Main | Passports Now Mandatory For Border Crossing »

Casey Out As Wolves Head Man

After only a year and a half the Dwane Casey era is over in Minnesota. Casey was fired Tuesday as the Timberwolves head coach. Assistant coach Randy Wittman will step in as he did in 2005 following the mid-season departure of Flip Saunders.

The Associated Press reported, as posted on StarTribune.com, that Casey was fired due to mediocre performance by the team. The Associated Press also reported that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wasn't happy with the team's performance and wants to see the Timberwolves return to the form that made the Western Conference finalists in 2004. With Casey's departure, Saunders will remain the only coach in the 18 year history of the franchise to last more than two years as head coach, reported the Associated Press.

I feel that the biggest challenge of this article was balancing all of the different viewpoints while maintaining appropriate length. This story has many different pieces to it but the reporter, Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press, limits the quotes to those made by Kevin McHale. Krawczynski uses a lot of information obtained from other people but only ever quotes McHale. The apparent solution to the number of viewpoints displayed in a story of this nature is to use one point of view to gain insight on all the rest, at least in Krawczynski's eyes.

While StarTribune.com picked up the story from the Associated Press they were not the only media outlet to do so. The story was also picked up by ESPN.com on Tuesday. However, ESPN.com had an interesting spin on the story. Rather than simply printing the entirety of the Associated Press story they added their own interpretation in the lead and opening paragraghs.

Casey lasted less than 1½ seasons in Minnesota in his first head coaching job, unable to solve the Timberwolves' inconsistencies and put them back into the thick of the competitive Western Conference.
"I've been in basketball 29 years, and this is going to be my first time out of basketball," Casey told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan. "But you understand what you're getting into when you enter this business."
ESPN's Ric Bucher first reported the firing earlier Tuesday.
"I'm not bitter," Casey told Sheridan. "It's a situation where today we're in the playoffs. I'm proud that I've given them a lot of hard days' work and never shortchanged them."

The ESPN.com version of the story covered reactions by Casey himself rather than allowing McHale to speak to the reactions of Casey. The unique spin and introduction done by the ESPN.com article give much more significant background from Casey himself and gives a fuller interpretation of the story. The full Associated Press version as was posted on StarTribune.com gives only limited quotes from McHale while neglecting the personal interest in the story, Casey. While I understand the reservations that a news organization would have with interviewing a recently fired employee I feel that it would answer the majority of the questions that were raised as I read this story.

There was also an entirely different approach taken by the report that was posted on twincities.com the website for the Pioneer Press. The report detailed that Casey had been fired, elaborated slightly, and then began to detail Randy Wittman, interim coach, and the future of the team. This story focused much more on the future of the team not the reactions to Casey's firing.

In my opinion, while I understand that it is important to look at the future of the team, the Pioneer Press rendition of the story failed to capture the importance of relevance of the event. I feel that when a coach gets fired or retires that the story should be about why he/she did so, not where is the team going now. The Star Tribune rendition, or the direct Associated Press version, I felt lacked significant quotes from other members of the organization. I felt that McHale was too heavily quoted in this version and I preferred the version as posted on ESPN.com where the writer, who I must assume as anonymous, reports quotes by Casey himself. I would have really appreciated a story where Randy Wittman was quoted because he will be the coach of this team for the rest of the season. His opinions and ideas regarding his new situation should be expressed. However, I realize now that this story was leaked as the first notice and that many local media outlets were not able to get the story out by the early evening, yet, the ideal story for me would have analyzed the past while considering the future of the Timberwolves.

I felt like the lead of this story was very straight and to the point in the model of an AP style lead. Now, agreed, the question of why Casey was fired was not addressed in the lead but the major areas were all addressed. After reading the lead the reader would know, who was involved, what happened, and when it happened, and where it happened. From these answers the read would be drawn to read on in the story. This lead functions to provide the most key information and get the interest of the reader.