A Jolly Good NY Times: Meet Chris Botta's New Bosses

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/05/2011 09:59:00 AM | | | |

These things cannot be made up. No folks, I hate writing about this subject or beating a dead horse but I suppose someone has to make an effort to set the record straight.

You think the card-carrying PHWA is going to make any kind of objective effort for the benefit of the fans they claim to serve?

Not a prayer. That would require some work, why do that when it's easy to simply rip the Islanders once again?

Tom Jolly was moved upstairs by the NY Times in December here from the role of sports editor, it does not change NYIFC view of what's transpired that helped set up this problem.

Mr Jolly's twitter account makes clear enough his interest in sports is active.

I contacted the NY Times 4/5/2011 and was told Joe Sexton is the sports editor, some articles list him as the interim sports editor here I did not inquire if his role was interim.

You folks must remember Tom Jolly? Sure he went to an occasional NHL party in NYC and met Crosby/Parise and other NHL stars, he would not approve full-time local coverage of the New York Islanders or a beatwriter, but the Times business reporter will go to Newark and question the workers on the day of Kovalchuk's press conference about the economy here.

Mr Jolly is the long-time (now former) Sports Editor of the NY Times, who in 2005 took on an Islanders former media relations coordinator after the lockout and comments critical of NY Times coverage here by one Chris Botta.

The last part says contact the editors, demand coverage with some other thoughts on the NY Times and Daily News.

Then there were Mr Jolly's Talk to the Editor's mailbags where Islander fans asked questions about why the team was not receiving daily coverage here.

For those wanting to read them all Mr Jolly answered questions in August 2006, February 2008 and December 2008 here you will have to scroll to Mr Jolly's name to find his Q & A's on sports coverage where Islander fans demanded better hockey coverage.

In 2008, Mr Jolly wrote a note to Chris Botta again here with a lot of contention on both sides about coverage problem.

I hope this note doesn’t come off as off-putting or give you the sense that I’m offended. I don’t begrudge your comments, nor am I upset by them. I’ll concede I’m a bit baffled because I can’t figure out your purpose in repeatedly making such remarks, but since you’ve made them several times, I thought I’d at least express our view.
That was basically it from the Times on the Islanders coverage issue.

A very occasional New York Islander game covered, SI-like features on goal judge box moved, feature on Mandarin coverage, Botta's best moment getting Brandon Sugden reinstated which the Times did correctly feature.

George Vecsey showing up with an Islander feature on 5/24 last year suggesting maybe the Islanders should fold or leave.

Correctly the Times media person Richard Sandomir reported the story when Botta's banishment from lockeroom broke on 11/15 here.

Then a funny thing happened after Botta's credential got revoked by the Islanders, Ken Belson/Dave Caldwell of still Mr Jolly's Sports department went off at the Islanders five days after a win which basically parroted many of Botta's blog charges against the organization.

It took several e-mails exchanges to NYIFC for Mr Belson, a Times business reporter who is not a hockey expert to report MSG had no say in the Islanders radio contract.

SI: Stu Hackel of Times, who by his own words was leaving Times in a 11/12 entry for SI here where he thanked Mr Jolly, also went off at Islanders at supposedly his new venue.

What's amusing there is Mr Hackel still writes for Times here on a regular basis.

Now that AOL Fanhouse outsourced/folded to Sporting News and Botta really only had whatever you call SNY video interviews and his blog, also now co-written by another former Fanhouse employee (Kevin Schultz) who roasted Garth Snow in Fanhouse after Botta's credential was revoked but someone who we have no idea if a member of the PHWA?

To say nothing of Botta's first very unfortunate choice to back him up.

Somewhere in the middle of this Tom Jolly or new sports editor/interim editor, Joe Sexton, who would not give our team coverage or assign a beatwriter all these years, who forced the Islanders into hiring bloggers or starting blog boxes in the first place gave Chris Botta a blog to write for them?

I guess all of these people like to insult the fans and believe we all practice the same hypocrisy or have no memory of what's transpired in the past?

Perhaps because of NYIFC and Islanders-Sound Tigers I remember?

It almost begs the question is Botta blogging there short-term to make sure he can retain a credential? After all if the money is not there at the Times to cover Islander hockey according to Mr Jolly (all those years) it should not be there now unless Botta's not getting paid for his work?

If only Tom Jolly listened to Chris Botta in 2005 and paid a full time Islander beatwriter after the lockout and never put the Islanders in this position we would not have this problem today and neither would the NY Times.

Once again, the hypocrisy and double-standards cannot be cut with a chain saw, but like many things it all comes down to money.

The Islanders paid Chris Botta when Tom Jolly's sports department would not spend money to employ an Islander beatwriter or Botta would never have a credential to begin with because media relations coordinators are not professional hockey writers.

Common knowledge from Botta himself, he was out looking for work after he resigned his position before the team hired him to do a blog as he detailed often in his blogspot version of Point Blank with fans (NYIFC included) asking him to stay in his comment section.

One thing for sure is this will clinch that no NHL team will ever employ someone as a blogger (see Msg policy on bloggers) again because it's not worth the aggravation or risk. Rich Hammond was a Kings newspaper writer who joined the Kings organization as their blogger because of..........drum roll.

Declining media coverage by editors because of budget costs which extended to Helen Elliott's declining space. Then the same media claims teams like the Islanders don't spend enough on payroll?

Comical and hypocritical.

Any sportswriter who takes a public stance against the paper that employs them about not spending on sports coverage would be fired by their editor, lose their credential and the PHWA would not be protesting that publication's action. Why do you think Craig Custance, Pierre LeBrun, Rich Hammond and so many writers move around so often?

It's all about money, most markets including NYC papers don't send writers to the finals unless it's markets or teams they care to cover here with Mr Jolly's Times sending a reporter only to the finals opener in 2007.

Sports Business Daily: Has more from Mr Jolly that year along with then-Post sports editor Greg Gallo aka Larry Brooks boss replaced by Chris Shaw according to the sports department as of 4/5/11 confirmed by call.

N.Y. Post Sports Editor Greg Gallo, whose paper will not send a writer to the finals, said, “Anaheim and Ottawa just doesn’t work for us.” N.Y. Times Sports Editor Tom Jolly “feels the interest in the game over the past 10 years has declined.” Jolly: “I think the lockout was the watershed moment. There was a lack of outrage in the United States about the lockout, and people took stock of that.”

I really hate writing about this subject and wish it would simply go away for good so we don't have to write about it any longer and concentrate on hockey.

Unfortunately for hockey fans the Botta issue will not go away and anything regarding the PHWA will keep forcing this issue to re-surface. The only person with a bigger agenda against the New York Islanders is NYC chapter President Larry Brooks, who kept his mouth/column shut when Evan Grossman's full-time Islander beat was pulled in the middle of a season from the Post.

Again hated writing all this, someone had to.

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