Rumors of Shake-up Swirling at Indianapolis Star Sports Department

by Kent Sterling

imagesMike Wells of the Indianapolis Star came on the Grady & Big Joe Show today, and told them that he will be sliding from the Pacers beat to the Colts beat.  Mike Chappell will remain with the Star, and will also continue to cover the Colts.

Other changes are expected, with rumors that David Woods and Terry Hutchens to be taken off their respective Butler and Indiana beats.

The Star plans to reach outside the market to fill Wells’ spot on the Pacers beat, and what all of this means to Phillip B. Wilson, the always outstanding Phil Richards, and new blood Zak Keefer who has established himself as a very good writer is not known – at least by me.

This may also mean, according to a source, that the Star will hire both a Notre Dame and Purdue beat writer.  One of the complaints about the Star’s sports department has been a lack of Purdue presence.  For years, the Star has relied upon work from the Lafayette Journal and Courier for coverage of the Boilermakers.

I’m glad Wells is moving to the Colts, as he will do an excellent job breaking news there as he has always done with the Pacers.  I’ll miss his reporting on the NBA.  He had become one of the best trusted NBA guys in the country.

The media landscape is constantly changing, and if you want to know why reporters, anchors, and radio hosts are always talking about whether they will be employed next week, this is the reason.

Management evaluates and changes based upon an ever-evolving set of criteria that lend themselves to subjectivity.  One manager’s A-List staff is on another’s short list for termination.  That’s the life people in media sign up for, and still the journalism schools are filled with young eager minds destined for lives of insecurity.

The media itself has changed on a tectonic level over the past decade with online delivery through tablets, smart phones, Twitter, instagram, YouTube, facebook, pinterest, and other apps being exceptionally important – in many ways more than the withering newspaper.

Here’s a tip to j-school students – build a brand, be diverse, and say yes to everything.  Learn to shoot, perform, write, edit, interview, and tweet effectively.  You will never have more time to be able to invest in becoming valuable to prospective employers than you do know.

If you can’t do it all, you won’t be able to get a job to do any of it.

9 thoughts on “Rumors of Shake-up Swirling at Indianapolis Star Sports Department

  1. Matt

    Kent – Any idea why Wells would be moving to the Colts? Does this reflect how the Star leadership felt about his job w/ the Pacers?

    1. kentsterling Post author

      The Star loves the job Mike did with the Pacers. He’s one of the best NBA writers in the country. This is an affirmation of that talent, and how important the Colts are to readers of the Star.

  2. Pauly Balst

    Purdue presence? Is the assumption anyone cares? What is there to cover? The 15 year reunion of their only national championship in any sport, broads basketball?

  3. Bill

    Pauley, first Purdue has more than a women’s national championship. Second, it was amazing how many bandwagon fans jumped on the IU baseball team. How many had actually cared prior to their run this spring? Purdue has plenty of alums (different than bandwagon fans) in the Indy area. However, The Star pretty much wrote them off a decade ago when they took Mark Ambrogi off of their beat. As Ken noted, they’ve relied on Washburn of the J&C since then. I guess the Star could have a Purdue beat writer cover their annual football beatdown of the Hoosiers 🙂

  4. Pauly Balst

    Fair enough, it was largely in jest. But educate me here, what other National Championships have they won? The NCAA cites a golf (?) championship in the 50’s as the only other one.

  5. Greg

    The last two paragraphs are pretty damn prophetic Kent. I just made my soon to be Ball State freshman read it to me until she could truly explain it.

  6. BUAlum

    I really hate to see Woods go. He wasn’t spectacular or anything, but he was one of the only writers around who was actually devoted to covering them and had been doing so before they were a big name. Is someone else going to be taking his place?

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Don’t know. All I’ve heard is a rumor that he is going to be off the Butler beat. I hope he doesn’t lose his gig. He works hard, and I’ve seen enough people used up and spat out in media to last five lifetimes.


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