Thursday, April 27, 2006

NYT draft coverage: out of style?

A friend of mine in AWSM forwarded me a NYT article that ran in the paper's Style section on Sunday. The story, NFL Draft Daze," focuses on the "large and growing subculture of American women" for which NFL draft coverage must be "endured," perpetuating stereotypes about women's interest in sports. The article, of course, doesn't offer anything beyond anecdotal evidence to support its hypothesis.
Meanwhile, more than 20 female NFL writers, plus columnists, will likely be covering draft activities in New York City. That's evidence that counters the stereotype -- they're not only interested, they're experts -- at draft time.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Online video and ESPN's revenue stream

When Disney announced earlier this week that it plans to offer free streaming video of some of its most popular ABC shows, including "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost", it signaled that it is aggressively seeking new ways to distribute media offerings from all of its properties.
The exception: live sports events on ESPN. Asked about ESPN potentially streaming content for free, Iger said subscripton fees for ESPN are too valuable. 'It’s an incredible source of revenue. ... We’d be crazy to destroy that and put it at risk,' he said in a Daily Variety article. It will interesting, in light of CBS' success streaming NCAA tournament basketball games, to see how sports programming moves to new media platforms.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sports journalism: An oxymoron?

Rocky Mountain News columnist Dave Krieger writes about the "navel-gazing" and hand wringing in sports journalism of late because of baseball's steroid crisis. He argues that sportswriters have always operated in a "hazy neutral zone," providing promotion masquerading as news. Krieger joins the call for sportswriters and reporters to change that: to use the "small slice of journalism" left in sportswriting to keep scandals like steroids from growing out of control again.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Raising the bar for sports reporting

The fact that two investigative journalists who do not cover sports (Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams) broke one of the biggest sports story in recent years -- Barry Bonds and steroids -- has raised questions about how sports is traditionally covered. In the most recent piece to do so, "Muckrakers in the outfield," Mark Jurkowitz calls sports journalists to task for failing to do more investigative journalism. His column follows a piece published April 1 in the New York Times, where Buster Olney admits that sports journalists were part of the collective reason for the "Steroid Era" in baseball. Olney goes on to make an important point: to focus the steroid investigation on a "few superstars" is wrong. It's an instituutional problem, and journalists need to expose it as such.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The 'next big spectator sport'

The New York Times reported Sunday about ESPN's plans to hype dominoes as the "next cool thing" now that the poker craze has cooled off. The network has started taping segments to run on ESPN Desportes and on ESPN 2. According to a Sports Business Daily report, ESPN also plans to produce a celebrity chess tournament. Although it's clear that hyping such activities as sports serves ESPN's quest to sell advertisers on cheap programming, it also keeps the door open for a continuing evolution in the definition of sport, one that includes a variety of activities and competition levels.