Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Shuffling to TV, inflating salaries as they go: Where's the news?

Both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have, in the past week, published stories hyping the migration of sports journalists (Rick Reilly and Selena Roberts among them) to ESPN and Yahoo Sports.
Where's the news? As Slate's Jack Shafer rightly points out, ESPN has recruited from the print ranks for years. And it's no surprise that Yahoo, which has made no secret of its intention to become a major source of sports news, would pull from print (where else would Yahoo go? And now, of all times, when the anxiety in newspaper sports departments may be at an all-time high) Shafer also points out that the breathless NYT reporting on inflated salaries for sportswriters is also not justified -- inflated salaries for a handful of stars in the business is not new (and, in some ways, mimics the sports system it covers.)
As for its intentions, ESPN may genuinely be moving toward more original investigative journalism (instead of pontificating on the work of others), but it's hard to believe until the proof starts showing up on SportsCenter. ESPN has drawn young, male audiences looking to be entertained (not necessarily informed about what might be wrong with sports) by touting its cozy "insider" status with the sports industry.

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