Steve Silafer's "On Watch" column in a recent Sports Business Journal argues that the traditionally cozy relationship between journalists and sports properties crossed the line in the over-the-top coverage provided to CBS Scene, co-owned by the Patriots, by a CBS affiliate in Boston. Silafer argues that in shilling for the restaurant, WBZ-TV jeopardized its ability to cover the Pats "objectively."
Although I appreciate Silafer's column, and I agree that with his concern, I'm afraid that his complaint about the "synergy" between journalists and sports teams that could compromise reporting is too little, too late. These kinds of relationships are part of the reason that sports journalism has traditionally been seen as the "toybox" and has not had a strong record of investigative, public-service reporting. There are many more points on the board for "synergy" than Silafer gives it -- and that won't change until the public demands it does.