J-School Centennial Experience

The Centennial Celebration Online!

  • Meta

New Media and Sports Journalism: Where does it go from here?

Posted by Cassandra Kamp on September 11, 2008

Warm greetings, energetic conversations, and laughter filled Neff Auditorium today awaiting part one of “Technology and New Media: Reshaping the Future of Sports, Journalism, and Advocacy.” Whenever the panel started, however,  the audience sat intently in silence listening to some of the biggest names in sports journalism discuss the problems concerning new media outlets and athletics.

Both students and professors, athletes and coaches alike were all in attendance to hear John Anderson of ESPN fame lead the seven panelists in questions primarily concerning the effects of technology on college athletics. The panelists were Mike Alden, University of Missouri Director of Athletics, Phil Bradley of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Myles Brand of the NCAA, VP of Sponsorships at AT&T Jamie Butcher, T.J. Quinn of ESPN, Sonja Steptoe of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and ESPN.com and Magazine senior writer Wright Thompson.

Brands started the panel with discussion about the exploitation of student athletes. He discussed the commercialization of college athletics and how college athletes are often treated more like professional athletes rather than student athletes. Brands suggested the problems comes from commercialization of athletics by universities caught up in a spending frenzy. After answering questions from his fellow panelists, Brands asks that journalists present games in a way that the athletes are college athletes and not pros. In rebuttal, Quinn stated that it isn’t the journalist’s job to present the values of the NCAA, but to present exactly what he or she sees.

The panel then transitioned to Alden’s discussion of the exploitation of student athletes using new media outlets such as Facebook, Myspace, and text messaging. He stated that he can try to manage student athletes and these medias, but he cannot control them.  His job is to remind student athletes to be responsible when using Facebook, YouTube, or any other site similar to these. Alden also talked about the importance of keeping some things private from the media, such as hiring a new coach, while keeping himself accessible to the media for timing appropriate questioning.

All panel members expressed concern for new media, such as blogs and message boards, allowing anyone to put their opinion into the sports journalism world. Quinn summed it up best by saying, ” We were the gatekeepers, but now there is no gate around it [news].” Thompson explained that there may be 1000 rumors on a message board and 998 may be false, but he, as a reporter, still needed to go through them to find the two posts that are leads to a bigger story. He also said that he will follow a story through to the publication date no matter what another news source, credible or otherwise, publishes about the topic preceding his piece. Steptoe contributed that sometimes these new forms of media can be used as an offensive weapon against the people using blogs and message boards.

After taking questions from the audience, the session recessed for a short break before the second session. Unfortunately, I had another obligation and couldn’t attend Part Two to see what conclusions the panel came to regarding new media and sports journalism. I’d like to end this post with a thought form panelist Phil Bradley.

“You can still be a good journalist covering a bad team, just like a good player on a bad team.” – Phil Bradley on covering sports fairly and accurately

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: