There are no positives to a pandemic, though there can be valuable lessons. And chief among them as related to this business of late: When times are tough, go back to what's always worked best.
A longtime reader the other day remarked about our content in the two weeks since the coronavirus shut down sports: "On brand." I read those two words out loud to my wife Dali, and we both loved it. Because maybe without realizing it, that'd been our principal goal in working to weather this storm.
Our four foundational elements, really, have been these in no specific order:
• Reliable reporting
• My columns (I was here first!)
• Friday Insider
• Morning Java
The reporting aspect can never fluctuate, and if the second one ever does, it'll probably be because I'll have prioritized other tasks over writing, which is almost always a mistake. Even so, I've written every single day since the shutdown began, and I've got no plan to stop soon. It's been cathartic, actually.
The other two have been the variables.
Insider's had its ups and downs over the years, and that's acceptable to an extent. Some weeks, we've got an excess of excellent material, but it also can run dry. Still, Dale Lolley's worked to ensure this feature's up and running, stronger than ever, and he came through himself with a superb lede yesterday to back it up. I thought we'd have to put Insider on hiatus. Dale rejected that. He was right.
Java's had its ups and downs, too, most recently enough downs that we'd decided even before this shutdown to close up Java for a couple weeks of repairs. But now that it's back, and in pretty much the best form it's known for some time, the reader response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Some numbers to support this: Java over the past two weeks, or 10 new episodes, has brought an average of 7,099 daily views on our site, with an insane 61 percent of viewers watching all 15 minutes! We also place segments on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, which only adds to the audience, though some of those are a lot harder to track.