Reinventing the Newsroom

Five Blog Myths (That Aren’t Just About Sportswriting)

Posted in Cultural Change by reinventingthenewsroom on September 21, 2009

Because there is apparently no end to my mouthy opinions, I’m now also writing a weekly column for Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center, about sportswriting and new media.

Sportswriting is dear to my heart for a lot of reasons. I grew up devouring it, and it taught me an enormous amount as an impressionable young writer. (Particularly the works of Roger Angell.) When I was at WSJ.com, I was lucky enough to start off seven years’ worth of mornings reading and appreciating sportswriting for The Daily Fix, the Online Journal’s daily roundup. Some of my favorite Journal pieces emerged from getting to moonlight as a sportswriter. (Here’s my fond farewell to Mike Piazza.) And of course there’s Faith and Fear in Flushing, the Mets blog I write with my pal Greg Prince.

Does co-writing Faith and Fear make me a sportswriter? Depends whom you ask — and that’s just one of the interesting, occasionally rowdy conversations going on in sportswriting, with blogs at the center of the debate. What’s more, sportswriting is part of the “old-growth forest” of Web information, to use Steven Berlin Johnson’s term: As with technology and politics, there are lots of well-established sports blogs and sites providing more information to readers and more competition for traditional print sources. Which, of course, leads to lots of uncertainty, sometimes unhappiness, and (perhaps) lessons about what will work and what won’t for digital news.

Anyway, my second column looks at five blog myths that get heard far too often in sportswriting circles, and that make it harder to have a substantive conversation. They’re written in answer to rants by various sportswriters, but I think every one of them is relevant in the larger world of news as well.

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