Monday, August 30, 2010

A Blogful of Headaches

We have previously discussed the new realities for sports reporters regarding using new media technologies. I got a first-hand look at just one example on Saturday night.

While the Cowboys were playing the Texans in an NFL exhibition game, I decided to see how the bloggers at the Dallas Morning News were handling the game. I was especially interested because the Cowboys were playing poorly, which is usually cause for complete panic among Dallas fans, even in a preseason game. As I read through the blog, two things jumped out--

--The sheer volume of people taking part in the conversation. It was a vivid demonstration of how sports reporting truly has become two-way and interactive; people want to have their voices heard. In fact, so many people were involved that the DMN staff simply couldn't keep up. A sampling of their responses:

8:56 pm
I hope you guys can be a little patient. The number of comments is making it almost impossible to keep up.

9:35 pm
Almost 1,300 in the chat tonight when last I checked.

--Interacting with fans sounds like a great idea, but it can drive sports writers to distraction. Reporters have a myriad of things to do covering a story, so their stress level is already high. Answering blog questions, especially the same ones over and over, can put them over the edge. Look at some of the responses of writer Todd Archer; he's trying to be as nice as possible, but you can almost sense that the people writing in are driving him nuts:

7:31 pm Todd Archer
Really, we're going with the 'no fire' stuff on Aug. 28? Really? Geesh. Not saying you shouldn't be upset with what's going on, but just have some perspective.

7:33 pm Todd Archer
PA Cowboys fan--you must not be able to read. I just wrote that they've allowed two sacks, had three negative plays. Try again.

8:27 pm Todd Archer
Why do we put up with some of the posts we do?

After listening to the panelists at the AEJMC convention in Denver, I made the comment that I don't think I could do what today's sports reporters have to do. Based on what I read Saturday, I'm more convinced of that than ever.


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