By CHRIS RASMUSSEN
I came to a conclusion that I didn’t expect when I read this blog post yesterday: I don’t care how much Jason Whitlock makes but I suspect he earns every penny.
I’m a news junkie. I read the Star every day not just because doing so is a civic responsibility but because I love newspapers. If I had my druthers, we’d have multiple newspapers in every town. Yes, it's unfortunate when any business fires workers just so the wealthy can enjoy higher profits -- and doubly so when it involves newspapers, which are the lifeblood of democracy. And yes, managers are never the first to be laid off, although they might be the first to deserve it.
But, like it or not, the media landscape is changing.
When I was a kid, the only way to get national and international news was to read the Star and the Times. Now, multiple digital sources provide the same information, often with more detail and at less cost.
Sports coverage is more immune from these changes. Blogs provide little access to feed sports fans' demand for information, talk radio takes too much time for a sports fan to actually get any information, ESPN devotes too little space to local sports teams and local news broadcasts provide little sports coverage at all.
With all these changes, Whitlock’s role at the Star is even more important. He does his job and does it well. Each winter, he provides a must-read column concerning the topic of discussion at every water cooler and family gathering in this town: the Chiefs. He provides access and unvarnished opinion on a topic where there is clearly an insatiable demand.
Do I agree with every thing he writes? Hell no. But I read him and – most importantly – he gets a reaction from me, my friends and my family. Indifference is the columnist’s only sin and no one in this town who follows sports is indifferent about Jason Whitlock.
Sure, paying so much money to one who writes about games strikes many as grotesque (to say nothing of the athletes Whitlock covers, who make multiples of his salary). I also think reality shows are incredibly stupid and find Sex and the City a tribute to vapidity. Thankfully for all of us, neither you or I individually decide what people can or can’t watch or the salaries of those who entertain us.
The market does. That’s why Jason Whitlock earns his salary.