Tiger by the Tail A former newspaperman is putting some bite into the Bengals' new Web site

June 11, 2000

Geoff Hobson hopes that one day he'll be considered a pioneer,
even though he knows there's a chance he'll end up being called a
shill. In April, after eight years as a beat reporter for The
Cincinnati Enquirer, Hobson, 41, became writer and chief managing
editor of the Bengals' new Web site (www.bengals.com). The team
is asking Hobson, who had a reputation for tenacity as a beat
man, to cover the Bengals with the same independence he had with
the paper.

So far, so good. Since the site's debut on April 15 (the day of
the NFL draft), Hobson has produced a compelling draft war-room
diary that depicted Cincinnati president Mike Brown questioning
why the coaches of the defensively challenged Bengals were
loading up on offensive players. Recently, Hobson reported
running back Corey Dillon's lack of interest in Cincy's
five-year, $18.3 million contract offer. Still, what if a Bengal
commits a crime? Is Hobson free to editorialize on the ineptitude
of the coach--or the owner? "We'd like him to have as much freedom
as any other journalist," says Brown. "We just ask that he give
our side as well."

Hobson says he changed his mind 14 times before taking the
Bengals' job (which offered a substantial pay raise). "This
could be another mission to Mars," says Hobson, "but I also
might end up like the Wright Brothers."

--John O'Keefe

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