Will Leitch, Deadspin.com founder at the receiving end of Buzz Bissinger's famous tirade against bloggers months ago, told APSE sports editors that Web hits "pay the bills" for more traditional, mainstream coverage (of course, that's not really true...not yet, anyway). In his talk with editors, Leitch defended the idea of fan-driven coverage. He also argued that readers don't know -- or care-- about the difference between what they get on blogspot or at the newsday.com.
Our research with young people (under 25) supports Leitch's contention that the idea of sports journalism has really morphed into a lot of things, including team and league sites, blogs, and traditional reporting. The competition from all corners -- the armchair journalists and the PR writers, he argues, is good for journalists.
Leitch also reported an interesting discussion he had with Bob Costas, who asked him why "everyone online had suddenly become so mean."
Those fans with the snarky, sexist, homophobic comments and a willingness to say just about anything, it turns out, have been there all along, says Leitch, but now they have a voice. Of course, But the fact that these voices now have a forum isn't necessarily a positive development for sports or the culture.