Friday, October 27, 2006

Covering an unusual grudge match

I read with interest Henry Abbott's blog entry yesterday on about the situation involving the Oregonian and the Trailblazers, one that has deteriorated to the point where a reporter who is not on the Oregonian's regular payroll apparently has been called in to sift through the hard feelings between the paper and the team and come up with an explanation.
As Craig Lancaster, the reporter who Abbott says will cover the story, has pointed out, it's too bad that another media outlet (such as SBJ) hasn't covered this story. Even so, it's commendable that the Oregonian has taken this unusual step. Of course, it owes this much to its readers.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What do women want?

The readership of newspaper sports sections has traditionally been mostly male -- men compose upwards of 80 percent of readers. But if sports sections are to expand their base (and draw more advertising revenue), they need to change that ratio and bring more female readers into the mix.
But how? What do female sports fans want? The CSJ has started a project to compare how men and women read newspaper sports sections -- and the results so far are very interesting. The way women and men see simple features, such as box scores and game stories, is a study in contrasts. We'll provide results here as we conduct more focus groups.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Living dangerously behind the mic

Inflammatory comments from two game announcers over the weekend may cost two broadcasters their jobs, but there's no way to take back what went out over the air (and was rebroadcast over the Internet many times over): comments that condoned violence and racism. These incidents point to the need for training in far more than the mechanics of the game for anyone who gets behind the mic.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Athletics over academics in H.S. coverage

A study by researchers at the University of Minnesota Center for School Change at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs found that media coverage of high school students emphasizes athletes far more than academic achievers. The reasons for this may say more about our public schools than about the media, though: Public schools often do a much better job of showcasing and promoting their student athletes than their academic all-stars. No matter what the reason, though -- the message it sends about scholastic priorities may not be the one we want to send.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Future Paralympians?

An AP story today points out the use of sports programs to help injured Iraq veterans regain mobility and other benefits of sports participation. Many of these new adapted-sport athletes may end up representing the U.S. overseas again someday -- as Paralympic athletes. Unfortunately, they will likely get little attention there, as the Paralympics has traditionally been ignored in the U.S. press. I hope that the recent attention on adapted sports as rehabilitation will move in 2008 to a positive focus on the the world's second-largest single sporting competition.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sportswriters, steroids, and regrets

An online E & P article about coverage of the steroids scandal in baseball has sportswriters admitting what has been obvious since the BALCO story broke several years ago: They failed to cover a story that has been right in front of them for two decades. Here's hoping that the lesson from this debacle for sports journalists is learned in stronger, more courageous coverage of other issues of corruption in sports, including the influence of gambling on college athletics.