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What will sports journalism look like in 10 years?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dick Whitman, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I was with a non-sports fan colleague yesterday, and I was telling him about this business. He was, to put it lightly, sickened that newspapers spend money to station beat writers at spring training for more than a month. He felt those resources should be spent on the ground covering neighborhood issues, covering policy issues with more zeal, and with investigative news coverage.

    It was an interesting take, because here, we're freqeuntly sickened when they don't.

    It got me to thinking about the future of sports travel, and about sports coverage in general nowadays, when so much is available on the national Web sites and on live TV. I caused a pretty big - but civil - dust-up here a few months ago for suggesting that newspapers ought not cover games any more at all, or at least consider it.

    Where is this headed? I think we all know it's heading in a more localized direction. Do smaller markets stop travel? Do college town papers stop travel? Are general columnists going to be a thing of the past when there is an army of bloggers who are sport specialists and frequently embarrass them?

    It is 2024. I pick up my local metro. Or my local regional. Or my local. I flip to sports.

    What do I see?
  2. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Smaller markets already have stopped travel.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'll be curious how much longer it is before another major daily folds. There have been so many papers that we've heard "have been on the verge" for the better part of a decade and I don't think another major daily has folded in the last 3-4 years.

    I tend to think the print edition of most dailies will die out shortly after the baby boomers do, but that may not be for another 15 years. I think more places are going to go to 3X a week print editions to save money. I don't think we're going to see mass layoffs like we did in 2007-10 because there aren't enough people left to get rid of.

    I'm still surprised Gannett never went with the USA Today option we were hearing about 5-6 years ago where subscribers would be given USA Today, plus a small pullout of local news, likely no more than 4-8 pages total.

    Spring training has always been one of those things that I've always been surprised how much they're covered. I'm not saying they should be ignored, but back in the day, we would have 3-4 guys down there at a time. Granted, a lot of places rent condos so they can have multiple people down there without having huge additional expenses, but it's still not cheap to cover.

    When I was still covering the NFL, we would travel between 6-8 people to most road games. Now they send 2-3. The coverage is shit. That's not a reflection of the writers covering it, it's a reflection of the section having less space and less resources to dedicate to things... I have a friend who covers the NBA who was told for the first time that if he needs a break from the road they'll use AP rather than send someone else. I know of a few places where that's happening. Of course, the result always becomes the writer taking all of the trips rather than let the paper think they don't need to send someone on the road. As soon as the bean counters think that's an option, that writer will be let go.
  5. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

  6. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I'd be shocked if you still see MLB, NBA or NHL box scores in 2024. Especially at <50K dailies.

    Besides the space/effort required to run them, and the older readers who still expect them dying off, I bet many papers of that size will quit AP by then.

    Maybe there will be NFL boxes on Monday — if anyone still prints Monday editions — but only because the NFL is so dominant, a subscription service offering strictly year-round NFL news will develop and be an option for smaller papers.

    Otherwise it will be hyperlocal for sports, and in the news section, the only out-of-area coverage will be from stringers in, say, the state capitol. Or stories taken from other newspapers in the chain.

    National news and sports? By 2024, a widespread lack of interest in the former, and too many other options for the latter.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member


    I feel the opposite. National news is all anyone cares about these days.
  8. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    If by "anyone" you mean the journalism/former journalism crowd many of us hang with, you're right.

    I'm thinking of the many young people — especially high school age, like my son, up to the recent college grads I work with and their friends — who are totally disconnected from national news and issues.

    There's so much name calling, partisan deadlock and focus on celebrities/entertainment these days, I'm worried that in 10 years, the general public's knowledge of and investment in national affairs will have plummeted.

    That's a much bigger problem for me than the future of newspapers (even though I still work at one).
  9. Paynendearse

    Paynendearse Member

    Youth sports. Little League. Hyperlocal.
    Oh wait, we've tried that.
  10. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    feature-centric with game coverage limited to briefs strictly for the web and tweets (or whatever the major player in social media is by then). Maybe you skip the college football game on Saturday in favor of going to the coach's avail Sunday afternoon and the weekly coach and player presser on Tuesday (something I considered doing a few years ago).
    I think smart papers would still send people to training camp in any sport because the one question on every baseball fan's mind every February and March is "How is my team going to do this year?" and in spring training you can get those types of stories.
  11. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    It amazes me that Philadelphia still has two daily papers.
  12. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    If we're lucky we'll have more 9,500-word paeans that don't take a reader anywhere.
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