🦃🏀 ACC CHAMPS 🏀🦃on February 24, 2023, 1:36 PM | 134 comments
Figured this was a worthy PSA for anyone still subscribing to The Athletic for VT coverage. As of tomorrow, there won't be any anymore.
I'm not sure what's next for me, but I've thoroughly enjoyed covering the #Hokies these last 11-plus years. I covered Hall of Famers and loads of interesting teams, wrote a book, won a lawsuit (!!) and met some great people along the way.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) February 24, 2023
DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.
Whattttt this is pretty devastating. Andy Bitter did a lot of great work for them.
Truly a shame. Bitter has always been a quality journalist for VT sports.
Really hope Andy lands somewhere that has him covering VT. He's been the singular standard for a few years now.
How about for TKP?!? /s? Maybe /s? Am I kidding? I don't know...
Need a bunch more TKPC members if so
VBVTUSCG gets it.
Unfortunately since 2020 TKPC membership has been going in the wrong direction. That is unfortunate for a situation like this.
Can we freelance Andy for some articles he may have had framework set for already? This would be a good membership drive concept.
(I plan to join TKPC, cancelling the Athletic membership and stuff)
I'll be honest, that doesn't move the needle for me anymore. Too many try and fails the last few times I've done something like that. The same idea ran through my head, but ultimately I don't think it would be a wise investment. I think you're underestimating how much Andy would charge per column. Beyond that, I don't want to bring on new TKPC members by promising them something that's a short term deal. To me that doesn't feel right.
TKP has published 1000s of articles (and up until 2020-ish almost all of those cost folks $0.00 to read), is browsed by tens of thousands of people, has thousands of commenters, a unique (and in my opinion, best) commenting platform, and never came close to hitting its TKPC membership goal. Now I receive more cancelation emails than I do new members joining. That's just the reality of the situation. I wish more people had decided to jump onboard to TKPC when it first launched, and in the years before content went exclusive for TKPC members, because had a situation like this presented itself, there might've been a different outcome. But it is what it is.
I just canceled my athletic subscription as well. No reason to have it without Andy.
Joe, I really hope we start winning some football games. I think that could really bring this place back to life. The unfortunate reality, at least for me, is that we have been so mediocre to bad for so long that I can no longer justify the time investment. I'll be keeping my subscription here as long as the TKP exists, but I'm hoping others join or come back and the traffic increases with some victories.
What's ironic is this is the most level of access Tech has given since the Beamer era. There are a lot of cool stories to tell out there, but less people to tell them.
From my perspective it is appreciated and refreshing to hear your support. Most of the time it's the opposite, 'I can't justify the money and time investment' (but then they continue to post daily after canceling).
I'm kind of the opposite. I've mostly stopped posting and do much less lurking than I used to, but still pay. Always loved this place, will keep resubscribing. Thanks Joe and team!
this is same for me, but mostly because I'm so damn busy. will keep resubscribing 👍
I'd love to learn more about your day-to-day.
Need more Hokie Olympic sports fans 🥺
There's an idea. When FB times were good, the site was HEAVY into FB news and all.
But, it's turned into something bigger now. More personal. There are personalities on here that infiltrates all levels of posting...French and his aversion to cheese, SaladHokie and his late night musings, Fernley and his worldliness. Some of the threads that get hits are the side-bar discussions sometimes. The memorabilia, the job market, the places to eat, fishing threads...
What about a Hokie-Focus type thread once a month? You don't even have to do anything. Can get a staff member to interview them, or someone do their own FAQ type post. Not exactly like that, but something along those lines. We are all Hokies in here, and it's bigger than a football team and hitting clicks just Sept-Nov.
Whoops sorry Joe. Missed this, I'm busy opening my new venue in Chengdu so haven't been on much last 2 months. We're in the final week and it's looking amazing.
But if there is anything specific would be happy to share 👍
It's a very nice gesture, I still hope you're getting some value out of the site though.
It's literally the only webpage I return to multiple times a day. I don't comment as much as I'd like recently but I get through all of the posts I'm interested in. it's also the only thing on the internet I value enough to buy a subscription to, and I have a lot of interests beyond VT.
Well what else is some one going to do while pooping?
Make decisions about the future coverage of The Athletic, apparently.
Well I just signed up since I'm no longer spending $72/year on The Athletic. Their loss, your gain.
One of Us! One of Us!
Thanks, I hope (and think) you will enjoy the coverage and paid site features.
That was my first thought also.
I am very bitter about this.
Might be time to switch to Keystone Light
It's bigger than just Hokies coverage. He did ACC overall work, recruiting stuff for VA.
Really hate to see this and am immediately canceling my subscription. Andy has been on the beat for my entire post-grad life following VT sports. I really liked his voice in hi work and on twitter. I hope he lands somewhere good.
I went to cancel my subscription because of this and they offered another year for $24 instead of $72.
So to anyone reading this even if you don't want to cancel go ahead and get the free discount at least.
Thanks for the heads up on this. Might have stuck around for the Canes and Panthers coverage
Well only really kept my subscription for VT sports so I'll get to keep that money now which is nice.
I really hope he gets picked up by someone to still be a Tech beat writer, he's by far one of the best in the game. Pour one out for Andy.
Well... I guess I won't be renewing my membership in July then. It was good but not worth it if they aren't covering VT.
I just went to my account on The Athletic and saw my subscription auto-renews in July, so I changed my CC information to some made-up #s so it will reject.
You can just unsubscribe....you've already paid through July so you'll have access until then. I just did it unfortunately mine isn't over until November though.
Thanks, I just did that and the extra info box let them know I was cancelling because they dropped Andy.
Me, as well
I cancelled this weekend and also let them know that without Andy, it simply is not worth the subscription.
Mine's in July, too, so I'm also cancelling with a note indicating that this is due to dropping Virginia Tech coverage.
I joined the wave and cancelled The Athletic with the note that it was because of Andy and VT football.
Wherever you land, Andy, we'd still love to see ya around here every once in a while!
I'll pour one extra beer in my gullet for Mr Bitter tonight. Stinks, as others have said he has been the standard in the past years for VT coverage.
Edit: standard for the local I used to read. Hadn't subscribed, and I really need to get dipped here. The extra content always has me needing to have a few extra cold ones and just pull the trigger.
Dang. I hope Andy lands on his feet. I really enjoyed his coverage since the Times.
like others, that gives me one less subscription to pay for.
andy did great work, i really hope he keeps covering VT somewhere. would be great to see him around here a little more, he has great insights and knowledge of our program.
Like others, I joined The Athletic only for Andy and his VT coverage. While I have grown to enjoy their coverage of sports in general and particularly my favorite teams in other sports (Red Sox, Bruins), I will most likely cancel when my subscription runs out.
Andy did great work, but his latest articles have generated relatively few comments on the site (no fault of his), which probably reflects the general apathy for the football program.
This truly sucks. Someone should definitely pick Bitter up. Man is too good of a talent to be out of work for long. Unless he wants to take some time off, that is.
Andy has been great inhis coverage of VT. It would be a large loss if he covered something else.
Damn! This sucks. Will not be renewing the athletic subscription. But the NY times could obviously not give a shit!
Dang that sucks, I loved reading Andy's articles! I hope he lands somewhere with a great base of readers who appreciate his writing.
Ok, but, why?
Well this sucks majorly. As others have said above, would be great to see him land back on the VT beat with someone else. Best of luck Andy!
Also, I don't know whether to cry or get mad.
Between Bitter, Glenn, and Rudolph I'm full on:
Cancelled my subscription.
Same. Just did it 10 min ago.
Also, you had to go through like 5 screens and make sure you hit "cancel my subscription" each time and it kept trying to throw all kinds of offers at you for discounted NY Times.
I'd been on the fence about keeping my subscription, but getting rid of Andy and VT coverage makes it an easy cancel.
Cancelled. Andy Bitter was the only reason I subscribed in the first place.
Thanks for the info, just canceled my subscription
Can I claim Andy's Twitter account?
Wishing the best to Andy!
Are they just axing VT coverage or is this part of a larger shakeup where they're culling specific team coverage and consolidating into more general coverage?
The University of Washington beat writer was let go as well. His tweet pretty much said the same as Andy's.
Really hate this for Andy and VT as a whole.
I know the Athletic expanded super quick and the industry as a whole is in hot water, but VT stinking at football for so long is at least partially responsible for the displacement of a great journalist and national third party voice for VT.
I've always appreciated Andy's perspective of VT. He found that nice balance of being "one of us" but never got blinded by the O&M glasses.
Cancelled just now. Been on this for years since Andy started writing for them.
Just cancelled my subscription. Andy Bitter was the entire reason I subscribed. I see this as yet another step toward irrelevance. Because it certainly couldn't have been Andy Bitter's fault; the guy was more prolific than Frank Zappa. And very good at what he did.
Never subscribed, now I don't have a reason to.
That sucks for Andy though. He blows McFarling, Berman et al. out of the water. I hope he finds a new job soon enough.
Andy is more of a reporter, while Aaron is more of a columnist. I think Aaron is very good.
I stopped subscribing to RT after Andy left. Richmond TD and RT share reporters and since I live in Richmond, I subscribe to the TD.
Good luck Andy! We will follow you wherever you land, but hope it's with us covering the Hokies in some fashion.
This is horrible. Sorry for Andy and his family.
Whit should hire him to lead the athletics PR and social media for all sports. That hire would pay for itself to upgrade with professional journalism promoting the school.
Hey Andy, my feather earring business is booming. I am looking to hire. Pay ranges from $20 to $40 an hour, work from wherever you want and whenever you want.
Take it or leave it, but I know you'll land on your feet. Good luck in the next venture!
I'd like to get thoughts from y'all. I wasn't sure about just tweeting this to Andy, so tried sending a direct message to him telling him I enjoyed his writing, mentioned how many people on here were canceling their subscriptions to the Atlantic, and suggesting maybe he consider going the independent subscription-based blog route to cover VT sports. He has 38.8k subscribers to his Twitter, so if a little over a quarter were willing to pay $10-$20 per year, that's some pretty good money. I suggested he do a poll on his Twitter account to gauge interest.
Is that the type of thing you tweet to someone? The message I tried to send wouldn't go through saying my account was locked and I had to pass an Arkose challenge (that just froze with a spinning blue circle). I think it's a good idea and would rather subscribe to him directly compared to if he joined another newspaper or something.
I'd love to get your input/thoughts on that, both if you'd like to see the same thing, and if so, best way to suggest it to him. Thanks!
I'll be cancelling, though I think I was only paying $1/month, and not really reading it often.
What the what!? Like seemingly everyone else on this thread, I only subscribed for Andy's work. The sportswriting world is his oyster, can't wait to see what he does next.
Gonna go cancel my subscription now.
In related news, Damien Sordelett is replacing Aaron McFarling on the VTFB beat for the Roanoke Times
The fact that he asked for VT to schedule games with Liberty already makes me dislike him. Our athletic dept should pretend liberty does not exist imo.
I think it's more of a personal thing for him as he's leaving the LU football beat to take this position.
The Athletic also laid off Washington beat writer and hasn't replaced Oklahoma writer who left earlier as far as I can tell.
Did they have a UVA beat writer, and if so, whats their status?
no, they never had one. but sometimes andy would write articles about uva
Sucks but I never signed up for the Athletic anyway.
Would love to see Bitter covering VT for the Washington Post, their coverage of VT is minimal and Andy is a great reporter.
Wasn't Andy teaching at VT in sports journalism or something? Or am I thinking Bill Roth with sports broadcasting? Someone like that.
Andy also taught a class.
The Athletic failed as soon as it sold to NYT. This just confirms my cancelation. Very proud of the work Bitter has done. Hope it works out for him wherever he ends up.
I mean, the whole point of The Athletic was to run it at a loss but get acquired, then let the acquiring org make the cuts and adjustments to try and get it profitable
Agreed. They were burning through VC to try and get subscribers. Now the NYT is trying to make it profitable. That said, I don't see how dumping coverage for multiple teams and imbedding ads (after you said you'd be ad free) is going to work well for subscriber retention.
College athletics (and especially specific beats) is a much much smaller piece of pie relative to other sports -- especially NBA (Shams) and European Soccer (e.g. Ornstein) which are both global draws... At $1/mo pricing or whatever they're offering, how many marginal subscribers do they need Bitter to bring in to cover his salary, benefits, and job-related expenses?
I've had a sub with The Athletic for 3-4 years and now I really despise them. They basically stole all the best talent in the business and now they are letting them go. It is like having a Wal-Mart kill off all the local businesses and then leave town so that you have nothing. And of course the obligatory, "things have steadily gotten worse under the NYT".
Sports media will be battling it out with RSN implosion in 2023 for business models which are going to fail hard without the government lending at 0.25%.
Walmart is a great analogy. I highly recommend the book "Big Box Swindle"
A lot of VC-backed businesses are starting to fail as most of these businesses cannot (and should not) exist. The time of subsidized consumer costs via VC/PE is over. The tide is going out, quickly.
Also cancelled my Athletic subscription. Only reason I even got that membership was because of him.
I hope he lands at a place covering the Hokies, but above all, somewhere where his journalism is appreciated.
I like the athletic they've had good, unique coverage
But my biggest complaint has been that they buried VT coverage, they didn't have auto login from emails, and the navigation made it very hard to find specific articles
I just hope bitter and McFarlane do their own podcast. I would religiously tune in like I do for the Solid Verbal
cancelled my sub with them
The VT football brand is so down. Ugh.
Has zero to do with brand. They cut Washington too and haven't replaced Oklahoma, likely more coming.
Reached out to a sports writer friend of mine. His initial response to me was:
"All media organizations are hurting."
His paper also had a slew of layoffs and resignations over the last 3 months.
Likely not a statement on our brand, but the beginning of a restructuring of the industry (probably not for the better).
People stopped reading print
Print made online content sub based, but people don't want to pay for the news. Hell, WaPo will make content free when current events require them to do so.
Advertising dollars and sub dollars go down.
I consume most of my news through Twitter. Even Twitter started charging, and is losing money for various (CGs) reasons.
So much of what we do is becoming untenable. Wages aren't keeping up with basics, how do folks pay for the extras?
It's not the online part and not the subscription part - Newspapers were always a subscription business, and moving something online does not inherently make it more difficult to support - IMO it's more that local news is less relevant (or people are less interested in it) than ever before. 20 years ago, the idea that the Roanoke Times would ever have to compete directly with the New York Times was a joke. Now, it's the reality.
Totally agree - between a variety of 'free' alternatives and more competition, local news (be it sports coverage or something else) is tougher to support.
i would say it kinda does. much harder for a single physical newspaper to be read simultaneously by people who didn't buy that single physical newspaper than it is for digital content to be shared widely and simultaneously.
any time David Ornstein posts an article on The Athletic, the full body of the piece is up on soccer Reddit within minutes.
Interesting too see how many companies go to AI to write their pieces, or at least a portion of them.
Cancelled mine as well.
Darryl Tapp response to Andy
Too bad we don't have a quality reporter today for the Rudolph news. Although off Andy's last big piece being an interview with him kinda sucks.
Just canceled, even though I was on a 6mo $1/mo plan. They must be feeling the cancellations, cause they offered me a year for $9.99. But........no Andy, no VT, no interest!
The offer they presented me when I cancelled was $24 for a year so these cancellations must be biting a bit. I doubt they understood correctly why people subscribed to the Athletic. It was the talent that attracted people not the name "The Athletic".
The entire business model is "get a lot of people to subscribe and hope they forget about it so they keep auto-renewing".
I think there's another aspect (beyond just the talent) that attracted people (like myself) to it. A lot of "traditional" sports content is focused on game recaps first and long-form second. By eschewing the former, The Athletic is devoting a lot more to long-form content, which is what I'm looking for. A bot can write a game recap, but it takes a talented writer to produce in-depth articles that pique my interest. The fact that they don't have to waste their time on the low-hanging fruit is what intrigues me about the site and its content. That, and it is/was a one-stop shop for several of the sports/teams I frequent (Hokies, Braves, Falcons, F1).
Does anyone have suggestions for where to get good spring practice updates? I used to love reading Andy's coverage, especially interviews with players and assistants, but I have not really been able to find a substitute. Are there any beat writers left?
The Roanoke Times has hired a new beat writer, don't think he's soley focused on Football though. TSL, 247 and Tech Lunchpail are the other options that come to mind, obviously some of that is paywalled.
Damien Sordelett is HokiesFB beat writer for the Roanoke Times
However it's not day in-day out coverage of hokies fb on his twitter.
Also David Cunningham, former TKP contributor and now at TSL, is probably the single best follow imo for Hokie Athletics Coverage.
I like Fuga's attitude.
Twitter, TechLunch Pail is interesting (though it's more of a 'blog' than 'reporting') and here.
As an aside, I'd encourage people to create new threads anytime they see something interesting about spring practice. I started one last week. GobbleGobble just dropped a couple links above that could be their own threads IMO.
Anyone heard if Bitter has found a new gig?
Don't think so. He hasn't posted really since his layoff.
Bitter just joined Tech Sideline....
How are they going to handle his blind optimism (aka normal level-headed reporting)?
Awesome! I guess he still has a shot to cover that Wisconsin/VT Game.
Will I be alive in 2072, though?
As if the game will actually be played within 10 years of that date
Wish I could upvote this more...but it's on +25
Wow this is great news! Glad Andy will still be around covering VT.
What is already dead may never die... I guess?
Good use of GIF by Bitter
That's great. His news-credibility will be good there. Will and Chris are great guys and will maximize his platform.
I would love to know how a site based on subscriptions can pay a beat writer in this day and age. this is a fan base that you have to beg to donate to the university and to athletics. the fact they can sustain a business on fans subscribing to content that is public and free very soon after any "inside scoop" is amazing to me. Amazing.
Because this transaction provides immediate, visible return on investment in the way of articles, news, and entertainment - as opposed to donations to the program which yield a much less tangible return (aside from the random trinkets sent out), which is especially compounded when wins are few and far between.