Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Future of Sports Journalism?

In case you haven't been keeping up with the recent flap over blogging, here's a look at the controversial segment on Bob Costas's HBO show involving sportswriter/author Buzz Bissinger and Will Leitch of Deadspin. Bissinger caught a lot of flak for his profanity-laced diatribe, which unfortunately obscured some interesting points he was trying to make.

Bissinger complained that the sports blogosphere has become filled with unprofessional criticism, rumor and in some cases outright hatred. There is a very real concern among trained, professional sportswriters that their profession is being taken over by amateurs who simply want to vent their frustrations. (Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman makes this point in a recent column).

Essentially, this becomes a young vs. old argument. In one corner we have the older sportswriters tied more to print, responsible journalism and traditional methods. They're getting a serious challenge from a younger sports bloggers who don't necessarily have the same training or hold to the same standards.

This is also the same thing I found in research on sports blogging at local media outlets (television, newspaper and radio)--the older reporters were more resistant and saw less value in blogging compared to the younger guys. But almost every journalist who responded also said that blogging wasn't going away; it would only increase in the future.

Where do I stand on all this? Well, I'm over 40 so I guess put me in with Bissinger (although minus all the profanity). But if you're putting money on this debate go with the young guns, who have time, technology and growing audiences on their side.


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