The Star Tribune sends some sports reporters on the road to cover teams. We do this always for our largest beats, such as the Twins or Vikings, and for peak moments of other beats, such as the Lynx or United.
We make the effort and spend the money to travel to report news, cover games with our own eyes, gather information for future stories, get to know the players and staff, build a complete report of a period of time (a streak, a full season), uncover creative story angles within teams and just generally stay as close to a team and its season experience as possible.
Writers passionate about “being there every step of the way” and access to their sources (players, coaches, staff, executives) could give you a longer list of reasons.
After four months of pandemic, we’re back making travel plans. Our reason for not having Jerry Zgoda in Orlando, though, shows that our calculations have changed. Safety for our reporters is where the “should we travel?” conversation starts now.
Zgoda, our Minnesota United beat writer, had begun making travel plans for the MLS is Back tournament a few weeks ago. Since then, Florida’s COVID-19 situation worsened in alarming ways and that, more than any other consideration, put a red line through our plans. Zgoda covered the United match on Sunday night from home, using the broadcast and information from interviews conducted before and after the game.
This is far from ideal. Our reporters have no interest in covering games or teams from afar. We plan to be back to our ambitious “they go, we go” approach as soon as this virus allows. The Wild soon will be heading to Edmonton, and the Twins have travel plans to Chicago and beyond. We plan to be there, but to reuse the phrase of the year: Plans are subject to change.
Until we are able to return to our usual approach, we hope our readership understands our caution and appreciates the coverage we are still able to provide with our expertise, additional information from sources and pregame and postgame Zoom interviews with players and coaches.
Chris Carr, sports editor