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Has Dave Ruden Forgotten His Roots?

Graphic by Sophia Scorziello

Thomas Connolly and Joe Nathanson

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“Welcome to the fan page for The Ruden Report, the website edited by Dave Ruden, covering Fairfield County sports, with an emphasis on the FCIAC.” This is what appears when one visits “The Ruden Report” Facebook page. Clearly, The Ruden Report is a high school sports media website. The site is known by schools around the FCIAC for covering game highlights via social media. Additionally, they publish articles discussing outstanding team or personal accomplishments, along with polls for Player of The Week and Team of The Week. The company is very successful in what they do.

To provide some background, Ruden was the sports editor for the Stamford Advocate in the years leading up to 2013. In his last column for the Advocate, he wrote “I will be starting my own local sports website that will launch in early September.” This “local sports website,” is now known as “The Ruden Report.”

Despite the page’s popularity, many high school students in Stamford seem unfairly represented. It appears the Ruden Report favors towns that are more affluent, despite implying that they cover all FCIAC teams.

If one were to visit The Ruden Report website and type the word “Wilton” into the search bar, they would find 38 articles published since the start of 2018, and 51 articles published in 2017. For Greenwich, there were 35 articles published in 2018, and 53 published the year prior. For the Darien Blue Wave, these numbers increase: 40 articles in the last 10 months and 70 articles in 2017. Ridgefield has had 51 sports articles published about them since the start of 2018, and 82 articles published in the year prior.

However, if the same person were to look up “Stamford” in the search bar, they would find just four articles in the past ten months regarding Stamford sports, and 26 articles in all of 2017. The most recent Ruden Report Instagram post about Stamford High was on May 10, 2018. By contrast, all four teams mentioned in the previous paragraph have been the subject of at least one Ruden Report Instagram post in only the last six days.

For our crosstown rivals Westhill High School, there were also just four articles published in 2018, one of those being a mutual article with Stamford High. There were only 15 articles regarding Westhill sports in all of 2017. Look up “Bridgeport” in that same search bar, (the same search bar that turned up 133 articles on the Ridgefield Tigers in less than two years) and you will find four articles about the Bridgeport Central Hilltoppers since the start of 2015 – almost four years. The disparity is clear.

Some may claim that the reason the site disproportionately covers wealthy towns is because they are better at sports. This claim is both scientifically and logically true. First off, there are some sports like hockey, lacrosse, or golf, where the total cost for equipment can be in the thousands of dollars. Sports like these are completely out of the picture for people who have financial burdens.

In addition, parents of higher education better reinforce the importance of sports in their children. A 2015 article in CommonWealth magazine points out the correlation:

“In the state’s 10 richest communities, the average sports participation rate in the 2014-2015 school year was 103 percent — a little more than one sport per student. In Massachusetts’s 10 poorest schools, the average athletic participation rate was 44 percent.”

 

These parents understand the social and physical benefits, and the positive correlation between physical activity and academic performance. Youth sports programs are also more abundant in towns of prosperity. Moreover, the training and coaching available in these towns is exceptional. These are just some of the factors contributing to why affluent towns excel at most sports when compared to lower income cities. If nothing is done about the obvious differences, the dominance will continue.

Thomas Connolly
These graphs illustrate the number of stories published by The Ruden Report since the start of 2017 compared to the median income of the same communities.

It would be great if The Ruden Report could do something to close this gap, starting with covering the games of the unrepresented cities, giving those athletes confidence, and at least making them feel important once in a while. Maybe they could even help to raise money for high schools whose athletic programs suffer financially, or help develop youth sports programs. As it is now, although the company claims they cover all FCIAC teams, they could just take the easy way out and change the name of the company to “The Ridgefield Report,” or “Blue Wave Broadcasting.”

Another argument could be made that the company’s interns and reporters are mostly from the towns that appear to get the most publicity. Their proximity to the sporting events makes it more efficient for them to cover the game on social media, and later publish an article. However, two of Dave Ruden’s interns actually attend Stamford High School, which had only four articles published about their sports in the same timeframe that Ridgefield had 51 articles published.

We asked senior Rebecca Morgenthaler, a Ruden Report intern who attends Stamford High, what kinds of events Ruden asks her to cover. “Basketball, not a lot of Stamford High though – mostly other schools,” Morgenthaler said. She added, “I feel like he doesn’t cover much in Stamford or post about them.” This doesn’t appear to be a matter of efficiency, nor is it a coincidence. Rather, it seems to be the effect of Ruden’s lack of interest in Stamford sports. It seems that Dave Ruden has forgotten his roots.

Stamford sports wants you back, Dave Ruden. Your site’s popularity has grown tremendously in the past five years among many towns in our county, but not so much in Stamford. Hopefully this can change. We are looking forward to seeing you at our upcoming winter and spring sports games, and hopefully reading more about our performances on social media, and on your website.

 

Editor’s Note: All figures cited in this article are current as of Nov. 1, 2018.
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1 Comment

One Response to “Has Dave Ruden Forgotten His Roots?”

  1. gayle kochan on November 10th, 2018 9:47 pm

    This article is very well written—–& the information is informative & the facts are backed up with factual statics .

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