Premium Dynamo Coverage: Never a fee

Patrick McDermott

Dynamo Theory's Fuzion has had enough! Here's a story about how clicking on a link can make you call out a beat writer and the only newspaper in Houston. Brace yourself...

So today is the day. Awhile back, we at Dynamo Theory drew a proverbial line in the sand with regards to the local Houston media's coverage, or lack thereof, of our beloved Houston Dynamo. It all started, or roughly escalated more quickly, when the Dynamo beat writer, Jose de Jesus Ortiz, tweeted out he might skip a Dynamo match to attend the minor league baseball team, the Sugarland Skeeters, game the same day.

Jesus Ortiz (this is what his byline shows he calls himself now) felt he had sound reasoning. The readership of the Houston Chronicle tended toward online mediums for following the game, and one of the most recognizable and controversial figures in Houston sports history was set to take the mound for the Skeeters after a stint in retirement. Certainly, one has to assume he figured, a larger audience would be had if he covered Roger Clemens as opposed to the local MLS Soccer franchise.

It stands to reason, at least if you are a reasonable sort of individual, a nationally recognized name which had found its way once again into the mainstream media spotlight would be worthy of additional coverage and the local soccer team which barely garners a blip on the radar most days could just be ignored for one day. The problem is sports fans, and soccer fans in particular, care so passionately for their team they tend to notice these "innocent" tweets from beat writers they follow.

Furthermore, the local newspaper in its infinite wisdom decided to dump one of the more beloved writers and offer to let Jesus Ortiz split time between both baseball and soccer. Now, look, I understand the rising costs of maintaining a print readership and all, but seriously? You reduce your coverage by having a guy who has already alienated a growing fan base by having him split time with the sport most would consider the antithesis of the one he already covers?

Jesus has experience with baseball coverage, so on the inside it makes sense. The problem is Jesus Ortiz doesn't truly care about the Dynamo. That is not a Dynamo Theory opinion. That is a Sean Ringrose opinion, and I do not care if you lambaste me over it. Jesus Ortiz is the Jerome Solomon of MLS Soccer coverage. He is all about page hits and views, and doesn't care who he steps on to get them. When a writer who would rather cover a middle-aged pitcher returning from retirement to pitch for a MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM ranks higher than a match of the PROFESSIONAL SOCCER TEAM which he is PAID to cover...well, folks, now it starts to get personal.

All of this I have been willing to let pass. I have been prepared to just let it fall to the wayside and die a quiet, unholy death. And then the Chronicle went and decided to start paywalling "premium" content. For those not in the know, paywalling is where an organization puts "premium" content behind a payment barrier. Essentially, you have to pay for this premium content. Up until now, I've also ignored this paywalling by the Chronicle. It hasn't been a big deal, and hasn't effected me as a reader.

And then an innocent retweet changed everything. A fellow Dynamo fan whom I follow out of my love for their ability to retweet everything and anything (and I hope they read this because Jeff would get a mighty kick out of knowing he spurred this entire article to being written), retweeted a link from Jesus Ortiz. Intrigued by the headline I clicked, and bam. Paywall. See for yourself: Click here.

In all their infinite wisdom at the Chronicle, the idea that anything Jesus Ortiz writes about the Dynamo should be considered "premium content" is absolutely absurd. But, my fellow readers and Dynamo fans, all is not lost. If you so choose, you can access this "premium content" for a simple $2.50 per week. For those of us math-challenged individuals, that comes to roughly $10.00 per month. I find that laughable at it's best.

From this point on, do not expect me to withhold punches toward the Houston Chronicle or Jesus Ortiz. The proverbial gloves are off, and this bout has just started. Dynamo Theory is and always will be the source for the BEST Houston Dynamo coverage. We promise to bring you coverage as close to up to the minute as we can get. We promise to bring you biased, passionate writing while balancing it with factually sound arguments (thank you Soccer Science!). We promise to be what we have always been and always will be, a group of fans who love to follow as much as they love to write about their favorite major league soccer team.

We don't want to just be YOUR favorite place for Houston Dynamo coverage, but we want to be the place for ALL Dynamo fans. Supporters' Group members? Welcome. Casual fan who wants to read up on that Brad Davis guy? Welcome. That girl whose boyfriend follows some team who wears orange and has a cute guy named Boniek Garcia? Yup, welcome. It doesn't matter who you are or why you support (or don't support) the Houston Dynamo. You are welcome here.

This is our opportunity as a blog, and as a fanbase, to show the power of social media and SBNation. Share this article with your friends, your family, your coworkers or just about anyone you meet. Some may not like our style. Some might. But the fact remains, we want to build our community, and we want, no we NEED, your help to do it.

I have a feeling Stephen will follow this article up with a word about his vision for Dynamo Theory, but I just want to say thank you to our loyal and loving followers. You are a big reason we work tirelessly after already working (for most of us) full time jobs (or full time school). We love you guys. We just hope you can find it in your hearts to continue loving us into the future.

#ForzaDynamo

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