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"Sports writing is fairly formulaic ... we can automate what sports writers do."

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ondeadline, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member


    This is a story about an N.C. organization that produces automated fantasy-football summaries. I actually like them and read them every Tuesday. But one quote in this story was a bit disturbing:

    This guy's opinion of sports writers is obviously not very high.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    This thread is fairly formulaic. We get one every six months.
  3. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Heard this in college in the 1980s. Meh.
  4. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    I wonder, with places like Bleacher Report showing that you don't even need to pay writers to produce some form of content, if an automated system is actually the cheapest way to bang out formulaic sports analysis. Why automate and spend money on 14 code writers who expect a living wage when you can pay five or six editors 20k a year and tell them to use their own equipment?
  5. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    If what you want to read is

    "JAMAAL CHARLES rushed for 136 YARDS and ZERO touchdowns as the CHIEFS beat the JAGUARS."

    Then yes, jump all over that market. People can read a summary without needing it in robotic subject-predicate format.
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    We actually have it automated.
  7. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Playthrough ... Slow clap.
  8. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    I can't even teach college kids: Paragraph, paragraph, quote. That's my crash course on how to write a high school football gamer.

    Me on deadline for five straight weeks ... Since you only got this one quote, let's move it up a little so folks can enjoy it. Because, honestly, I doubt anybody's going to make it to the end of this one.
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Quotes are absolutely, positively the most overrated, overused component of sports journalism. Overreliance on them, and a lack of understanding of how to utilize access, is one major reason, perhaps the biggest one, that blogs and other forms of Internet-based analysis have been so successful over the last decade and a half in making inroads. If I were king, and my mission was to improve sports journalism in newspapers overnight, my first order of business would be to reduce the usage of quotes by 80-90 percent.

  10. Love the useless 'graf/quote cycle. I like reading canned quotes by coaches and players in response to "Talk about" questions.
  11. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Maxpreps seems to have the patter down too.
  12. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    As with everything, though, it depends on the writer. Whenever this automated discussion comes up, we're always comparing it to sports writing as its most banal. There is no computer than could ever be as insightful as Verducci or Buster Olney. They understand quotes, and don't use them for filler. Instead of less quotes, maybe the fix is "better" quotes ... or, better deadlines, so that sports writers don't have to use quotes just to survive and file something so that people the burbs have something to read when they pick up the paper at 6 a.m.
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