Dewey Defeats Truman!

When the Vikings' train derailed en route to the Super Bowl, no one lost out bigger than the local media

The Vikings' loss spared many staffers an arduous week of 16- to 20-hour days, and sources say that some of their colleagues privately admitted to feeling a touch relieved. But for editors and producers, erasing the Vikings from the Super Bowl scenario resulted in a dire content shortage. "We've been talking about that a lot at the office--whether we're relieved or not relieved," Garcia-Ruiz reports. "At first you think, 'Well, there's a whole lot of work I'm not going to have to do.' But then you think, 'What the hell are we going to put in the paper for the next three weeks?' Other than Gopher basketball, there's nothing going on. The Vikings leave a big void."

Dona Schwartz, who teaches journalism at the University of Minnesota, has a different take on the matter. "There's plenty of people who are absolutely thrilled that they're not going to be subjected to endless rah-rah coverage of the upcoming Super Bowl," says Schwartz, author of the 1997 book Contesting the Super Bowl, a critical examination of the role the media and the corporate elite play in pumping the game. "It would have been an amazing inundation."

Schwartz expresses little surprise at the scope and scale of the planned coverage. "To imagine they wouldn't go that extra distance would be to misunderstand the nature of the beast," she posits. "But it raises the question: What is a news story? If you see the media as providers of serious news and information, then it's a scandal."

Still, adds Schwartz, recalling her research during Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis, "In a lot of ways, I regret that it's not going to happen. It would have been another interesting piece to study."

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