As to the quality of the questions asked by Atlanta sports writers, I have a friend who has worked at Atlanta sports venues for 40+ years and has told me several things over the years that have proven to be true at some point.
He has told me on numerous occasions that it a well known no-no with the Atlanta sports teams to ask owners, management, or coaches anything other than soft-ball questions. Whether it be the Braves, Falcons, or Hawks; if you ask hard questions you will receive the freeze-out going forward. He told me one story from years ago regarding the Falcons where a beat reporter asked an uncomfortable question to Coach Mora and was then banned from traveling with the team. He told me another about the Braves reporters traveling with the team and anyone who asked questions management didn't like were banished to the rear of the airplane!
It’s obviously like that all over sports. So the newspapers just bow down. That’s not the way to handle that. To me you make it public that you asked questions and got banned, then you write ongoing articles about it. Who cares if you don’t get quotes and answers from the team? If you can’t, then write fair and constant criticism every day if you have to remind the public you’re making your effort to be fair about the whole thing. But that would require some journalistic integrity, which is some ancient relic concept from many years ago.