Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 17, 2010

So what is the status of the Kings beat in the SacBee?

Yesterday, I wanted to leave what the future of the Bee Beat would be out of the goodbye to Sam piece I wrote. It wasn’t necessary. Now? It’s necessary.

Ailene Voisin had a post late yesterday about Amick that should be noted:

Best wishes to a former colleague

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a word or two about my longtime Bee colleague Sam Amick, who is leaving The Bee for a job with AOL fanhouse after five years as the Kings beat writer. As a former Clippers/Lakers/Hawks and NBA beat writer and columnist – the NBA ran my life throughout the Bird-Magic 1980s and early 90s – I have a tremendous appreciation for the demands of the job, and Sam’s professionalism throughout. He is a tireless, conscientious worker, a wonderful communicator, and blessed with terrific people skills. I’ll take some credit for touting him for a fulltime position at The Bee, and later, endorsing his selection as Kings beat writer. Wishing him the best, as a former colleague, and more importantly, as a friend. That said, I believe his successor, Cal grad and ex-Raiders beat writer Jason Jones, will do a fine job. He’ll find the NBA schedule exhausting and the rhythm completely different, but as Ron Artest would say, he’ll adapt.

First, if you haven’t figured it out, Sam Amick is well liked by his colleagues. But, this isn’t that surprising. Not after Marty Mac and Scoop were let go last year.

This is what I’ve had to recently say about Sam in case you missed either piece (here or at StR). (I did notice that Sam linked to my StR piece. I assume it was not really about me, but maybe it was. Either way, thanks to Sam for the link.)

The media coverage, though, through the Bee will be about Jason Jones and Ailene Voisin from here on out. What will this mean? Well, I think it means that the Bee lost a talented reporter/writer who understands that the NBA is a multi-faceted league in ways that many fans don’t simply grasp. For Jason Jones to follow up with the details that Sam got, and I hope that Sam still chases down those details as many were critical to know (like whether John Salmons had a trade kicker–or the amount of money the Kings got from the Blazers in the Sergio Rodriguez deal–or what the buyout from Drew Gooden was last season) if Jason Jones can’t do it. Still, that’s probably not the primary focus of Sam at Fanhouse, and that’s okay.

The problem? When Sam was chasing a lot of this stuff down, he had help in a very talented backup beat writer in Melody Guiterrez. And, Sam had backup in Jason Jones who knows plenty about covering the beat of a team, but hasn’t covered the NBA extensively like he will in the future.

The problem for Jason Jones? He won’t have the backup Sam had to do that all critical research and knowledge to help fill the gaps. It won’t be Jason Jones fault, but really it will be the Bee’s fault if they don’t manage to find someone who can fill those gaps and supplement Jason Jones’ coverage. The problem? Who wants to be a part of the paper business these days?

Really, other than Sam Amick was as good as you’ll ever get in a beat writer, it’s up to Jason Jones to do the coverage that the Bee was asking of 2 working full time reporters/writers. This means that Jones will drop the ball simply because he’s human.

This is a bad situation for the Bee, and a bad situation for Jason Jones to be stepping into. Few fans will have sympathy for him because he grew up a Lakers fan (like somehow it’s his fault he grew up in LA), or that the paper coverage is losing traction in the new internet marketplace.

That being said, I don’t have a grave disagreement with Jason Jones. Much of the displeasure around JJ centers, I believe, mostly around what Sam Amick brought. Amick’s presence around the Bee in the blogosphere, and in the traditional paper sense, was a looming one and few would have done well in a comparison with Sam. (Nobody would have done well if they were covering a NFL team full time like JJ was.) I look forward to seeing how JJ does with his coverage in the future, but I don’t particularly look forward to having to figure out the gaps in that coverage. There are some things salary cap related that you must have access to or else you simply can’t know the full reality of what’s going on. Simply put, Sam Amick has those sources, and I don’t. And, unless TZ is hiding something I’m not aware of (always possible), or Zach Harper manages to get more details in this realm, or some other unknown blogger out there manages to get more of this information, some of this stuff will be lost in the fray.

Casual fans may not care about this stuff, but for bloggers it’s quite critical information. In some cases, knowledge of how much cash in a trade can literally skew my opinion of a trade.

I do know that the Kings Front Office staff will be happy if coverage is dropped in this area as I’m sure they were not pleased to have so many fans aware of the business side of the operations they had successfully shut many of the fans out of.

In otherwords: Bah.



  1. Great post, Pookey!A follow up:is Melody Guiterrez still with the Bee?I don’t remember seeing her byline for awhile; I agree that her writing was a good backup to Sam Amick, it would be nice to have her writing “fleshing out the story”, so to speak…

    • I don’t believe she’s been with the bee since Jason Jones started working the Kings beat.

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