by Doug Brown
There may not be as much news reported by our city's newspaper as there used to be, but there sure are a hell of a lot of sports stories posted on its website.
If you want to see what's going on in the city and decide to click over to cleveland.com, well, tough shit, nothing's on there other than regurgitated headlines from either the Browns loss today or Ohio State's win yesterday. Of the 35 most recent stories posted online — from between around noon to when I started this post tonight — only eight of them are not specifically about the Cleveland Browns or Ohio State football. Three of those eight are still sports stories: one general post prompting for NFL fantasy football questions, one post about Dion Waiters becoming a backup for the Cavaliers and one about Kent State's basketball win over Kennesaw State.
There are more headlines (six) that re-state the final score of the the Browns game (each containing the terms "Browns," "Jaguars," "32-28" and "loss"/"lose") than non-sports headlines (five) combined. The only non-sports stories are about two shoplifting arrests in Beachwood, a "family friendly restaurant review" of a pizza chain, a story called "Pink toys limit girlhood," injuries at steel plant in Lorain, and a theater review ("Seeing Great Lakes Theater's 'A Christmas Carol" with a child for the first time makes Charles' Dickens' message new again: Review").
Seriously, that's 30 football/basketball stories, and five about everything else. This probably isn't an accident for the revamped Plain Dealer/Northeast Ohio Media Group/cleveland.com/whatever the hell the publication that used to be our daily newspaper is called now. It's no secret that stories about Cleveland and Ohio State sports drive the most clicks to the site and get the traffic-boosting knuckledraggers arguing with each other in the comment sections. The most commented-on stories are a Browns in-game live chat (3504 comments), Ohio State-Michigan in-game live chat (1116), a black friday slideshow (736), a Browns loss recap (504), and a story about Ohio State and the BCS (403). The five most read stories include two Ohio State football posts and three Cleveland Browns stories.
For example, a comment from a user named "Native Americans Versus Cleveland" on one of the several stories about the Browns loss ("Weeden is easily in the top ten list of best players you have. Yes. Let that fact sink in. LOL") got six replies in five minutes ("I know you're being mean-spirited but that IS funny....," "yawn. shouldn't you be studying your algebra, li'l fella?" "How'd you Titans fare chump?" "spending too much time in the sweat lodge again NA," "Unfortunately, for we Cleveland fans, this is a debatable point. Calumet."). You're just not going to get that kind of countable engagement on actual news stories. The new "digital first" Plain Dealer/Northeast Ohio Media Group/cleveland.com/whatever is gaming the web analytics by churning out regurgitated SEO-optimized headlines and letting the dummies argue with each other in the comment section.
Here are the the 35 most recent headlines on cleveland.com as of when I started this tonight. I added an asterisk next to and italicized the stories that are not about either the Browns or Buckeyes, and added two asterisks next the stories that are non-sports stories altogether, and put the screenshots beneath it all. Enjoy the news:
*"Browns lose heartbreaker to Jaguars, 32-28" - Mary Kay Cabot, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
THE MOST RECENT STORIES:
"Cleveland Browns wasting a special performance from Josh Gordon is the equivalent of a football sin - Bud Shaw" - Bud Shaw, The Plain Dealer.
"Video: Analysis of Cleveland Browns 32-28 loss to the Jaguars with Mary Kay Cabot and Tom Reed" - David I. Anderson, The Plain Dealer.
"Cleveland Browns Final Scribbles: When it comes to problems, it's not just the quarterbacks - Terry Pluto" - Terry Pluto, The Plain Dealer.
"Cecil Shorts III has a memorable homecoming: mood somber following painful loss: Cleveland Browns Insider" - Branson Wright, The Plain Dealer.
"Urban Meyer wants his team focused on Michigan State, but the BCS and politicking has already commenced" - Zack Meisel, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Josh Gordon sets franchise record for receiving yards in a game: Fans and media react" - Glenn Moore, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Cleveland Browns lose to Jackson Jaguars, 32-28: 2013 NFL Megablog" - Jamie Turner, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Any Suspension for Marcus Hall, Dontre Wilson will come from Big Ten office, not from Urban Meyer" - Zack Meisel, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Glenn Moore and Dennis Manoloff recap the Browns' 32-28 loss to the Jaguars: Podcast" - Glenn Moore, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Cleveland Browns hit a new low in the season with 32-28 loss to Jacksonville: Terry Pluto" - Terry Pluto, The Plain Dealer.
*"Dion Waiters backing away from objections to being a Cleveland Cavalier backup" - Mary Schmitt Boyer, The Plain Dealer.
"What grade would you give Brandon Weeden's performance against the Jaguars? (poll)" - Glenn Moore, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Cleveland Browns lose to Jacksonville Jaguars, 32-28, despite record-setting day by Josh Gordon" - Mary Kay Cabot, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
**"Police: two arrested in weekend shoplifting cases at Beachwood Place Mall"
*"Kent State survives itself to top Kennesaw State, 68-51" - Elton Alexander, The Plain Dealer.
"Ohio State projected to be No. 2 in BCS standings, with two polls in, but final BCS should be very tight" - Doug Lesmerises, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Browns vs. Jaguars: Live in-game chat with Glenn Moore, halftime and postgame shows" - Glenn Moore, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Cleveland Browns halftime scribbles: Weeden's collapse puts the Browns behind, 20-14" - Terry Pluto, The Plain Dealer.
"Cleveland Browns' Brandon Weeden goes into his two-minute implosion drill — Bud Shaw's Halftime Blog" - Bud Shaw, The Plain Dealer.
**"Dewey's Pizza entertains families: Family-friendly restaurant review"
**"Pink toys limit girlhood: Multi-tasking Moms and Dads"
"Brady Hoke is Michigan's man, Braxton Miller's accuracy is troubling and a perfect Ohio State should play for a national title" - Ari Wasserman, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Tailgate Talk: What would it mean if the Browns lose to Jacksonville (video)?" - Branson Wright, The Plain Dealer.
"Like our Cleveland Browns news page on Facebook" - Dan Labbe, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
**"Workers injured during fire at Republic Steel plant in Lorain leave hospital"
**"Seeing Great Lakes Theater's 'A Christmas Carol' with a child for the first time makes Charles Dickens' message new again: Review"
"Ohio State ranked No. 2 in the coaches poll, with 25-point lead on No. 3 Auburn" - Doug Lesmerises, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Darius Eubanks starting at ILB: Cleveland Browns vs. Jacksonville Jaguars pregame updates" - Mary Kay Cabot, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Mary Kay Cabot, Tom Reed and Glenn Moore preview Browns-Jaguars (video)" - cleveland.com
"Urban Meyer 'disappointed' by fight that led to ejections of Marcus Hall and Dontre Wilson Buckeyes lucky not to have lost Braxton Miller" - Ari Wasserman, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Ohio State vs. Michigan - What went wrong: Ugly pass defense 'reared its head again" - Zack Meisel, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"What Would Woody think? For 3 hours, Ohio State could forget the BCS and pound a rival with Carol Hyde's record day" - Doug Lesmerises, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
*"Fantasy Football Q & A with Chris Fedor live today at noon (post questions now)" - Chris Fedor, Northeast Ohio Media Group.
"Cleveland Browns Countdown to Kickoff: If the Browns can't beat the Jaguars, then who? - Bud Shaw" - Bud Shaw, The Plain Dealer.
Here are the screenshots of what cleveland.com looked liked when I got to it tonight: