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There are grave differences in how I learn about sports and news in general today than when I became enamored with it about 12 years ago. I would learn from the news or by waking up and reading my grandfathers’ newspaper (after he had flipped through it, obviously). Now, I have a smartphone, the internet, and the 24-7 news cycle has changed dramatically how we learn information, how we absorb it, and how we create buzz around stories that mean the most to us. It’s more than “water cooler” talk —- my friends and I often begin conversations by saying, “did you read Bill Simmons’ article on”, or, “Did you see what *insert random athlete here* tweeted after the game”.

Here are three things that have given sports media the edge on other media topics/ forums and how sports has become and all encompassing media outlet to its audience:

3. ESPN MAKES OTHER NEWS OUTLETS WORK HARDER, THEN THEY TAKE CREDIT FOR/ RUN AWAY WITH OTHERS HARD WORK:

Don’t poke the bear: ESPN has really taken web 2.0 and ran with it. In the past ten years, ESPN has really lived up to its self given title of “The Worldwide Leader In Sports” and setting the standards for a sports product. Sports news outlets like Sports Illustrated, or sports websites like Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, etc, push the envelop on how they conduct investigations and what they reports (e.g., Yahoo Sports breaking the Uni. of Miami scandal that ESPN just ran with, a year after uplifting them in a 30-for-30 movie). ESPN had created news, blown it out of proportion and like a teenage drama queen, gotten all of the attention for itself. ESPN is the perfect media storm. Starting off with a melting pot of top sports anchors from across the nation on their family of networks, a myriad of shows, and topped off with agitators like Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, and the ever enchanting Craig James, ESPN manipulates their viewers, antagonizes their hatred, and creates friends and foes. God, I want to work for them one day. Only if I looked like Erin Andrews…

2. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS GIVEN PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES A VOICE OUTSIDE OF NEWS INTERVIEWS AND QUOTES:

The fact that I saw Houston Texans Running Back Arian Fosters’ hamstring x-ray on Twitter — the fact that he Tweeted it — has given athletes a voice they didn’t have. As recent as 2004, athletes had their own websites sure, but their direct quotes came from reporters who all but camped out in the team locker rooms or waited for then after practices, and fans didn’t read it until after the next day in newspapers, online, magazines, etc. Social media, especially Twitter and Facebook,

has given fans and journalists a free for all to the once elusive athletes mindset. Some athletes, New England Patriots wide reciever Chad Ochocinco, have made a popular following by using these tools to his advantage. Some athletes make mistakes using these forums, however. Professional leagues commissioners have banned Twitter from the locker room and and have fined their players for what they say online as much as what they do on their respective playing surfaces. That speaks volumes to how new media has influenced athletes and how they are followed by fans and the media at large.

1. THE SPORTS BLOGGER AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE NEW JOURNALIST:

The internet has made any and everyone with an opinion a journalist. In my opinion, as a student of journalism and a future journalist, this revelation hasn’t negatively influenced reporting or journalism, it made my profession more competitive and more compelling. I follow more sports opinions online than when I made sports writing my ambition, although it never stops me from seeking out an AJC so that I can read my favorite sports writer, Mark Bradley. It has turned the average sports enthusiast into an internet jockey, seeking out the information they want WITHOUT being bogged down by what they don’t want. It creates backlash, endorses some while condemning others, starts and ends rumors, and creates fandom without trying. The sports Blogger, like myself, hopes that someone cares about their opinion and can easily ignore those who don’t. Sports bloggers/writers/actual sports journalists are a breed a their own. (Shout out to my Twitter family and all the followers of TSFSG! THANKS!)

There is more that makes sports journalism and sports in general a top media forum in this new 24-7 news media cycle. As we continue to want more and more from sports entertainment, sports media will become bigger and bigger, giving us what we demand. As supply continues to meet demand, we as the consumers must realize how genuine the product is. Not everyone is into a truthful product. As the producer, we must embrace our forums growth, and our consumers opinions and needs. Moreover, we must continue to give the audience what they desire — not create trash.

What are your thoughts about new sports media, its pitfalls, its greatness over other forums, and why you love it? Have a continuous flow of information made it better or worse?

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