´ Steel Curtain Rising: Watch Tower: Alan Robinson Joins the Trib, PG Plus Subtracts Readers + Plaxico Burress?

Screwed by Bloggers Polling, Again

Folks, it looks like Blogger's polling has decided to stop working. We had a good poll on the Steelers draft which suddenly got dropped to zero.

Guess you get what you pay for on these free platforms. Thanks to all those who voted.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Watch Tower: Alan Robinson Joins the Trib, PG Plus Subtracts Readers + Plaxico Burress?

Steelers training camp has entered its second week and the Pittsburgh press corps is in high gear!

That leaves no shortage of stories for Steelers Nation to savor, but here at the Watch Tower we’re looking for the story behind the story. Or perhaps more aptly put, the story of those who bring us the news of our beloved Black and Gold.

Tribune Review Beefs Up Coverage I – Alan Robinson Steps Aboard

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review is the smaller and less prestigious of the Steel City’s two dailies. Yet they’ve always tried to match the Post-Gazette when it comes to Steelers coverage.
  • To that end, the Trib. deserves mixed reviews. 
One of my colleagues in the blogging community, once (privately) described one of their lead columnists as a “tool” suggesting that we shouldn’t even cite the Trib.’s stories.

I thought that went too far, but John Harris has caught the ire of the Watch Tower more than once, and their attempt to deflect credit from the Post-Gazette’s breaking of Mike Tomlin’s 2010 contract renewal raised the concept of "Bush League" to an art form.

But the Tribune-Review has offered solid coverage at good insights at other times, and they’ve just made a significant step towards doing that on a regular basis.

For 28 years Alan Robinson covered Pittsburgh sports. Those of us who grew up in parts of Steelers Nation outside of Pittsburgh grew accustomed to reading his work, most often under an unnamed Associated Press byline.


Alan Robinson is a veteran writer who knows his way around the Steelers locker room and has a rolodex that has got to spans 28 years worth of NFL contacts.

Readers of the Tribune Review are already benefiting from added-value that he brings to the beat. He told us that the Atlanta Falcons were interested in signing Max Starks before the Steelers beat them to the punch. He also provided the useful medical background on the severity (or lack thereof) of Ben Roethlisberger’s torn rotator cuff.

Those were two pieces of information that Post-Gazette readers did not get. Looks like Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac have some competition, which for us is a good thing.

PG Plus Subtracts Readers

Regular readers know that the Watch Tower's been very support of PG Plus, the Post-Gazette’s paid premium content section. The extra coverage provided by PG Plus is generally worth the four dollar, or 18 Argentine peso in my case, monthly fee.

PG Plus recently changed its billing system, leaving PayPal for direct billing.
  • And that’s where my problem began.
My subscription expired on July 11th, and I STILL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY RENEW.

Message I got AFTER being told my subscription had expired....

They’ve told me it was browser incompatibility (it wasn’t, not even close.) They told me, “sorry we’re having problems, be patient.”

I’ve got a half-dozen “Thanks for Renewing” emails from these folks, but still can’t see more than one article before getting the “Your subscription has expired.”

There has even been a time when I got this message, tried to renew, and was told “You’re already a member, you can’t renew” (no lie, see above for yourself.)

The issue, as I have now explained to them twice, is that I am trying to renew with a non-US credit card yet their form (which does leave space for a country) requires you to select a US state, which will instantly invalidate any transaction with a non-US card.

This is inane.

The newspaper industry in the United States is on its knees, struggling to make ends meet.

Paid content on-line sections or paid on-line subscriptions, are likely essential if the institution is to survive in some recognizable form.

You’d figure they’d know that.
  • You’d figure they’d make it easy for you to give them your money.
Apparently that’s not the case.

Bye Bye Scott Brown

Prior to Alan Robinson’s arrival, Scott Brown held down the Steelers beat at the Tribune Review. Brown is, voluntarily, departing from the beat to focus on Penn State.
  • That’s a shame. While Robinson must be considered an upgrade, Scott Brown was young and hungry and it showed in his work. 
Last year he reported that it was the Steelers who turned down Flozell Adams early in the season. He was also way out ahead of Ed Bouchette (but not Gerry Dulac) on the Steelers decision to resign Willie Colon after the lock out.

These are only two examples of Scott Brown out hustling his more experienced rivals. His work will be missed.

Tribune Review Upgrade II – Steel Mill Blog

During the off season the Tribune Review gave its Steelers section a face lift, and in doing so gave more prominent position to their Steel Mill Blog.

That’s a smart move, because it’s a good blog with lots of interesting information and interviews, and readers can now access it in the right column of the Trib’s featured stories.

However, the blog is not accessible or at least there is not prominent link from their main Steelers page, which really makes no sense….

Steelers Sign Mike Wallace er, um, Tomlin

The news of Mike Tomlin’s signing broke the day before training camp. That contract renewal was expected (except perhaps for Ron Cook). But of course the transacation everyone was waiting for was the signing of Mike Wallace.

It hardly amounts to Steelers-Nation’s "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment, but the Post-Gazette jumped the guy, is was evident in the url linking for their story on Tomlin’s signing.

Look Closely at the URL
A source at the Post-Gazette indicated that the error was simple typo that only appeared on-line for a few seconds. Changing the URL took more time, the Watch Tower was told.
  • That’s an easy error to make. 
Yours truly did the same thing when the Raiders signed Rod Woodson as DB’s coach.

Finally a Football Related Note - Plaxico Burress to Return?

Football, not media news is what most of us care about, and we’ll end with a little gem from Dale Lolley.

Lolley offered this surprise a few days ago:
Every day the Mike Wallace holdout continues is one day closer to Plaxico Burress returning to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers did court Plaxico Burress last year upon his release from prison, but Plex opted for greener pastures in New York.

A veteran like Lolley wouldn’t print an observation like this unless it was based on sources which, if nothing else, indicates that the Steelers are prepared to play without Mike Wallace at all this season if need be.

Thanks for visiting. To read more analysis of the media that cover the Steelers, click here to read more from Steel Curtain Rising's Watch Tower.

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