Marc Narducci's column for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com has brought outrage and hatred from Philadelphia Union fans, especially the Sons of Ben.
The Union beat reporter wrote a somewhat nonsensical piece for the Inky that criticized the Union fanbase for booing the team and for using organized chants that are laced with profanity. Then fans reacted to the article with understandable anger toward Narducci.
There were no quotes backing up Narducci's point of view, nor were there any facts, figures, links, videos or audio recordings that provided ample support for him. That's where the real problem was with his article on fan behavior.
Complaints are warranted. We here at the Brotherly Game have on multiple occasions defended the fans when the mainstream media have taken potshots at them. That's where this situation has led to, again.
At this point in the Union's life, the media still doesn't need the team - the team needs the media. The Inquirer and Daily News, along with the Delaware County Times and other news outlets have the upper hand in the relationship with the team because the demand just isn't there for them to commit full time to Union coverage.
To improve coverage of the Union, both in quantity and quality, fans need to step up on their own. Supporting local media is how to do just that.
Currently there is not close to enough of a "market" for papers and their online outlets to pursue more coverage of the Union. Facts and figures are what will drive news outlets to not only want to cover the Union, but also to force them to do so.
Talking to people in the industry, the Brotherly Game understands that there just isn't enough demand at the moment. Philly.com has content that is republished from the Inquirer and Daily News, but stories on the site's blog The Goalkeeper have tailed off in frequency due to a lack of people clicking in to read articles.
The Brotherly Game draws an average of 750 people and 1700 page views a day. Transfer that over to a Philly.com, CSNPhilly.com or otherwise and it still doesn't translate into enough of a money "grab" for editors with limited resources to devote more effort to.
Buying papers is the main way to justify coverage in the Inky or Daily News, in addition to filling out surveys that indicate why the purchase was made. With quantifiable sales for articles related to the Union, papers can put more resources into their reporting on the club.
Online news is a whole other situation. In addition to simply clicking on links and visiting sites, the use of social networking is of equal importance. "Likes" on Facebook are now factored into the algorithms, as are tweets and retweets of links on Twitter.
Comments on both, through emails or actual writing on sites, show that there is an active readership that wishes to see reporting continue and grow. There's a lack of that for Union-related sites, be them blogs or mainstream media outlets.
Too often people will read a headline, not click on an article and comment off the site or not email an author or his/her editor. It hurts everyone involved. Ad revenue is what everyone in the equation (sans the readers themselves) is looking for. Companies will throw more money to 'papers and online outlets if there is a sustainable - and large - number of readers or consumers.
The solution to 'fixing' the current state of main stream media coverage of the Union is to read, write and click. It's all in your hands (or mouse).