Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's not official until midnight, but Happy New Year from JSM ...

... and let's hope it's a better year economically for the print sports media. 2009 saw several established newspapers go under, taking their sports sections with them. The Washington Times hasn't gone quite that far, but announced this week that it is cutting its work force 40%, dropping its Sunday edition, and completely eliminating its sports section. (Interesting that on the same day the Times announced the moves one of its sports columnists wrote about predictions for the coming decade in sports business).

Obviously, this dead (dying?) horse doesn't need to be beaten further with over-analysis. Once (if?) the economy as a whole starts improving the trend of media liquidations should slow down, but it won't end completely. The industry is still struggling with new technologies, changing audiences and evolving business models. New strategies are slowly emerging, from the obvious to the unorthodox. It's an understatement to say that 2010 will be a fascinating year to see how these issues play out in the sports media.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This will be my last day in the office for 2009, so you may not hear from me for awhile. I may check in from time to time, but won't officially return until January 4.

Until then, have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year from JSM. May God bless you richly in 2010.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Some terrific news to pass along from the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. The AEJMC has approved the creation of a Sports Communication Interest Group to start in October of 2010. The group got approval for 3 years, which means it will have to petition for reapproval in 2013. Marie Hardin at Penn State deserves much of the credit for working on the proposal and getting it approved by the AEJMC Board of Directors.

The approval is indicative of the growing interest in sports media scholarship. Last year, the Broadcast Education Association added a Sports Division, and the National Communications Association also has a strong cadre of sports scholars (including many JSM contributors).

Obviously, now comes the hard part of organizing and creating offices such as research chair, program chair, etc. The group will have a business meeting and one program slot at the 2010 AEJMC convention in Denver. If you have an interest in helping out, you can contact Marie Hardin directly at

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Deeper and deeper for Tiger

Of all the stuff coming out on Tiger Woods (which is coming out so fast now it's hard to keep track of) the most distressing from a journalistic standpoint this report about the National Enquirer and Men's Health Journal. Apparently, the Enquirer had the goods on Tiger two years ago, but withheld the information in exchange for Tiger giving an interview/cover story to Men's Health; both magazines are owned by the same company. The move led editor Neal Boulton to resign in protest (although the Enquirer says that was not the real reason for his departure).

If the story is true it is the most shameless form of sports journalism imaginable. The Enquirer doesn't have the greatest reputation to begin with, but has never been afraid to publish new (or sometimes questionable) information. The situation reinforces the importance of economics and influence of conglomerate ownership in today's (sports) media, but that's still no excuse. It's cowardly, checkbook journalism at its worst ... and everyone involved should be ashamed.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

This and That

A couple of odds and ends as I continue to work through grading...

The deadline has passed to submit abstracts and proposals, but you can still attend the 38th annual convention of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH). It will be held at the Coronado Springs Resort & Convention Center, Walt Disney World, Florida, May 28-31, 2010. You can get more information about registration here. Any further questions should be directed to Catriona Parratt, Program Chair, by E-mail at or via fax to 319-335-6669.

Also, there are a few sports-related jobs out there, including at NYU, Cal State-Northridge, Ithaca College, and the University of Southern Indiana.