In a Q & A with The Big Lead, SI's Selena Roberts says that despite the increasing difficulty in access to teams, events and athletes, "the industrious writer will be fine." Columnists will survive, she says, because athletes want their voice heard when opinion about their performance is proffered. And reporters will survive, she says, because they don't need athletes to write a story. "Sometimes, all a reporter needs is relatives, ex-friends and court records to paint a picture."
Sometimes, yes. But the subsequent story is almost always incomplete without the athlete. And relatives, ex-friends and bloggers can go straight to sports fans without the filter of a sports journalist -- another challenge entirely.