Monday, July 13, 2009

A-Twitter over Sports Media

Tweet ... tweet. There has been a lot of mention in the sports media lately about Twitter, especially in terms of how popular it has become for athletes. But there is another side to the Twitter story... namely, how it is changing (or not changing) how sports journalists do their jobs. Just as NBA players can Tweet during a game, so can sportswriters. They can also use it to contact sources, confirm information, break sports news and promote their work on other platforms.

As part of a new research project, Dr. Mary Lou Sheffer at Southern Mississippi and I are investigating how sports journalists are using Twitter. We don't have any hard data to pass along yet, but some interesting preliminary findings have emerged--

*Twitter appears to be used much more by newspaper/print sports reporters than broadcast (radio and TV).

*Like many new media technologies, Twitter is more often used by younger journalists rather than older ones.

*Sports reporters are firmly multi-platform journalists. The same reporters who have a Twitter account usually have a blog, and also cross back and forth between multiple sports outlets.

It's too early to tell whether Twitter will catch on and become a permanent tool for the sports reporter, or whether it is more of a fad that will eventually fade out. Please feel free to share your thoughts about Twitter and its impact on professional sports journalism ...


Blogger Liz said...

What disciplinary perspective are you coming from? Communications? Marketing? I'm a sociologist looking at Twitter and I'd be interested in your findings.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Keith Wozniak said...

A lot of sports stories can be summed up in 140 characters. Who won a game. What player signed with who. It's an excellent source for fans (myself included) to get news about a favorite player or team without having to browse a number of sites. The one downfall I can see is that because a headline in 140 characters can say it all the links back to a site are what will hurt sports media. I run a blog about a sports team and also use Twitter often, the hits aren't as high as one would expect.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what you find Brad as I think it's a great research topic.

I believe Twitter is a great way for journalists to engage their audience, link to their latest articles/blog posts (Twitter can be a great source of traffic), and break news before they have time to write an in-depth article.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Brad Schultz said...

Liz, right now the findings are very preliminary. We're conducting a survey of professional sports journalists using a communications perspective (new media technology). The angle you mentioned is similarly fascinating, but more for the sports sociologists. We're looking at how journalists use the technology and why. If you're interested in the results let me know and I'll send them once we have them.

8:17 AM  

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