Home > Uncategorized > Baggot’s criticisms of Alvarez surprising, commendable

Baggot’s criticisms of Alvarez surprising, commendable

March 5, 2010

It’s not often I’m overly impressed by journalism within the state of Wisconsin. For the most part, in my experience, news coverage in this state gets the job done, but does little to wow its readers or viewers.

With that, I think it’s important to note I was particularly impressed with the efforts of one local writer this week: Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal. I’ve always thought of Baggot as one of the best reporters along which I’ve had the privilege of working. His columns, on the other hand, sometimes leave something to be desired.

Which brings me to this week. Baggot’s column about Barry Alvarez and the UW Athletic Department’s inability to raise sufficient funds for a hockey practice facility was one of the best I’ve read recently. Not only by Baggot, but by anyone in the area.

First, Baggot’s strong suit (reporting) is well showcased in the piece. He uses good statistics, applicable quotes from Alvarez and others, and reports on something he knew was likely to be announced the next day. While many others may have waited — by choice or necessity — to write a similar piece after the announcement of the delay, Baggot knew enough about the situation to write it beforehand.

What Baggot did was to essentially announce the project delay before the UW even did so.

At the same time, and more importantly, Baggot did not hold back. His column could have just been about how it was disappointing to see the project delay, and express an opinion on how important the facility was to Badger hockey. Such a column would be good, but not really anything groundbreaking.

Instead, Baggot chose to criticize Alvarez for his lack of ability in bringing in money for such projects. With the power of Alvarez and others within the UW Athletic Department to shut out any media member from sporting events, you definitely have to pick your battles. For many, attacking Alvarez would not be a battle worth fighting.

But because Baggot had sufficient information and certainly felt strongly about the situation, he made his opinion known. And his main point was a good one, too.

“If you want people to donate large sums of money to a cause, you don’t embarrass them. You woo them.”

Hopefully, if Alvarez is even the least bit embarrassed by the column it will have a positive effect on future donation recruiting efforts within the UW Athletic Department.

Even if it doesn’t, it’s a column that certainly was worth writing for Baggot. And if you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth reading for anyone who cares even slightly about the Badgers.

  1. Tom Hager
    March 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I wonder if Baggot will struggle to get interviews after this report. I doubt it, but that is always a concern for journalists, especially after Baggot wrote the article before UW released their version.

    • March 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm

      I don’t see any reason why he would fail to get interviews. It was a critical column, but did not bash Alvarez too harshly. That’s just my opinion, and I know he’s already gotten interviews for stories in the last week since that story. So it doesn’t look like its going to be an issue.

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