Some Eagles Beat Writers Weren’t Happy with the Carson Wentz Secret Meeting

Photo credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Last Thursday, Carson Wentz responded to Joe Santoliquito’s Philly Voice article in a sit down interview with six members of the Eagles press corps. The 23-minute discussion was embargoed until yesterday morning for whatever reason (maybe it had something to do with the Super Bowl), but this was the list of invitees:

  1. Zach Berman (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  2. Jeff McLane (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  3. Dave Zangaro (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
  4. Reuben Frank (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
  5. Sheil Kapadia (The Athletic)
  6. Tim McManus (ESPN)

I think all of us would probably say that those are six of the “main guys” on the beat. They’re usually up front, asking the bulk of questions during press conferences and scrums. They work for legacy and/or respected media outlets with significant readership. Their stuff is going to move the needle more than the guy writing for the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.

The public relations concept is simple enough; if you put Carson Wentz in front of the entire group, it’s just going to turn into a shit show of people yelling over each other to try to get their questions in. Doing it in the auditorium and passing a microphone around might make sense, but a scrum would be a nightmare.

So you take a small group of reporters who are on the beat daily, put them in a more intimate setting, and let your quarterback be more comfortable facing half a dozen people instead of 25 people all fumbling to get a recorder or a TV camera in his face.

To their credit, the six people who participated got a lot of great quotes from Wentz. I didn’t finish any of their articles thinking, “why didn’t they ask him about (this topic) instead?

But some people were annoyed that they weren’t invited, which is understandable.

I shared this exchange yesterday:

There was more from Jack and some of the other newspaper guys, after the jump:

It’s a fair point, sure, but like I said, I think the six guys invited covered all of the bases and didn’t leave anything hanging.

Dave Weinberg covers the Eagles for the Press of Atlantic City

The other reporters aren’t a “circus act,” but the group as a whole can be. There are a TON of people down there regularly, and while the Sixers beat doesn’t feature half as many folks as the Eagles beat, we’ve had some Bryan Colangelo and Markelle Fultz availabilities that turned into people sort of fumbling over one another trying to shout out their questions.

More from Jack and Sielski via a Bob Grotz tweet that contains two misspelled words. What he’s trying to say here is that the Eagles accused Joe Santoliquito of being “selective,” then went and acted selectively themselves by picking out six people to talk to Wentz:

Mike is right; Jeff McLane is hardly a homer. I mean, Howie Roseman laughed in his face less than a month ago in front of the entire press corps. So it’s not like McLane was invited to the secret Carson Wentz meeting because he would go easy on Carson or fall in line, it was because he’s there every single day and writes for the city’s premier newspaper and legacy media outlet.

More from Weinberg via “Fake Rob Charry” –

Yeah, I don’t think anyone was going to get this invitation and say, “thanks, but no thanks.”

Thing is, this happens all the time in sports media. It’s not just exhibited in these kinds of situations.

For instance, if a front office executive is looking for a leak, is he going to the Philadelphia Inquirer or the Pottstown Mercury? He’s going to the Inquirer, because it’s a massive media organization in a large market while the Mercury is a smaller and hyper-local newspaper. That’s not to insult the fine folks in Upper Montco, it’s just pointing out the fact that their reach and their ability to disseminate information takes place on a much smaller scale by the nature of what they are.

Beyond that, the reason no local beat reporters ever break anything is because team leaks come from the top down. They’re given to national guys like Adam Schefter or Adrian Wojnarowski via front office executives, agents, and people in the NFL and NBA league offices. It doesn’t mean local beats are incapable, it just makes more sense for sources to spread information via national media instead.

Zach probably had the best response:

I don’t think Eagles PR did anything wrong here. They avoided the “circus atmosphere” by picking out six of the main beat guys and putting them in a setting with Wentz that was more conducive to fair questions and honest answers. I wouldn’t label any of those six as “homers,” though maybe Roob can be that way sometimes.

The only thing that might have made more sense was to only have one person from the Inquirer and one person from NBCSP, because you had six guys representing four outlets, two of which put their content behind a pay wall. You could have invited Jimmy Kempski or Mike Kaye or Zack Rosenblatt or one of the WIP guys instead, which would have given you six reporters from six different outlets.

Either way, interesting public relations case study for the aspiring reporter.

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12 Comments

  • DD February 5, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Who TF is Jack McCaffery?

    And why werent any bloggers invited? Ugh

    Reply
    • Kevin Conley February 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

      There’s some other uninteresting right angles here. Namely, CSN Boston getting 2 reports there even though A) their bedroom is a disaster that nobody can possibly read and 2) they have, between CSN and NBC10, 1 media deal with the Jets – airing preseason games, interviews, highlights, access, team-produced content, etc.

      It makes zero sense why the Mets decided to do it this way instead of a presser/scrum. Maybe what would’ve made less sense was to do 1 print interview and 1 on camera. So a quick 1 on 5 with someone for CSN, then Jeff/Booster Seat Berman get something as the paper of record in the country. Sexy Jack McCaffery would still dance, but perhaps this would avoid the beats.

      Wait, who I am kidding? Sports writers the most sensitive, possessive people on earth. It’s amplified to the extremes in Philly and on the Eagles beat. Grown men getting their in their feelings because they didn’t get to talk some pimply-faced simpleton about his temper tantrums.

      Reply
  • Nissan Frontera, the pickup truck for women February 5, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Any blogs with 2 soccer podcasts get invited to NovaCare?

    Any new Live Podcast subscriber only parties to look forward to?

    Reply
    • Kevin Kinkead February 5, 2019 at 11:25 am

      any new material from you?

      Reply
  • Grotesque Wentz February 5, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Wentz is easily a first team All Ugly NFL player. the only thing keeping his delco trash wifes mouth off my hog is his wallet

    Reply
  • 4 for 4 for life - all in on the 4 sports and the cuz February 5, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Cuz should have been there

    Reply
  • Thick Ropes Cuz February 5, 2019 at 11:31 am

    There’s some other interesting angle here. Namely, CSN Philly getting 2 reports there even though 1) their website is a disaster that nobody can possibly read and 2) they have, between CSN and NBC10, several media deals with the Eagles – airing preseason games, interviews, highlights, access, team-produced content, etc.

    It makes a ton of sense why the Eagles decided to do it this way instead of a presser/scrum. Maybe what would’ve made more sense was to do 1 print interview and 1 on camera. So a quick 1 on 1 with someone for CSN, then Jeff/Booster Seat Berman get something as the paper of record in the city. Cranky fossil Jack McCaffery would still complain, but perhaps this would avoid the in-fighting from the beats.

    Wait, who I am kidding? Sports writers the most sensitive, possessive people on earth. It’s amplified to the extremes in Philly and on the Eagles beat. Grown men getting their in their feelings because they didn’t get to talk some pimply-faced simpleton about his temper tantrums.

    Reply
  • Sheeeeeeeeeeesh February 5, 2019 at 11:47 am

    They chose the 4 most popular outlets, why is it that hard to see why they chose those 6? Nothing worse than cranky, whiney beat writers

    Reply
  • Liam February 5, 2019 at 11:47 am

    The Philly area writers do not represent what the fans think. You need a bartender for that info. The scribes just make up problems that aren’t factual. Anonymous sources are for losers.

    Reply
  • bob February 5, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    I honestly didn’t know Jack McCaffery was still alive, let alone still working.

    Reply
  • get off my lawn February 5, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Mccaffrey is the worst. Angelo loves having him on the show and his takes are horrible. Plus, unless you live there, no one cares what the Delco county times publishes

    Reply
  • Tony February 5, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    This sit down with these six lap dogs only lends
    creditabilty to Joe story. The problem is these reporters
    who are in the locker room daily didn’t get the story Joe
    did. Disappointed with Jeff.

    Reply
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