Saturday, March 25, 2006

Who needs the press box?

Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard's "Writing Up a Storm" in the March 27 issue provides a glimpse of how the Internet is changing sports journalism. His profile of online sports writer Bill Simmons (who, without spending time in a press box or a locker room, writes one of the most popular sports columns on the Web) demonstrates "the empowerment of the fan." Print journalism have "almost become an afterthought," Ballard writes.
What does this mean for newspaper sports sections and magazines? What does it mean for sports journalists when traditional ways of buliding readership and reputations are vaporizing? More importantly, what does it mean for journalism's traditional mission: to seek truth and report it fully? There is a price we pay when rumor mills are passed off as reporting. Ballard's SI piece is worth a read.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The rebound after Candace's dunk

Tennessee player Candace Parker was a headliner in sports news last week when she dunked twice in an NCAA tournament game. One reason the women's game has been considered "inferior" to the men's game is that it lacks the powerful individual displays such as dunks. Now, enter Parker.
But if anyone thought Parker's dunk would elevate the women's game in the eyes of journalists and fans, think again. Almost immediately after the initial hype over Parker was over, criticism set in. They were "weak dunks"that couldn't stand up to the men's game.
And all too predictable in a world where sports is defined as male.
Here's the problem: women aren't men. As long as male standards are used to judge sports, women will be judged inferior. We must rethink the way we think about sports themselves before women will be valued and covered as equals.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Formula for the future?

CBS SportsLine, in cooperation with CSTV and the NCAA, is offering March Madness on Demand, which will provide free streaming video of live NCAA tournament games starting this week. About 20 advertisers have signed on to run ads during the Webcasts.
Why would CBS put its content on the Internet, potentially drawing viewers away from its live TV coverage? Because it's betting that it won't lose viewers, but instead will gain tech-savvy fans.
NBC should study what happens. After its disappointing Olympics ratings, the network would gain from watching other networks maximize the Web's potential. The CBS SportsLine offering will provide insight into how networks can do it. Options for watching Beijing in '08 may be quite different than they were for Torino.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Betting this story won't be reported

Sports journalists are often accused of forgoing important, investigative pieces about sports-related issues in favor of homer stories that rehash game statistics or focus on personalities. One example is the absence of serious reporting about the possibility of widespread point-shaving in college basketball -- a timely topic with March Madness (and the gambling that goes with it) around the corner. Read David Leonhardt's important piece, published earlier ths week in the New York Times.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Games we ignore

The Paralympic Games -- one of the world's largest sporting events behind the Olympics -- begins March 10 and will feature the United States' most elite disabled athletes competing with others from around the globe in winter sports events.
The Winter Paralympic Games will get unprecedented international coverage, except, of course, in the U.S., where the Games will again be frozen out of coverage. Historically, U.S. media outlets have rejected coverage of disability sport even at its highest levels. That's too bad -- we're missing out on a spectacle that the rest of the world finds worthy of attention.
Thank God for the Internet. If you want to catch the action, you can watch the Games at