Like it or not media folks, the way games are covered have changed. A lot.
For our newspaper friends, no longer is one story due just before midnight. As much as technology has become our friend, it also requires a lot more of everyone.
Take the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Wells, who is the beat writer for the Indiana Pacers. He is the only independent media member at every game, home and away.
Let’s look at what he produced in Orlando yesterday for game 3:
- Video interview with Coach Vogel during shootaround
- Tweets before, during and after the game
- Three stories — a game story and a couple of notebooks full of various notes and quotes
- One blog — more of an opinion piece, with interesting tidbits and quotes
- Video recap — a big, new emphasis for the Star. They are equipping writers with iPhone’s and have taught them how to upload onto the site. Here, Wells recaps the game, points out a few highlights and previews the next game
- Hosting a live chat on the day after
- Various sports talk radio interviews
Whew! No big deal, right?
The workload has increased, especially for newspaper guys, for many reasons. With so many outlets out there, the job comes with more responsibilities for equal or less pay. They are a dying breed so as newspapers cut staff, they increase the workload of everyone else. Instead of flying multiple writers down there, they depend more on one guy. (Note: columnist Bob Kravitz is there but only wrote one column and tweeted sporadically during the game.)
Blogs have become a huge influence in the sports world. There are many great blogs out there with quality and timely content, plus podcasts and videos. Most of the time however, their access is limited. But they are not afraid to take a stance.
One big difference is time. Blogs and videos can be posted whenever, while Wells and his newspaper colleagues have deadlines for their stories to be included in the paper. The time is different depending on the day of week and what’s going on.
Newspapers are constantly looking at ways to increase revenue. The model has changed over the last decade, with more and more readers going online or reading on their iPhone rather than purchasing the paper and getting ink on their fingers.
Earlier this year, Gannett Co., who owns the Indy Star, announced their plan to charge readers for web content by 2013. Before they can do that, they must prove that it’s worthwhile. I think it is, especially with the solid group the Star has like Kravitz, Wells, Chappell, Wilson, Richards, Woods and Neddenriep to highlight most of the sports guys. They provide tons of interesting content geared towards Indy sports that I enjoy reading.
The extra work isn’t limited to newspaper guys. Indy television reporters down in Orlando are also having to tweet updates and post stories to the web. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is additional work when they are worried about getting on for their live hits, writing (shooting and editing, in some cases) a package and doing one-on-one interviews.
The sports media world is evolving, and it’s more important than ever to be versatile and willing to do it all. Because you have to. That’s just the way it is now.
Still think you want to be a sports writer?