Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will sports save newspapers?

That's what Tim McGuire (veteran journalist, now ASU journalism professor) suggests. He correctly points out the major threat to newspapers by ESPN's regional Web properties in Chicago, Boston, and Dallas. (It is reasonable to speculate that ESPN will do major damage to the Web traffic to newspaper sites in all of these markets.) McGuire suggests, though, that "sports should be the centerpiece of newspaper efforts to rejuvenate themselves" because sports are such an incredible draw.
The problem, though, is that newspapers likely cannot compete on salary with ESPN in regional markets, meaning that it will be very difficult for them to attract (or retain) the personalities affiliated with great sports commentary. And it's the personalities -- McGuire himself mentions former newspaper journalist Pat Forde -- that often draw the fans to sites such as or others for sports coverage.

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