Marquee’s ‘The Reporters’ might be live, but it’s still missing, you know, reporters
If it could bring in Cubs beat reporters, then Marquee might have something. If not, viewers might continue to question what they hear about the team. Besides, it’s hard to take the show seriously when there are mugs with the Cubs’ logo on the table.
Viewers of Marquee Sports Network’s “The Reporters” last Sunday quickly learned the show’s fifth episode would be different from the first four.
“Welcome to a live edition of ‘The Reporters,’ ” host Danny Parkins said, putting emphasis on “live.”
The show drew criticism and scrutiny when a recorded segment for the episode that aired May 22 was removed after panelists spoke critically of Cubs president Jed Hoyer. Marquee is owned jointly by the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Parkins addressed the matter at the top of the show, explaining what happened and agreeing with the criticism. The panelists saw it differently.
J.A. Adande, the director of sports journalism at Northwestern, spoke of the increased job opportunities team-owned outlets have provided but acknowledged they come with an editorial cost. Bruce Levine, who works for Marquee and The Score, and Kenny McReynolds, the sports director at Weigel Broadcasting, criticized the critics, calling the coverage “over the top” and “out of control,” respectively.
The panelists had a commonality: None is an active, employed reporter. “The Reporters” needs to have reporters. If it could bring in Cubs beat reporters, then Marquee might have something. If not, viewers might continue to question what they hear about the team. Besides, it’s hard to take the show seriously when there are coffee mugs with the Cubs’ logo on the table.
When the panel picked up the conversation that was removed the previous week, it echoed the Cubs’ company line of spending money wisely on their homegrown talent. Levine referred to “Mr. Ricketts” and his goal of building the farm system. McReynolds used the poor 2022 stats of exiled Cubs stars Javy Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo as proof the Cubs would be no better with them.
For a big-market team with multiple revenue streams, neither defense holds water.
Marquee had no choice but to make the show live, but it took inquiring reporters to make it happen. Panelists might be free to be “as open and transparent” as possible, as Parkins said at the close. But are they going to live up to the show’s name? It’ll take time for the “The Reporters” to earn credibility.