Sunday, May 28, 2006

Reporters move toward justice on sex discrimination case

It seems fitting that as the annual AWSM convention closes in Baltimore, news accounts announce that the EEOC has ruled in favor of two female sportswriters at the St. Paul Pioneer Press who filed a complaint outlining details of discrimination by the sports editor at the paper and a failure to stop the discrimination by higher management. Both reporters were suspended when they complained. The reporters, both of whom have left the paper, were likely scrutinized differently from male colleagues in the sports department there, according to the ruling.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Turning the vise on access

This is old news (last week), but the decision by the Trail Blazers to change its media policy is the latest in attempts by sports organizations to control coverage and, ultimately, drive fans to their own Web sites and media products. Also, an article on the APSE Web site covers a discussion between NFL Commissioner Paul Taglibue and sports editors, who characterize access as "the worst situation they've seen."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Progress for women's sports journalists

Later this week the national convention for AWSM will take place in Baltimore. The conference brings journalists and sports information officers together from all over the country for networking and education. Meanwhile, women are proving their staying power in sports journalism -- despite reporting discrimination and harassment, they say they like their jobs.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

God's take on the sports pages?

A reference from the Poynter Web site pointed me to a recent article about sports writing on the Christianity Today Web site. Managing editor Mark Galli writes about sports coverage as "the stuff of soap operas," without serious attention to the game. "Instead, we have to endure pieces (I won't even deign to call them "stories") about quarrels, tantrums, gossip, salary disputes, and so on and so forth," he writes.
His complaint -- about lack of substantive game coverage -- reflects the ongoing struggle by sports journalism to stay relevant in the face of on-demand sports video, scores and commentary. The game story as we know it could be on the chopping block -- much to the chagrin of fans such as Galli.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Freebies have a embarrassing pricetag

Although the Deadspin post I wrote about yesterday scorned the idea of mainstream journalistic ethics as applied to sports journalism, it turns out that sports reporters often deal with unethical pressure from outside their own departments. Today's E & P details how credentials for access to the Final Four -- obtained by a sports reporter for the managing editor of the Ventura Star -- led to disciplinary action against the managing editor, M.E. Luna. "He also directed midlevel editors to pressure a sports reporter into seeking media credentials for him to other events," the paper said. Star reporters told E&P that the sports reporter complained when Luna's request for press credentials threatened the reporter's access to games. There is a price in sports journalism for ethical lapses of judgment both inside and outside the sports department.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The more things change...

A post on Deadspin today refers to Fox Sports' "Next Great Sportswriter" contest -- a kind-of knockoff of ESPN's "Dream Job" program. The contest supports the thesis offered by a recent issue of SI -- that fan-driven blogging has moved into terrain once reserved for formally trained sports journalists.
The idea of sportswriting by the fan instead of "objective journalist" isn't really anything new. It's an old idea -- a throwback to the "gee whiz" days of sports journalism. That model includes different ethical values, too -- for example, freebies as par for the course. That's a far cry from the ethical standards embraced by APSE a national organization of sports editors -- but it may be closer to the "real world" values in sports journalism today.