Manish Mehta Leaving the Jets Beat?


Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead says Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta will be reassigned by the paper.+

Putting on my reader hat for a moment, I imagine my feelings about Manish's work is similar to many of yours. I personally was a bigger fan of his work when he was at The Star-Ledger.

I don't think this will lead to a big change in Jets coverage from the Daily News, though. While many are upset about the tone and substance of Mehta's work, it seems like that has a lot to do with editorial direction. It feels like more than a coincidence that once Mehta moved to the Daily News the criticisms of him started to mirror the criticisms of his predecessor, Rich Cimini.

Throughout its paper, the Daily News focuses on controversial stories that get people talking, not in-depth stories that educate the reader. You can see it in the paper's Jets coverage that goes beyond Mehta. Manish didn't hire a photographer to snap a picture of Rex Ryan's tattoo. The people in charge of his paper did. This is the kind of story the Daily News chases from the first page to the last page. Now think about The Star-Ledger. There has been a ton of recent turnover on the Jets beat, four writers there since 2008. All four have received praise. That's no accident. The editors giving direction there value in-depth reporting. Many of us have been frustrated by Manish, but he has to listen to his bosses. His job depends on it.

Want to know something else? There is a big market for the kind of journalism the Daily News does. A large percentage of the population wants controversial stories heavy on scandal but short on substance. ESPN has built a sports empire using many of the same strategies. I'm not being critical here when I say these things. These are simply the approaches these entities take.

If The Big Lead is correct, I wish Manish the best. I also would not expect a big change in style or substance from his replacement on the beat. Finally, I hope the Daily News does not take somebody like Conor Orr or Brian Costello. I really like those guys.

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