In baseball terms, it would be called a swing and a miss.
On Sunday, Ole Miss defeated Oklahoma, 4-2, to claim its first College World Series championship, a title made all the more fascinating by the circumstances that preceded it.
At mid-season, the Rebels were floundering, in danger of a losing season. Remarkably, the Rebels rallied, but there was some question of that effort being too little, too late. As it turned out, Ole Miss, the last team selected for the 64-team playoff, won it all and in impressive fashion.
What was less than impressive, as many readers have taken pains to point out, was The Dispatch’s coverage of the Rebels’ inspiring run on the title, especially when compared to our coverage of Mississippi State’s national-championship run last year.
When MSU won its first College World Series title in 2021, readers were able to follow their exploits in great detail – dozens of stories and photos that extended for almost a week after the championship game, many of them prominently displayed on the front page. We even produced a special commemorative section devoted to the Bulldogs’ championship.
By contrast, Ole Miss coverage consisted of single stories from the games they played, all confined to the sports section. There were no big banner headlines heralding the championship and certainly no special section.
While MSU is in our backyard, a national championship by any Mississippi school should be celebrated, particularly a school that has so many fans in the Golden Triangle.
In retrospect, the spartan coverage we provided was a mistake, one we not only acknowledge, but have made plans to address.
The Dispatch has long employed a MSU sports reporter but has not had the budget to dedicate a reporter to Ole Miss.
That is why we have agreed to partner with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo to share coverage. The Daily Journal will be provided Mississippi State coverage by our sports staff while The Dispatch will in turn have access to the coverage of Ole Miss the Daily Journal provides. We believe it will strengthen the content of both newspapers.
We believe this will go a long way in improving the coverage of Ole Miss while not compromising the coverage of Mississippi State a majority of our readers rely on.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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