Monday, May 05, 2008

The End of Sports News As We Know It

This is not a sports blog, although obviously there are sports elements to it. I was a full-time sports media person for almost a quarter century and still dabble a little.
Sports bloggers are changing the landscape of media in a profound way. Balladier Ryan Parker has summed it up nicely in song in the wake of a profane shouting match between an old school newspaper man (Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights) and the founder of Deadspin, Will Leitch, on Old School Bob Costas' talk show.
I am asked several times a week why I left sports media. Well, I decided I was never going to make the big-time and here in the small-time there's almost no room for advancement. I have great affection for many of my old buddies in the local sports media and I will do whatever I can to support them. That includes subscribing to the newspaper seven days a week. I also was a beta tester for the paper's new website.
But I fear for them. I fear the internet and SportsCenter. I fear the bloggers. I fear them because I see myself turning to the net as my primary source of sports information. Click on the links above and watch the little video and the on-camera argument that inspired it.

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Unknown said...

Do you suppose newspaper guys were this angry when radio and television came along? Probably not, because I assume we were more polite towards each other (if you don't count keeping women in their place and segregation -- so how good were the good ol days?).

Life in Web 2.0 is interesting. With big media now looking to collaborate with the common gal or guy.

I just want everyone to be nice to each other. Can't the new world be softer and more elegant than the old one?

I think it's the anonymous aspect of the web that contributes to the mean spiritedness. I very much appreciate you using your real name and bringing your sense of good citizenship/community to this blog.

Unknown said...

Buzz Bissinger actually frightened me when I watched this the other night on HBO. He was full of venom and hate which I guess was masking his fear of losing his hold on the traditional ways of sports journalism. Seriously, it was like he was possessed. Someone needs to tell him it's way too late to shut the barn door.

Darrell said...

I've always thought it essential to use my own name. I'm not hiding behind anything.
There is a mean-spiritedness in the comment sections of a lot of webpages. I've noted that a lot of old-school media, working to be active on the net, do a poor job of policing that.
Maybe they're actually doing a good job of allowing freedom of expression.
The ethics of collaborating with the common man are still being worked out.
I've always bene bothered by media people who use fake names. There's a local TV meteorologist who doesn't use his real name on the air. I know of at least two big-time sportscasters who use psuedonyms. It's all about having a name that's easy to remember and market.
But, here's my question: If you can't be honest with your readers/ viewers about something as fundamental as your name, how can we expect you to be truthful about anything else?

Unknown said...

Skip Kordas? Ron Young? Joe Haynes? Come on now, fess up.

And by the way, did you ever tell us where that swampy area was located?

Seth said...

When you have time, check out this editorial below from I know you are huge fan of auto racing (haha). Shortly after the merger of the two open wheel series in the US, Graham Rahal, a "refuge" from the Champ Car series won the second race of the year. Many of the former Champ Car reporters stood up and cheered. Pretty unprofessional, as the author Jeff Olson wrote. He goes on to talk about the new world of journalism that we're in and makes some good points.

"Add the growing number of untrained and unprofessional word butchers to the clutter, and objectivity goes the way of the front-engine roadster. Apparently this occupation is now open to anyone who can type with his or her knuckles, no education or experience required. No need for a degree or employment, just crown yourself a bloggist, start typing and apply for that credential.

Amazing how that works. If I tried to be a plumber with no experience or training, I’d get stomped by guys with pipe wrenches and exposed butt cracks. But any fool with a computer and a MySpace page can play journalist, and the rules of the business are no longer acknowledged (or even known). So much for those endless semesters of libel law. Anybody can do this, and anybody does. No training or aptitude required."