Media Watch: Rating the local coverage of the Super Bowl in Tampa

Fox 13: Yeah, like the rest of the TV outlets it had lots of news stories on its broadcasts. It's online component, SBXLIII on FoxXII, has a cute name but is decidedly behind the times in technology — it's a simple blog! Not enough video (if any, I couldn't find one). This is a television station, right?

The good: It's party and events listings, I guess.

The bad: Why is Fox 13's homepage featuring a Super Bowl story about traffic jams as its only SB video? And coverage of the Blu Party has no video (again) only a still photo gallery.

The worst of the bunch, online at least.

10 Connects (WTSP Channel 10): The CBS affiliate teamed up with Metromix to create its special Super Bowl website. It covers much of the hoopla — parties, traffic, events, celebs, the game.

The good: Streaming video with Super Bowl stories and some live events; lots and lots of video.

The bad: "Blog" postings that aren't really in blogs; very little depth, in either covering the hoopla or covering the game itself.

Excerpt, from a "blog" posting by Erica Pitzi:

I know they're rich... and famous... and really good at what they do.

But do celebrities live up to the pedestal we put them on?

I have mixed feelings after I covered the Par and Poker Celebrity Challenge for Charity on Thursday.

Shotgun was at 9:30am for the 18-hole golf tournament at TPC Tampa Bay. My chance to interview some of the stars was when they were warming up on the driving range beforehand.

Yeah, that's the kind if insight you expect from a college daily.

Tampa Tribune/NewsChannel 8/ Not a bad effort for the Media General-owned trio, but not as much cool technology as you would expect. Hell, food writer Jeff Houck's Super Bowl-related The Stew Tweets are better than most of the stuff you will find on the official TBO Super Bowl website.

Friday's front page of the print Trib was dominated by a Super Bowl tease, with a really neat, expressive shot of about half of the E Street Band with Bruce Springsteen at the news conference on Thursday. The rest of the Super Bowl package teased four other stories: New restaurants gearing up to take advantage of the game; the Steeler D; how much money NBC will make; and a minor piece about how the Cards misspelled an Arizona mayor's name on a jersey they gave her.

The online component ( recycles the rotating photo-story hero feature from the TBO homepage. On Friday afternoon, the five featured stories were: The party scene, as filed by a Trib reporter from a local Waffle House after the Diddy party; no crackdown on strip clubs; a look at Cards Coach Ken Whisenhunt; a story about the Cards fallen hero, Pat Tillman; and a guide to Tampa Bay.

Print special coverage: 12-page Super Bowl sports section daily, which on Friday included a bizarre editorial choice: a full double-truck feature on Deion Sanders.

The good: An interactive guide to the NFL Experience; sportswriting.

The bad: A party and events list mostly fed by out-of-town websites like Zvent and TicketNetwork; a pedestrian listing of sports bars with no info beyond addresses and a map; ho-hum photos on Snap of mostly minor celebs (my fave: Jerry O'Connell at media day) at official events and news conferences and very little papparazzi-style stuff; and a Super Bowl quiz that is not interactive.

Excerpt from the coverage of the Winky Wright party in Ybor City by Richard Mullins:

Then, at 1:05 a.m., rumor spread that Diddy had snuck in the back of the club – skipping the red carpet processional. News crews wailed. Security staff scrambled, and publicists confirmed the tragic news.

After some tense negotiations, club representatives offered to bring just three reporters inside to interview Sean "Diddy" Combs, music and fashion mogul.

I was one of them, but I lost my exclusive when Diddy's people ran another sneak play. The announcement was stunning: Diddy would leave the club, get back in his motorcade, then re-enter the club through the red carpet.

He did so, and like Stormy Daniels, he also waxed economic.

"All you hear is recession, recession, recession," Diddy offered. "Even a recession has to take a break. That's what this is about."

GIven the resources of this converged media outlet, you would expect a little more and a little more glitz.

ABC Action News (WFTS Channel 28): Big advantage for this station, because its studios are right across the street from Raymond James Stadium. That gives the the opportunity to have a live cam on their tower pointed over at the goings-on at the stadium and NFL Experience. Its special SB website ( has good stories, some video and lots of photo galleries.

The Good: Lots of relevant news stories, from the chicken wing shortage to an interview with Steelers' legend Jerome "The Bus" Bettis; drink recipes for the game; and Diddy video. My fave: Don Germais at the Madden Bowl party; Twitter feed @abcactionnews has been using #superbowl to track goings-on.

The bad: Having to hunt for the Germais video since the site's player doesn't have a direct link and its embed code doesn't like my WordPress.

The only downside to ABC? No blogs, no Twitter, little personality in any of the online stuff outside of the videos by the reporters covering parties.

St. Petersburg Times/ The winner. Friday's print edition had a cool layout featuring four equal-size photos of celebs: Bruce Springsteen at his presser; Faith Hill at hers; Michael Jordan with an injured hand at a golf course where four fans paid him $70,000 to play a round with them; and Rihanna at the Ford Amp concert.

The online component (Your Guide to Tampa's Super Bowl) is pretty cool. It's very celeb and party-oriented, with a photo of Diddy dominating it on Friday afternoon. The site's Wingman blog takes much of the lead on the partying scene, providing a much bawdier look at the world then you would normally expect from the staid Times. It is joined by a blog just for Super Bowl coverage.

Special print coverage: A 10-page special Super Bowl sports section on Friday, which (strangely) included a nonsports column by metro scribe Sue Carlton. Kudos, however, to the Page 2 party-entertainment wrapup and Tom Jones' always-excellent 2Cents media-watching column.

The Good: Asjylyn Loder's fairly detailed look at how the recession is hurting Super Bowl spending in Tampa; Twitter updates for the Super Bowl and from the Times' celeb *tbt photog, who asked followers to tweet him with celebrity sightings; a quality papparazzi celeb photo gallery; guest celeb blogger Jenn Sterger and seamy stories about the real fun naughty stuff to do in Tampa by former CL scribe Wade Tatangelo; and wall-to-wall coverage by almost every reporter on the staff on every single celeb or sports-related event, party, golf tourney, etc.

The Bad: That same wall-to-wall coverage is a bit disorienting after a while.

Excerpt from the coverage of the Winky Wright party in Ybor City by Dalia Colon:

Diddy kept the crowd waiting early Friday morning but eventually made his grand entrance to his Good Life Experience, a three-night party also headlined by Deion Sanders and Winky Wright. The party -- at Clearwater's Venue nightclub -- got off to a wet start Thursday. Organizers spent the late afternoon covering the red carpet with a white tent, but guests still had to slosh their way through the parking lot to make it inside.

The shindig was hosted by Diddy and Wright. The theme, Champions of the Good Life, was a nod to Wright's boxing career. There were Red Bull girls in black and red ensembles and cocktail waitresses in gold corsets with black lace and black skirts. Casino dealers worked at card tables, and VIP tables were covered with red velvet cloths and red roses.

The champagne list ranged from $150 Ferrari Brut to 3-liter bottles of $2,000 Perrier-Jouet.

For most of the Tampa Bay media, it is all hands on deck for Super Bowl coverage as we near the game on Sunday. This has been building for weeks, with the crescendo in newsprint, online sites, video and audio over the past week.

Overall, though, my main thought about the coverage is: Damn! It would take a normal human being 237 years to read all of this. Most of it is ephemeral; on a blog or website front one minute, lost in the archives the next. You imagined that if the local media paid this much attention to our economy and government we would be the only metro area in the nation not suffering from a recession or corruption.

Given that caveat, here is a look at how they did, from worst to best, among the major media players in the Tampa Bay Market:

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