejda is feeling right at home with the Avalanche

The Geico caveman in his little-seen first role.
In this article, Adrian Dater gives us some information about one of the Avs' new additions, defenseman Jan Hejda. It is a well-done article that leaves the reader feeling that he or she has learned quite a bit about the Avs' new defenseman. Dater opens with a good intro to gain the reader's attention, and then proceeds to educate his reader about the big Czech. Included are quotes from both Erik Johnson and Hejda himself, a bit of history for the man, and a hint at the sort of game we can expect from him paired with Johnson as the Avs' top defensive pairing. Needless to say, the Avs defense went from speedy-but-undersized to freakin' huge seemingly in the blink of an eye, didn't it?

This article continues Dater's Jekyll and Hyde pattern of doing a decent (and sometimes, very good) job with the real-news articles for the Post, while simultaneously providing irritatingly banal, subjective, and often downright cranky offerings with his blog (and presumably, Twitter. I'm not even bothering with Twitter but I understand he's quite snippy there also). His recent blog entries have been biased, uninformed, and downright misleadingexamples of everything a journalist should avoidand then he flips the switch and offers a fairly well-done piece like this one.

While I'm not a particularly big fan of the Post's sports coverage in general, there are other sportswriters there who use the blogs in a professional manner which supports their coverage. More often than not, Dater's uber-personal use of the blog undermines, rather than bolsters, his regular coverage. Step one on the road to recovery for Dater is to ditch the Post blog entirely... or to at least use it as an extension of his professional, journalist personality, and find some separate blog engine where he can open up a personal blog and gripe to his heart's content about all the people and things in the world that piss him off. Blogspot seems to work fairly well for that, I recommend it.

This article is a good piece on Hejda. Dater's interest stories are generally very good, his post-game writeups are often spotty, and his blog entries are usually bordering on worthless... but this well-done article offers proof that with the proper focus, Dater can more than hold his own as a sportswriter.

Having just built a case against Dater's attempt to personally connect with his readers through the Post's All Things Avs blog, let's turn to his most recent endeavor there. After a quick (and, it should be said, rather professional and coverage-supporting) entry on Johnson being named the team's third alternate captain, Dater goes on to explain that he has purchasedapparently with his own money—two tickets to the Avs-Wings game, with the intention of giving them to one of his readers. He turned this into a treasure hunt, ultimately hiding them at a soccer field in Broomfield. It apparently wasn't much of a hunt, as somebody found them almost instantly.

This is not the first time Dater has had his readers tearing all over Denver looking for hidden items; last season he emptied out his bedside table he'd filled with Forsberg trinkets, and spread it out all over the city. While the old man in me who says "get off my lawn" to happy children wants to frown on such an obvious attempt to endear himself to his readers with free crap, I have to say that within the framework Dater's already built here, this opening-night ticket giveaway was a damn nice thing to do. He must have been dreading the possibility that somebody like me would have found his tickets, which makes it an even nicer thing for him do have done.

Dater, I think, really likesand wants to be liked byhis readers, and clearly there are plenty who like him right back. I suppose I will never be on-board with his desire to socially network with his readers, but I do hope that he will realize that the best way to pay them back for their readership is to offer them the best hockey coverage out there. I don't doubt that Dater puts a lot of time into his blog, but he doesn't always put a lot of work into it. His readers deserve better... but until then, free tickets are a nice substitute.

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