In a morbid sideshow at the intersection of the two things I spend most of my time on (Clippers and Journalism), one of the interesting aspects of the last few Clippers' seasons has been the point at which the LA Times stops sending reporters on the road to cover the team. In the second largest media market in the United States, regarding a team in one of the big three sports leagues (not to mention in a town where there is no NFL team), the Times has not covered a full 82 games of Clippers basketball in three seasons. This year, they made it all the way to the All Star break before pulling the plug. Ben Bolch traveled to Oakland for the final game before the ASB - the Times printed an AP game recap about the Portland game after the break.
At least the Times still has a beat reporter for the Clippers. The same cannot be said for any other newspaper in America. Then again, Lisa Dillman was re-assigned to the Winter Olympics these last few weeks, so the perceived benefit of a beat reporter (deep knowledge of the players and front office, established rapport, etc.) has been missing for several weeks already. As strange as it is to say, Kevin Arnovitz and Steve Perrin have been covering the team longer than any one else currently walking the beat, in both unofficial and official capacities. Weird. Hopefully Lisa will be back soon with the Olympics winding down (though that is not to say that Bolch has not been doing a great job - I have actually enjoyed his coverage quite a lot, and he has a bit of a caustic streak that is very interesting).
Next year, we'll have a pool at the beginning of the season: when will the Times stop sending reporters on the road to cover the team? Of course, we thought and hoped that those days were behind us with the interest level in Blake Griffin's rookie year. Hopefully next season, that will actually be the case. But where the state of the Clippers meets the state of LA print journalism, you never know.