The Future of Sports Journalism- Where is it heading? JRNL101 Final Essay

By Jesse Godfrey 4991485 Tuesday 8.30am Tutorial

What is effective storytelling?

“Effective storytelling is a fine and beautiful art. A well-developed and presented story can cut across age barriers and will hold the interest and reach its listeners. Stories will be remembered long after other orations. Knowing and applying the basics of storytelling will strengthen your stories.”- Effective Storytelling, A manual for Beginners- by Barry McWilliams.

lyndal rogers
Next to me here, is Lyndal Rogers, the first ever female NRL ground announcer, for the St George Illawarra Dragons.

For this final essay, I have decided to have a look at the future of Sports Journalism and all the different aspects. I think that there are many things that may change in Sports Journalism, in the near and distant future. First thing I will look at is the future of women in the Sports Journalism industry. We are lucky to have the female journalists/reporters that we currently have. Erin Molan from Channel 9, who is co-host of the  Footy Show and Sports Presenter for Nine News, Yvonne Sampson, also from Channel 9 co-host of Wide World of Sports and Sports Presenter for Nine News, Lara Pitt from Fox Sports, panelist on Monday Night with Matty Johns, Sterlo, Weekend with Matty Johns, Super Saturday Full Time and also news reader for Fox Sports News. There is also Channel 10’s Melanie McLaughlin, who always covers the sports telecast, she presents the Twenty20 Big Bash Cricket over the Summer, and there is also Lyndal Rogers, who last year became the first ever female ground announcer, with NRL club, the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Melanie McLaughlin and Lara Pitt
Channel 10 Sports Journalist/Presenter, Melanie McLaughlin & Fox Sports Journalist, Lara Pitt

I think the Sports Journalism industry can really benefit on having a female perspective, because I believe a woman’s opinion is just as important as anyones, and the few that I have mentioned above, have done great things in their short time in the industry and I believe they have many more years left in them, and I think we should see more women in the industry in years to come.

big league
NRL Magazine, Big League, in the last few years has become digital, and is now available on the App Store or Google Play. (This is this years ANZAC Round Issue and on the Cover is Roosters co-captain Mitchell Pearce and Dragons Halfback Benji Marshall)

Is print media dying?

As you can see above, the NRL magazine, the Big League, in the last 2-3 years has become available on your tablet or iPad. It cost just $39.99 for the whole year, although it is still available in the printed versions in newsagents and supermarkets. When you think about it, you save over $100 buy purchasing it via the App Store or Google Play, where buying it every week of the year, it adds up to $150 (not including the State of Origin or Annual magazines)

Print media has been around for a very long time, but we know technology has taken over in this generation, and is beginning to take over the print media, which has many people questioning, has the time of print media come to an end?

print media

Two top sports journalists had their say on the topic and here is what they said, when asked if sports writing in the print media is dead?

“It hasn’t. In fact, I think it’s popularity has grown… as a career choice and as something people like to indulge in. I think sports fans follow sports writing more closely than before; with most people hard-pressed for time, I would assume that they don’t get to watch ‘live’ telecasts too much and rely more on coverage in the media.” – A top sports journalist who has been in the industry for 5+ years.

kp mohan

KP Mohan, Veteran Sports Writer and Journalist (pictured, above), said “I don’t think that sports writing has improved. It has only deteriorated. The general belief is readers have already watched the action live on television and there is no point in giving basic information to them through news stories. Thus there is either an attempt to bring in some ‘masala’ into routine daily reports or else a lot of quotes to pad up.”

A lot of people still rely on TV sports news to get the latest results and scores from the particular sport, as well as newspapers and magazines, and I have nothing wrong with that, I believe people should be entitled to do whatever they are comfortable doing.

We know the media is changing fast, and it does impact the print and TV media, but I think the print media still has a future, young people still have aspirations to be writers for newspapers or magazines, and I don’t want to see the death of print media, because I believe there are many good sports writers out there, the likes of James Hooper and Paul Crawley from the Daily Telegraph, they are regular columnists and sometimes seen on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show.

Still many people today, go down to their local newsagent or supermarket to buy the newspaper (Illawarra Mercury, The Daily Telegraph, SMH or The Australian), and just remember some of the older generation don’t have access to online media, so I think that is one of the reasons why print media is still going as strong as ever today. It still has its fans out there, and stats say that people have an easier time recalling material from print media, than in the digital or online format.

Online media and streaming has become a threat to print media, and print media has taken quite a beating in the last 5 years or so because of this. There are so many things that are used these days to access online sports news, mobile phones, laptops, iPads, eReaders, tablets, and who knows, there may be something else introduced in the next few years in regards to technology.

The internet is now becoming a medium for sports coverage, allowing fans to access the latest news about their favorite sporting team, and at the present moment, internet sports journalists have received little attention. There are even all sorts of apps to help you keep track of what is said above. The NRL has its own app each year and it changes each year. In the 2015 NRL App the features are

  • Home Page
  • Draw
  • Latest News
  • Videos
  • Plays of the Week
  • Ladder for both NRL and NYC (Holden Cup Under 20’s)
  • Teams
  • Venues (ANZ Stadium, Suncorp Stadium, Pirtek Stadium, Allianz Stadium, AAMI Park, 1300SMILES Stadium, Hunter Stadium, GIO Stadium, Cbus Super Stadium, Pepper Stadium, Remondis Stadium, Jubilee Oval, WIN Stadium, Brookvale Oval, Campbelltown Stadium, Mount Smart Stadium, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney Cricket Ground, Melbourne Cricket Ground)
  • Keepsakes
  • Twitter
  • NRL Fantasy
  • NRL Tipping
  • NRL Shop

Just remember about 10 years ago, smartphones weren’t even around then, and compare it to today’s generation, there are gadgets everywhere you go. As we know since the introduction of the internet, the last decade of the sports journalism industry has changed significantly. It has both interrupted the other forms of media in sports journalism. There is always loads of competition. I believe that the introduction of all these forms of media will be a challenge.

Statistics show that technology has dramatically impacted online sports journalism and it will continue to change the outlook of the future of the industry, sports media organisations and sports fans themsselves.

What will the future hold for Sports Reporters?

The recent emergence of online and digital media, may cause a threat to Sports Reporters. Some people think that the future of news in general maybe online, and they could be right, because that is the way that the media is heading. There is even word going around, that they may get rid of Sports Reporters altogether, and let our sports stars of today be interviewed by the fans. But I don’t think it would be the same, because you wouldn’t have a camera in your face, or a microphone held up to your mouth.

My goal one day is to be in the Sports Journalism industry myself, whether that is writing, reporting, presenting, commentating or even analysing, I don’t know yet, but seeing Sports Journalism today, makes me even more keen to get my chance. The sport that I would mainly focus on is the NRL, although I don’t mind sports like Cricket, Rugby Union and the AFL.

There was talk about the impact of online/digital media threatening to take Sports Coverage off the air. I am well and truly against it, because on Free-to-Air TV, you don’t see a lot of sport on there as much as you used to. In the NRL you only get to see 3 games a week (2 on a Friday Night and 1 on Sunday Afternoon), and the rest of the games are covered by Fox Sports. The AFL is another one, most of their games are seen on Fox Footy, and the rest are on 7 or 7mate.

I think that Sports Coverage must stay on TV, because I enjoy seeing it, and you don’t gain the same entertainment online, as opposed to watching it on television. I enjoy listening to some of our best commentators/journalists on the Channel 9 coverage. You hear some top presenters such as Yvonne Sampson & Cameron Williams, former legends of the game such as Phil Gould, Peter Sterling, Brad Fittler & Darren Lockyer, and commentary from two of the best, Ray Warren & Ray Hadley. I am also a fan of former Channel 9 Commentator, Andrew Voss, who now commentates for rival company, Fox Sports.

Social media and its impact on sports journalism

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has had a huge impact on the growth of Sports Journalism in the last decade or so. Just remember a decade ago, both Facebook and Twitter wasn’t even heard of, and now is one of the most searched things online. On most sports there are a lot of Facebook pages and groups. I am involved in many of them, and a lot of that content and what goes on in those pages and groups, does give us a little insight.

Twitter is the same, and quite a lot of athletes have their own twitter accounts and it gives anyone access to tweet their favourite athlete or sports star, and that is something you don’t get to do every day. I think that has a big effect on the industry, to enable fans to be able to do that.

This is what Oklahoma State University Professor, Edward Kian, had to say on the subject, ” One thing that was interesting that we did not expect the negativity towards social media.” “Because social media gives you a chance to brand yourself, and they did recognise that their stories were being viewed by people all over the world and being seen more, and that was a positive. But the general concensus was that they didn’t like interacting on social media, and they didn’t like all the time they had to spend on there-even though they acknowledged that it made keeping up with their beats and reporting easier.

Seeing some of these great names in the industry doesn’t make it any easier to make a name for yourself, and land a job of your own, and that deters many people from going for their dream. I see it as an obstacle, but for me there are always ways to get around obstacles in anything, and I don’t think this obstacle can stop me.

Sports journalism is going as good as it has ever been, and I believe other than the online media, sports journalism and broadcasts will be the same for years to come.

This part of journalism I believe is an important part of today’s society and is very essential that it stays and continues to grow into the future, and yes in the next few years we are going to see new and upcoming Sports Journalist, and thats what we need, because they are the future of the industry, because the people that are there now, won’t be there forever.

Overall, sports journalism is changing on all fronts, and it will continue to do so now, and into the future.

References – by Joseph Lichterman, June 2014 by Gina Antoniello, February 2013 by Andre – July 2014 Matt McCue, October 2014 – Shane Jones, November 2012 Aishwarya Kumar, February 2014 – Barry McWilliams, 1998 Naomi Zuiverloon


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