Coverage with a blue streak

For years, fans of the N.C. State Wolfpack have sensed collusion between UNC-Chapel Hill and The News & Observer’s sports department.

UNC, after all, has the big journalism school in the state, so it’s only natural that its graduates would work for the big newspaper in the area. And it’s only natural that those graduates would provide flattering coverage to their alma mater at the expense of N.C. State and other rivals. It all makes perfect sense, yes?

Well, no. The paper has its share of Tar Heel alumni, but it’s not an exclusive club (as noted here). And the coverage is not tilted in favor of one school or another, and in fact, the complaints sometimes go the other way. (See this column from public editor Ted Vaden as evidence of Tar Heel disgruntlement.)

Still, observant Wolfpackers will see what they want to see in this pair of headlines about UNC’s win over Clemson. The victory extended Clemson’s record of futility in Chapel Hill to 53 games. Here are the nearly identical headlines, which were both in all caps on the respective sports pages:

  • N&O: UNC’S STREAK SURVIVES
  • The Daily Tar Heel: THE STREAK SURVIVES

Coincidence or conspiracy? You make the call.