A new approach to sports journalism

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a big problem facing sports journalism. I wanted to expand on that thought because I think it coincides with another issue with the industry. The situation, as many know, is that budget cuts and layoffs are sweeping across the newspaper industry. That doesn’t bode well for those of us who need to travel, whether by car or by plane, to different cities for coverage of our local sports teams. Making it to different stadiums, spending time in hotels, covering dining costs and everything else involved with a trip is getting costly.

Is it really worth sending one or two reporters hundreds of miles away for usually two days and one night — on the paper’s dime, mind you — just to write a recap for a game that is over and done with in usually two and a half hours?

I thought the same thing. And although my situation was aided by a decision from the University of Pittsburgh to limit vehicle rentals to only those at least 25 years old, I experimented with a new form of sports coverage this year at the Pitt News.

Recently, for two of the last three Pitt men’s basketball away games (at Seton Hall and at South Florida), I contacted the sports editors at the respective student newspapers. I explained the situation, how it was feasible or cost-effective — not to mention hard to find somebody willing to sacrifice a weekend for one game — for us to send writes to the game. I let them know that we were going to cover the game from Pittsburgh, keeping in mind that we’ll see nothing different on television than if in person at the game, and would appreciate it if they could do us just one favor: get us post-game quotes.

You see, that’s the one problem when you don’t go to an away game, or any game for that matter. You don’t get the press conference experience. You don’t get quotes.

But that wasn’t a problem because the guys at the Setonian and the Oracle were able to forward me quotes from after the game. There was a longer delay than if I had been there in person, but spending an extra hour at the office beats out spending an extra hundred dollars (if not more) to send people to the game. As a side note, photographers from each of the newspapers were also generous enough to forward our photo desk with quite a few photos to choose from for our web and print editions.

For reference, you can check out my recaps, done from Pittsburgh (hence, no dateline) for each of my games here: Seton Hall and South Florida. See? Didn’t miss all that much.

To me, it was a smart decision and cost-effective. No need to throw away money when you don’t need to.

Next Thursday, Pitt heads to Marquette for an evening game against the Golden Eagles. I plan to do the same thing that I did for the Seton Hall and South Florida games with this one.



Filed under Communication, Journalism, Media, Newspapers, Personal, Publishing, Social Media, Sports, Twitter, Writing

2 responses to “A new approach to sports journalism

  1. Karolina

    Nice blog 😉

  2. Hi, I’m recently taking Communication Ethic class at Drury University, and I’m a big fan of sports. I really like your post, it is big problem to discuss about, since social media has been growing so fast, should we still sending out reporters to follow the sports teams and just write the recap of the games? Is it worth it?

    However, I would say the reporters who follows the sports teams still important, they could report any news immediately. for instance, a basketball game, usually after the first half or after the game one or two hours, the reporter finishes the game recap. But now, our reporters use twitter feed to update the newest news for the audiences, even what happens in the locker room.

    Additionally, like the NBA, so many international player active in the league now, culture is one of the things people are interested in it, they want to know the fascinating stories besides the recap of the games. In text book Communication Ethics Literacy says “Culture it the system of a group of people that gives us interpretive clues for what something means and the significance of a given event.” (Arnett, 2009)

    Therefore, in my opinion, the budget for the team followed reporters still necessary, because we need them to build up the conversation immediately for the audiences and the media.

    Drury University

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