Friday, September 26, 2008

The old is new again

Sports journalism has struggled to gain credibility as an ethical enterprise since the days when sportswriters were an extension of the team -- accepting freebies as the norm. APSE decades ago introduced a code of ethics, much of which focuses on sportswriters' avoiding discounts and freebies from the sources they cover.
So it was interesting to read, in a Sports Business Journal article titled "Newspaper cutbacks slice into sports coverage" that newspapers may receive offers of discounted hotel rooms for journalists at sports events -- courtesy of the sports entities they're covering. The article outlines plans by Major League Soccer to negotiate lower-priced hotel rooms on behalf of journalists who might cover their events. It benefits sports entities: They get more coverage. News organizations won't complain: They get a discount. But the appearance of this kind of benefit coming through sports organizations to journalists might again erode the reputation of sports journalism as an ethical enterprise.

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