Center News

Keep track of the latest news and information out of the National Sports Journalism Center on this page. We’ll keep you updated on guest speakers, special events, outstanding student work, and recently published research.

Sort By
Date Newest
Date Oldest

Last week’s series noted the changes to sports journalists’ day-to-day work routines, one routine that hasn’t changed is the daily deadline. The data suggest that the daily deadline remains the defining difference between newspaper journalism and online journalism.

Digital and social media and the journalism-as-process model are becoming more prevalent in the profession. Sports journalism is online now, starting on Twitter and ending with a story on a news organization’s website. Print, if not incidental, is just one part of the job now, rather than the focus. Sports journalists’ work routines appear to reflect this.

However, their norms and values remain rooted in print. Their loyalty to the idea of “the story” and their frustration at having to feed “the stream” of online information, is indicative of this split.

There was little to no differentiation to levels of fandom, whether or not a reader was a die-hard or casual fan. In fact, the interviews seemed to indicate that the journalists assumed fans were die-hard, that they were all watching the game or already knew the final score of the game. That attitude seems to shape sports journalists’ beliefs in how the job should evolve.

The interviews I conducted showed that editors are aware of what kinds of stories are popular online, when during the day they are popular, and on what platforms the stories are being read (desktop, tablet, mobile). This information is influencing story selection, in that editors are shifting coverage to reflect the audience’s online behavior and desires.

Reporters I’ve spoke about the expectations their editors have for them for publishing news online, being active on social media. At times, it was explicit. Two reporters said they knew they were being evaluated in part on their digital output, and another said that he knew if he didn’t post something online after his team’s practice, he’d get a phone call from editors. At times, it was implicit.

This new routine has brought sports journalism, at least in part, out of its night-shift cocoon and has integrated sports journalists into the rest of the newsroom. Their daily work, the things they are actually expected to do, is beginning to revolve more around the stream than the story. The story is something they are expected to do, but it is now only one thing they are expected to do. It is no longer the focal point of their day.

Our responsibility as educators is to prepare our students for their careers, not just for a job. That’s the core of my teaching philosophy. We need to teach our students to solve interesting problems, to think big and beyond themselves, to create the future of journalism. But at the same time, my kids need jobs now.

Much of the popular and trade press coverage of The Athletic has revolved around its business model, and rightfully so. But implicit in its marketing slogans is a promise of sorts. If The Athletic styles itself as the sports news organization that is making readers “fall in love with the sports page again,” it stands to reason that they will be offering something different from the sports pages of current newspapers.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending my favorite academic conference — the International Association of Communication and Sport’s annual summit. This year’s summit was held at The Media School at the gorgeous campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.

Indiana University’s student sports media outlets provide an array of expert coverage of the 2018 Men’s and Women’s Little 500 races. Through written, radio, and video coverage, IU student sports media provides you with the key stories and trends relating to both races.

There is nothing wrong with women’s sports. They are not a puzzle to be solved. On many levels throughout the country and the world, they are doing well.

The coverage of women’s sports? Well, that’s always an issue to discuss.