The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Do sportswriters hold more sway over their news areas than any other reporters in the press? They just might, as Michael Miner makes a convincing argument for it.

I especially liked this illustrative swipe at Bobby Knight:

Bobby Knight famously once said of sportswriters, "All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things." Sportswriters should have replied, "What a coincidence! All of us learn to bounce a ball when we're two. Most of us go on to greater things too." Without sportswriters, no one would give a rat's patootie what Bobby Knight went on to.

Undoubtedly, the success of sports is owed to their unique positioning in the media universe: It's presented as something between news and entertainment, with both camps not quite willing to wholly embrace it. I've often considered that the devotion of a whole section to sports in just about every newspaper in the U.S. is something of an anachronism. If we could somehow start over from scratch, sports would probably be relegated to part of entertainment news coverage. Keep in mind, this is coming from an avid sports fan.

The pros are well aware of the influence of the media on their fortunes. That's why they've devoted so many resources of late toward finding a way to bypass them: Major investment into their own Internet outlets, pay-per-view offerings, and the launching of cable networks by leagues (NFL Network, NBA Network) and even teams (Toronto Maple Leafs TV).

(Via In Apprehension...)