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Blogs and the future of sportswriting

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Kato, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. Kato

    Kato Well-Known Member

    This has probably been covered before, but Louisville C-J controversy and our paper's (late-to-the-party) consideration of adding blogs has got me thinking about what the purpose of blogs is. How can they better enhance our coverage, whether on the beat or otherwise? Why are we giving live, in-game updates? Who's reading it? Anyway, some thoughts:

    Here are some of the things I've seen out there: reporters' opinions (should we be offering those), random thoughts (who cares?), emptying of the notebook (weren't we taught to self-edit), stuff we'd never before think about putting into a story or even a notebook (again, who cares?). I've actually read blogs that say, "Here's what was cut out of my story this morning," and "Here's what I would have written in the paper had I been given more space" (too inside baseball? maybe too self important?), but I've also seen where papers are cutting some notebooks completely and telling writers to put those online only.

    It seems to me that blogs throw the editing process out the window and may even be leading to the death of good writing. At the same time, newspapers have to adapt to the changing media landscape, so what do we do?

    How can we distinguish ourselves from superfan99.blogspot.com while maintaining quality, respectable journalism and keep ourselves from putting a bunch of junk on the web?
  2. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    wow, you do think a lot of yourself, don't you

    i've often put my leftovers on the blog. if you don't have interesting stuff that doesn't make your story, then you probably aren't a very good reporter

    the blog writing is different than paper writing -- many of us do both and know the mediums and can do it. if you can't, oh well.

    the thing we have that others don't is access and perspective -- plus the ability to write

    the blog is a powerful tool, use it correctly and it can complement your coverage quite well. restrictions of newhole is very real, so use of the blog is pretty important
  3. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    BTW, Hoops does a great blog -- really probably what blogging is all about -- so he knows a little of what he speaks.
  4. Kato

    Kato Well-Known Member

    Hoops, I don't even have a blog (God, why are so many people on this forum so quick to criticize, especially seemingly legit questions?). I don't think a lot of myself; I'm just telling you some of the things I've seen out there and what some of my impressions have been, especially in comparison to, for lack of a better term, traditional newspaper sports writing and reporting.

    There was once a time where we were taught to self-edit, where we were told not to regurgitate our notebooks. Maybe more is better, now that we have this unlimited space. I'm not sure; that's why I asked the question.
  5. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    I'm not even sure what this means. What I do know is that most beat blogs are very specialized. They are for readers with a narrowly focused taste. If you are a fan of, say the 76ers, you are on a 76ers blog for one specific purpose: You are interested in every scrap of information available about the 76ers.

    I can't get every scrap of information in the paper on a daily basis. That's what a blog is for.

    Of course, it's not going to interest a general reader. And if I'm not a 76ers fan, I'm not on the blog in the first place.

    Maybe you or I don't care that the team's 12th man has a hangnail. But the people who would frequent such a blog do.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I agree. Are there enough people interested that we can make money from it? And if not, why should we spend money to have a professional writer do it?

    I don't have time to read stuff that wasn't important enough to make the paper. Unless your circulation area includes several large mental hospitals, how many people really have that much free time? There may be an audience of a few thousand people in a major market for that kind of information, but is it large enough to make sense as a business? I don't think so.
  7. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Some of our blogs (including the most popular one for the paper) are done by freelancers. Are they written well? Not really, but the audience for that specific topic minds less about that than just getting the info out there and having a place to comment. It is somewhat of a waste of time for full-timers to spend much of their time blogging when substantive work can be done for the printed and/or online products.
  8. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    i know what you mean about not having free time but pretty much everyone (in the middle class, at least) sits down in front of a computer each day at least briefly. so the diehard 76ers fan - even the one with two kids, a full-time job and a long commute, who basically has no free time to himself - is still going to spend five minutes every couple of days (or maybe only once or twice a week skimming the 76ers blog. considering this guy absolutely doesn't have time to read the actual paper, the beat writer's blog makes sense.
  9. thebiglead

    thebiglead Member

    FWIW, I've been reading the Spurs blog - pounding the rock - more than any of the SA papers about the Finals. Ditto for the Cavs blog, which is very good, and done by a beat writer.

    Wouldn't, however, give up the long, off-the-wall features in New Yorker/Esquire for anything ...
  10. sportsed

    sportsed Member

    I, for one, look forward to the days of Web 3.0 or some more distant iteration, when the crap that clutters so many blogs is pared to reveal the real nuggets of information that are the reason people come back to the damn things in the first place.

    I'm all for the experimentation of the Internet, but the actual craft of journalism is suffering at the expense of incremental reporting that passes as breaking news and knee-jerk reaction that poses as instant analysis. Sadly, that's what defines so many blogs.
  11. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    I think the best use of blogs is the random info for the die-hard fans. Papers already have sports columnists, so I think opinion should be left out. I've always found the most interesting blogs are those that talk about the details that are mundane to everyone else by must-have to the fans that own the season-tickets.
  12. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    You mean you can't make money off a targeted audience? I find that hard to believe. Very hard. And there are a lot of people who frequent these kind of blogs, especially if it has an RSS feed.
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